Last week in class we received an awesome crash course in how to use Smartboards.   I took a lot away from this and plan to apply it in my field experiences to come seeing as almost every class I’ve been in has a Smartboard.  I went looking a little further in an attempt to find some Smartboard activities that I could use as a high school science teacher.  More specifically I looked at Outcome RE 9.2 of the Saskatchewan Curriculum.  This outcome covers meiosis and mitosis in grade 9. I found these websites containing Smartboard activities specifically for meiosis and mitosis:

Connecting Technology @BHS

Gallant’s Biology Stuff

Lesson Planet

These activities provide a great way for students to interact and explore meiosis and mitosis further.  I think it is important that students are encouraged to learn on their own so some of these activities can be used in that sense while others can be used to show knowledge and help with retention.  I think a Smartboard would be an excellent tool for teaching meiosis and mitosis especially because these topics are best understood visually which the Smartboard allows while also adding in the interactivity aspect.  By visually stimulating students and allowing them to interact with this as well the Smartboard can be a terrific school for not only mitosis and meiosis but any subject.

Photo by: Michele Banks


Games and Education

Last week our ECMP 355 class had the privilege to talk to Sylvia Martinez about educational games.  From my perspective I grew up with a connection to educational games.  My parents did not allow us to have a gaming system (N64, Dreamcast, or Playstation) growing up and as much as I disliked it then it was probably for my benefit.  Because I did not have a system at home I formed a connection with ‘educational’ games at school such as Oregon Trail, Cross Country Canada, and my favorite…..ECOSAURUS.

As you can quickly see Ecosaurus was by no means the pinnacle of gaming however I found it to be entertaining enough and I eventually recycled enough stuff to build a spaceship and get out of there.

Listening to Sylvia I thought it would be interesting to check out some educational games that are out there today.  I feel with how far a long gaming systems have come there must be some kind of disconnect between students today, with the gaming experiences they receive from Xbox360, PS3s and Wiis, compared to ‘educational games’.  As Sylvia stressed usually the first thing to be lost in an educational game is the fun factor.  I put this to the test and played a variety of games from Wonderville,  a educational site from Alberta, focusing on one game in particular called CO2 Connection.

This game was okay, and in my Ecosaurus years I would of been enthralled.  Looking at the game critically as an educator however I found that the amount and quality of content I actually learned did not really seem to justify the amount of time that it took.  On top of this the game play was very easy and basically fail proof in order to move the player onto the next level.   Most of the other games I played from that website seemed to follow the same trend.  I’m curious to see if there are different, more effective games out there and intend to begin forming a list of ones I may want to use in my classroom in the future.  Sadly CO2 Connection will not make the cut…and probably not Ecosaurus either.

This all being said I think there is definitely a place for games in education.  The important thing is to be selective because although a game may say ‘educational’ in many cases they sacrifice to much in the fun or educational departments to be truly meaningful.  If I can find the right game and apply it in the proper situation it will be beneficial and contribute to meaningful learning in my classroom.

In closing I leave you with a video of Ntiedo Etuk, a teacher who found a way to help his students overcome a fear of failure in math class by incorporating video games into learning.


Global Learning

Last week we had Sylvia Tolisano into our ECMP 355 class to talk to us about global learning.  She shared with us the importance of expanding our students as well as our own perspectives on a global scale.  One example she gave was her Teddy Bears around the World.  This project provides an opportunity for students to learn about other students cultures in their own words.

As Sylvia emphasized it is extremely important to understand the world in a more global sense, especially as the world becomes smaller every day.

I realized just how little I know of other cultures when she shared a tradition in Argentina where a empty bottle is placed on a vehicle to show it is for sale.  It is traditions like this that often lead to misunderstandings between different culture groups, misunderstandings that become understandings when we widen our gaze to a broader, more global view.

I intend to focus more on global issues both in my own life and in my classroom.  I hope to accomplish in a variety of ways from reading the global section of the newspaper to connecting my classroom to other classrooms in the world (ie. Around the World in 80 Schools).

Thanks Sylvia.

Tech Task #4

Last class we learned all about digital storytelling from CogDog, Mr Alan Levine.  He introduced us to a variety of different ways to go about telling our story from his 50+Ways project.

For my story I decided to focus on something that everyone is very familiar with, and I am very interested in as a biologist, Life.

Here are two digital stories I created using Vuvox and Photopeach, please check them out and let me know what you thing.  Thanks again CogDog.

LIFE on Vuvox

LIFE on PhotoPeach

LIFE on PhotoPeach


Tech Task #3

Last week we learned all about personal learning networks and were tasked with creating our own.  I have ended up following a lot of educators and science blogs, places that are proving to be so useful to me as a pre-service teacher.  Here are some of the blogs I now follow:

Born to Learn

These guys have a lot of stuff on the importance on collaborative and experiential learning.  Lots of interesting animations as well.

Education Rethink

This is a blog created by a teacher in Phoenix where he shares his thoughts on education, technology, and current issues.

GOOD Education

A site collecting blogs covering all forms of popular culture with a section dedicated strictly to education.

Science Blogs

Being a science nut I’ve found this site really interesting and useful in keeping me up to date on current issues in science.

Hack Education

A blog created by a technology writer and ed-tech advocate covering all the current trends within technology and education.

I’ve also increased the number of people I’ve been following on Twitter.  These are mainly educators with educational philosophies paralleling mine.  It’s also been super easy to follow them by putting them into a PLN list on Tweetdeck.

Here are some tweeps I now follow on twitter:

@nashworld  Sean Nash – Academic Technology Instructional Specialist & Marine Biology teacher. Interested in all things that move classrooms toward a more student-centric future.

@StacyCBaker – Stacy Baker – a middle school technology integrator (former high school biology teacher) in NYC.

@inveterategeek – Elizabeth Zodda – inveterate geek (code for high school science teacher)

@hbarlaam – Holly Barlaam – High school science teacher, currently teaching biology at college prep school. Have also taught in public schools (biology and AP Environmental Science).

@gardenglen – Glen Westbroek – Husband/Father, Middle Level Science Literacy Teacher, Intel Teach® Senior Trainer, District Science Specialist, Use Tech. 2 support Inquiry, Scouter

@RitaZ – Rita Z – EFL teacher in Rosario, Argentina, a proud Webhead, CALL Consultant, Director of TechTools4Educators

@2learn2 – Steve – Passionate about everything to do with teaching and learning.

@johntspencer – John T. Spencer – Dad. Husband. Teacher. Writer. Perpetual bender of paper clips. Impatient doodler. Philosophical wanderer.

@ShellTerrell – Shelly S Terrell – Education thought-provoker, The 30 Goals Challenge author, International Speaker, #Edchat founder, VP of Edu Outreach @Parentella, SC Mgr @TheConsultantsE

@rushtonh – Rushton Hurley – Japanese language, digital video, teacher training, and saving the world from ignorance. Some juggling, too!

Tech Task #2 Continued

Thanks to everyone who answered my Google form last week.  It seems everyone is very excited about the learning project and plan to draw on a large variety of resources to accomplish their goals.

Wishing everyone the best and looking forward to hearing how it goes.

See if you can pick out your project below.  Good Luck everyone!

Tech Task #2

Last class we had the opportunity to learn about everything that Google has to offer and how it can make a teacher’s life much simpler.   For our Tech Task #2 we are supposed to take what we learned and apply it in creating and embedding a Google Form.  I was interested in the learning project and was wondering what everyone else was thinking in this regard.  Looking forward to hearing how it is going.