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Posts Tagged ‘Inquiry’

Fall Science Workshop Preview Webinar – Oct 2, 2012 3:30 PM

September 27th, 2012 No comments

Prepare for the NGSS

Join us for a taste of the Fall Regional Workshops for science scheduled all over the state. We’ll spend time looking at the Practices and explore how an MLTI application supports them. Of course, there will be ample opportunity for give and take discussion in preparation for the Next Generation of Science Standards and how technology and the 8 Practices of Science and Engineering can be aligned.

Sign up for Webinar here and and you will be directed to an online registration form. Please type your email address carefully as all information will be sent to that address. After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a log in link – please use that link to log into the webinar prior to the start time.

MLTI webinar May 10, 2012 – Science Session Four – Observation, Evidence and Data

Collecting plant data on a clipboard

public domain image

One of the prime advantages to using technology in the science classroom is the real-time, particpatory collection of data. Participants will be introduced to how Data Studio, Logger Pro, MyWorld, and Numbers can be used to deal with data. Vital Signs, a website from Gulf of Maine Research Institute allows students and teachers not only to interact with a database about invasive species, but also to contribute their own data and discuss results with other classes and even expert scientists. Zooniverse has a number of web-based astronomy centered databases tin which individuals can participate. Participants will examine how technology can support the collection, organization, and analysis of data for science learning and support the conversation about, communication of, and dissemination of data and evidence from and to selected scientific communities. We will also talk about alignment with the Scientific and Engineering Practices from the new Conceptual Framework.

I hope you can join us on Thursday, May 10 at 3:15pm or 7:15pm. Please click on the Webcasts tab to register. We have upgraded to a new registration system, allowing you to register directly in Adobe Connect, making the whole webinar process smoother and easier! If you have any questions, please contact Juanita Dickson. Click on the time you wish to participate in and you will be directed to an online registration form. Please type your email address carefully as all information will be sent to that address. After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a log in link – please use that link to log into the webinar prior to the start time.

April 5 Webinar: Hot Points – Current Events and Digital Tools

April 1st, 2012 No comments

Current events teaching has never been juicier. Up to the second information on events from all points of the four winds can be easily gathered, disseminated and pored over using digital tools. Videos from within the Occupy Wall Street camp, tweets from observers and players in the Arab Spring uprising and the ability to communicate with anyone at the center of a news story via iChat means that students now have a more immediate connection to events than most journalists had fifteen years ago. And with traditional news sources sometimes struggling to compete with the constant flow of information, our students have never been in a better position to show their flair as budding journalists.

This webinar demonstrated how students can access information and turn it into a news story – making sense of multiple sources, applying a clear vision and creating news stories of their own. We discussed some of the drawbacks to the mass of unfiltered information, and how we can help our students become objective reporters and informed opinion makers.

Here are the links I shared in the webinar:

Newsmap: a visual representation of the Google News aggregator

Google News: Try customising the page using the Preference sliders

Newsvine: user voted news stories – a good place to take the temperature of the news

Newseum’s Today’s Front Pages: over 900 front pages from the world’s newspapers, update daily.

MARVEL: ProQuest News
database is a fantastic resource for searching through 1400+ publications from around the world, with many publication’s articles going back at least a decade.

In addition, we looked at YouTube’s capabilities for up to the minute footage of events, and iTunes Store’s News and Politics Podcasts. Google Earth can provide background on the areas where events are taking place, and the World Data Analyst on MARVEL can help with statistics on each country.

Image by Giladlotan on Flickr. Used with a Creative Commons License CC BY-NC 2.0

March 29 Webinar – Learning Science By Doing Science (webinar links update-March 30)

March 25th, 2012 No comments
Paul Fenwick Does Science

CC 2.0 BY Paul Fenwick http://www.flickr.com/photos/pfenwick/

Looking at the Conceptual Framework for New Science Standards K-12, one of the major changes we see is how Scientific and Engineering practices form  a third of Standards platform, along with Core Principles and Crosscutting Concepts. So we are left with the question – How can technology support the practice of science?

There is a plethora of activities and “games” designed to help students learn science, but how can a teacher decide which ones are appropriate and aligned with standards and the curriculum? This session is designed to explore some of the best. From the apps on the MLTI device (ME Explorer, Molecular Workbench, GeniQuest, and NetLogo) to models and simulations on the web, participants will be able to see what could best apply to their classrooms, and then be released to explore even further on their own. Then they will be able to establish their own criteria for choosing, provide a context, and think about the curricular implications.

LearningScience (slides from the webinar)

If you missed the webinar on Thursday, March 29 at 3:15pm or 7:15pm, you can view the recording. Scroll down to the date and click on the time of the presentation you wish to view. Adobe Connect will open up with the recording.

