ISTE: The Retro Grouch is Out
The exhibits hall and poster sessions were in full swing today and it’s just overwhelming – the apps that you had no idea you even needed when a note pad seemed perfectly adequate and didn’t need switching on.
Are interactive online environments the key to engagement, for example where kids use probe ware to make graphs on a Java document and their answers are captured for the teacher to view? How is this better than say, playground chalk, a rolling distance measurer, a stop watch and a hand drawn graph where I can actually comment on each student’s write up. They don’t need a computer to be working on it.
Smart Boards: Fancy ‘interactive’ whiteboard presentations that are basically powerpoint presentations with some of the information boxed out so kids can write in their ideas – are these worth the expense of the Smart Board technology when you could do the same thing with a powerpoint only without the finger-writing in the box element?Need to find out more about powerful uses of Smart Boards as I think I might be getting one. Right now, it looks like a rod for my back with way more prep required to make the fancy, interactive lessons.
I’m charry of technology that breaks, leaving me and the class wasting a great deal of time and temper, when lower tech ways can achieve direct experience, direct communication all with less room for error.
What DO I want to do with technology? Well, even though I’m a bit grouchy this evening, there were some cool things about too. Really.
National Geographic has made gorgeous, authoritative and poignant video clips and images together addressing all kinds of topics including many science topics on their education page. You’ll need to noodle around to find all the useful stuff there. I will be including their stuff on climate change and they had a good activity on biodiversity. I need to explore their alternative energies resources too.
Online Information Literacy a.k.a. cite the )(**&^^ source and be sure it’s reliable! Lots of resources available. Noodle tools cites sources and asks key questions to help guide students towards reliable sources. Further lesson plans available at Common Sense Media, thanks for the tips, ayme Johnson, Director of Academic Technology at the Village School, Ca. Really must use this next year to avoid meltdowns when reports come in!
Build It! challenges to teach force and motion concepts
I’d really like a better way than the ancient and fiddly Lego kits we currently use. The famous leaders in the field Lego and Fischer Technik are about 10x more expensive than the cool kits from the Teacher Geek I’m going to order a couple and tinker around with them to see how we could add some more engineering challenges to the F and M unit. BTW, Teacher Geek provides ideas and student sheets. Not S and M. Except if they don’t cite their sources…
Big advantage of cheap kits is we can get enough for each pair of kids to have their own for all 6 periods so they can work on them from day to day and develop some ownership. Then we can compare them, have little competitions or whatever.$144 for 10 crazy kits. Darren Coon, the young teacher who developed these kits and challenges, a big shout-out to you, CEO of your own company. Inspiring!
Linking in more science teachers with tech: I’m going to follow up with CSTA and NSTA and ISTE as these organizations will benefit from working together. Science + tech. Good idea. Seriously, why isn’t science more strongly represented at ISTE?
I’m excited at the possibility of working more closely with National Geographic Education, and with Edutopia but resisting the urge to pester. I’m passing on the opportunity to lead the department and could use all that freed-up energy to further the work of these august organizations and help more science teachers than by this blog alone.