Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.

Monday, March 31, 2008

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Online Science Journal

I am playing around with the idea of online Science Journals in my class. I am taking small steps just to see what is reasonable, what is valuable, what works and what doesn't work. Science Journals on their own can be very powerful tools for learning if done right. It gives students an opportunity to organize ideas, brainstorm, and show understanding. Journals done well also show student thinking. Many times in science, students come with misconceptions. Powerful learning happens when kids change their thinking and can point to what made them change their thinking. So what can I do with an online journal that I couldn't do better with a regular notebook? That is the question I am trying to answer. To start the process, I created a wiki. To deal with the scarcity of time and computers, I divided the students into groups. Each group is responsible for adding information to the wiki. As we work through lessons, we are adding words to a "Marzano style" glossary. Each group is creating an investigation page complete with pictures, videos, etc. I am modeling lessons as a sample investigation online. As a class, we are recording results on a data table. So far we have created 2 PhotoStory movies showing the steps for our investigations. In the future, I would like for these to be created by each group. Students could choose what tool they would like to use to present their investigation. One really powerful thing we have done is to start our unit with a VoiceThread. I asked students questions about food and nutrition. It was amazing to hear the misconceptions students have about food. My hope is that we will build on this VoiceThread. Students will be able to share what they now believe and what happened to make them change their thinking. In addition to being a place to record understandings and experiences. I am also posting links to resources including a Discovery Streaming Assignment Builder activity which includes links to informative videos and an online test. This is a work in progress and the jury is still out as to whether this is a good use of our learning time.

Here is what I see so far:

Pros:

  • The Wow factor of working with multimedia keeps students focused and engaged.
  • Great conversations can be shared and thoughts ammended with VoiceThread.
  • Parents and others can see what is happening in class.
  • Could be shared across district or with others working on the same unit.

Cons:

  • Scarcity of computers and time make it hard to embed the technology in the learning.
  • Too much science time playing with web design

Would love to hear your ideas or resources.






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1 comment:

Wm Chamberlain said...

I was going to suggest voicethread, but I see you already are using it. You could consider google apps. You can set it up to allow multiple students access to it like a wiki. The format would be familiar, but I'm not sure about embedding video.

This spring I set up blogs for my students, I will probably have them do more on their blogs next year. I think I may create a form on they can fill in and then copy and paste onto their blogs.