Jan 12 Webinar – Science Session One – Elements of Key Practices in Science Education

January 9th, 2012 No comments

Medieval-Key

 

The process of inquiry-based learning is predicated on good research and has shown that students can achieve deeper understanding of science through engaging and meaningful questions. This session will introduce some of the web-based materials from “Concept to Classroom” (part of Thirteen EdOnline,) and other sites that discuss inquiry-based learning. Participants will also be able to download Ready, Set, Science!  and Inquiry and the National Science Standards from the National Academies Press. Then they will reflect on their own practice with a couple of activities based on key elements from those books.

 

Participants will:

  • Begin to identify where on the spectra (from Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards) of teacher directed/student directed learning activities a lesson might fall.
  • Use the “Four Strands of Science” descriptors (from Ready, Set, Science!) to examine one’s teaching of science.
  • Examine how inquiry-based learning is based in constructvism, the learning cycle and the 5 E’s of science instruction.
  • Be introduced to a couple of examples of how technology can support a student-centered inquiry based classroom.
  • Examine web-based resources related to inquiry and classroom practice.

Please join us on Thursday, January 12th at 3:15 pm. or 7:15 pm. You should register for the one you want to attend by clicking on the webcasts tab above. Scroll down to the webcast schedule and click on the time you want to attend. You will then be able to register and receive a confirmation. Be attentive to your typing – a confirmation email will be sent to the address you type.

Thinking Spatially about Learning: ISTE 2010 Conference, Denver, June 29.

June 28th, 2010 1 comment

This post contains links and information relating to my session at the ISTE 2010 Conference in Denver, looking in to the idea of spatial learning and how students can use digital tools to apply spatial learning in their studies.

Session Description

Tools used in the session:
Google Earth
ArcExplorer Online

Useful links, interesting spatial resources:
Google Earth Community

ESRI GIS Education Community

Google LatLong Blog

Google Earth Blog

Google Earth Lessons

GIS Lounge

Making Maps: DIY Cartography

Digital Geography


Readings on Spatial Thinking and Learning:

Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the K-12 Curriculum,
published by the National Research Council (2006)

ESRI GIS Education Community Blog – Spatial Thinking explored and encapsulated.

Spatial Thinking in the Geosciences, Carleton College

Center for Spatial Studies, UCSB

‘Thinking Spatially’, Reginald Golledge, UCSB

Other useful links and works referenced in session:

Brain Rules – Dr. John Medina

Simon Armitage – Poet

My Delicious page Geography Tag Bundle

Questions or comments? Please leave them below, or contact me directly: jwells@mlti.org

Representing Reality (11/12/09 webinar)

November 15th, 2009 No comments

Notes from Webinar 11/12/2009

Afternoon session recording: http://stateofmaine.na4.acrobat.com/p70986026/

Evening session recording: http://stateofmaine.na4.acrobat.com/p21491543/

Representing Reality

Models & Simulations in the Classroom

When I was working with Commodore in 1980, I read Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas by Seymour Papert. (He’s the godfather of MLTI.) His ideas made me think deeply about the potential of computers, After all, he worked with Piaget. He taught folks how to program by first learning how to juggle, showing how simple steps can lead to complex outcomes. He also thought that learning should be “hard fun.” However, the idea that really made me think was the capacity of the computer to “concretize the abstract” – pushing the formal operations stage.

Alan Kay realized the potential as well in 1990:

“…[the computer] is a medium that can dynamically simulate the details of any other medium, including media that cannot exist physically … it has degrees of freedom for representation and expression never before encountered and as yet barely investigated.” (Sunrise Notes Number 2, June 1990, p.29)

Gary Stager restated this in his article “Cut the Cord – How Networks are Making Schools Stupid” for the December 2001 issue of District Administration:

“We have forgotten what computers do best. They make things, facilitate communication and support the social construction of knowledge. Computers mediate a conversation between the user and herself. They concretize the abstract. On the other hand, most school applications of the net are curriculum or teacher-centered – designed to transfer information to unsuspecting or unwilling children.”

So now we have the potential to reach out to the abstract and interact with it

What are the implications? By using models and simulations, students can watch changes over larger (or tinier) areas or time spans than they could have observed personally. Examples might include weather and geological phenomena, or atomic and molecular interactions. By using simulations based on accepted models, students can interact with them and observe the effects of their interactions. In many cases, simulations in science can be used to “do” labs that might be unsafe or unavailable, like dissections or chemistry labs.

Before we go any further we should probably investigate what models and simulations are, and how they differ from reality.

Models

Definition from www.Businessdictionary.com.

“Graphical, mathematical (symbolic), physical, or verbal representation or simplified version of a concept, phenomenon, relationship, structure, system, or an aspect of the real world.” 

If we boil the definition down we can see 3 important ideas: Representation, simplified, real world. In many ways, it is the simplification that can give meaning to a model, focusing on particular concepts or meaning.

But we are constantly making our own mental or conceptual models as we deal with the real world, and try to make sense of how it works. Because we are often limited in our observations or perceptions, we are prone to misconceptions. Allowing students to observe accurate models helps to correct those misconceptions

Simulations

Good learning simulations are based on accepted models. They enable teachers to efficiently deal with complex information by immersing learners in realistic situations which allow them to “learn by doing”. These simulations provide valuable experiential learning by enabling users to practice the tasks they need to master and experience the results of their actions in a safe and supportive environment. They vary in their complexity and interactions and again depend on variables. Simulations do not give a perfect set of real world variables, because the real world is “fuzzy,” with random and chaotic factors.

Perhaps the most powerful pedagogical implications might be that the learning becomes student-centered and inquiry-based. They provide an opportunity to experience phenomena to replace their misconceptions, leading to an even stronger conceptual construct.

Oregon Trail flash – Online version, for those of you who remember the old Apple IIe simulation.Many schools have expanded the experience to have students roleplay, write diaries and build models of Conestoga Wagons.

Do I have a right? – A simulation where you are part of a law firm. Clients come in with scenarios that may or may not be covered by the Bill of Rights. You research and let them know whether they have a case.

FrogutsVirtual dissection of a frog. Schools can purchase site licenses.

Circuit Construction Kit – Use a toolkit to build circuits and test them. Good inquiry – part of a whole panoply of simulations from PhET. 

Virtual Lab – Simulations of chemical reactions with selected substances.

SimCity A classic complex simulation, SimCity was actually one of the requirements for National Board Certification for a few years, to help teachers understand another way to learn.

Assumptions

Since the model or simulation is a simplified representation of the real world, it is important to acknowledge the assumptions behind the model. The real world has many different variables, and designers pick which ones to include in their models. 

NetLogo is an example of building models and simulations and playing with the variables. It is powerful, utilitarian, but teachers would have to design appropriate curriculum around a model or simulation. NetLogo includes an information tab to explain the “so what?” and “how” of the model, and a tab to look at the source code, too (to play with the underlying assumptions.)

Net Logo – Wolf Sheep PredationWith this model from the library, students can observe the classic predator/prey relationship, and then use sliders to “play” with variables like reproduction rates, energy gains, and amount of food.

With any instructional design, a teacher must decide whether the chosen simulation is being used for introduction, concept development, skill building, reinforcement or extension. Another factor to consider is time…as with any inquiry-based activity, a teacher must decide how deep a conceptual understanding must go. As always, the question rests on the goals of teaching and learning in your school and classroom. 

EcoBeaker Maine Explorer was developed with his in mind. Here is the Maine DOE iTunesU site with podcasts from EcoScienceWorks:

EcoScienceWorks iTunes U site (Maine Department of Education):

http://deimos3.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/Browse/education-maine.gov.1687115352

Topic Resources:

Online Westward version of Oregon Trail

http://westward.globalgamenetwork.com/cgi-bin/westwardtrail.pl?command=startgame

Old Oregon Trail flash version from Apple IIe

http://www.virtualapple.org/J_oregontraildisk.html

Westward Ho!

http://www.cyberbee.com/wwho/

Lewis and Clark

http://www.usaweekend.com/97_issues/971102/lewis_and_clark/971102trail_intro.html

Our Courts Game page

http://www.ourcourts.org/play-games

Froguts home

http://www.froguts.com/flash_content/index.html

Simulations from PhET

http://phet.colorado.edu/simulations/

NetLogo Home

http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/

TPACK wiki

http://www.tpck.org/tpck/index.php?title=Main_Page

TPACK and its relation to SAMR – presentation by Dr. Ruben Puentadura

www.micdl.org/attachments/66

Maine Department of Education iTunesU site – many resources

http://deimos3.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/Browse/education-maine.gov.1687115352

SimCity

http://simcity.ea.com/play/simcity_classic.php

FreeCiv – a free “Civilization” clone

http://freeciv.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

Pithy Quotes 

Simulation: “…techniques which aim to provide the student with a highly simplified reproduction of part of a real or imaginary world”.

van Ments, M., The Effective Use of Role Play: A Handbook for Teachers & Trainers. Revised ed. 1989, New York: Nichols Publishing. 186.

“…the aim is to recreate or represent in a limited time in the classroom particular situations which exist in the world outside…often using a computer program which incorporates the model on which the simulation is based.”

Reynolds, M. (1994) Groupwork in Education and Training Ideas in Practice, London: Kogan Page, pp18-19.

Simulations are “…one of the most effective ways to promote deep conceptual understanding of the real world”.

Peter Miller, Christina Smart, and Jacqui Nicol, Economics Centre of the Learning and Teaching Support Network (UK)

http://econltsn.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/advice/simulati.htm

“Placing a student in a simulated environment means they become involved. They view their experiences in a personal way…. From this they gain an attachment that can be shaped into a true learning experience.”

Rick Effland, Maricopa Community College

http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/labyforum/Sum95/sum95L5.html

“Simulations can be a powerful education tool. The problem is that using simulations in education is different from “reality” and that simulations effect the user.”

Kevin Cox, Simulations in Education, Web Tools Newsletter, 30th July 1999

http://www.dco.cityu.edu.hk/tools/newslett/simulati.htm