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Digital Notebooks

Digital Notebook

I have always been an advocate of science notebooks.  I think the use of a notebook can help a teacher shift to more student-centered practices and I think keeping a notebook can help students to be much more meta-cognitive of what they are learning.  A question that is asked most frequently is about the structure of the notebook.  There are many articles and books on this topic, and I think the bottom line is that the structure is dependent on the purpose of the notebook, how students will be managing their work and how teachers will be providing feedback.

One format I have been playing with recently is building a digital notebook using Google Slides.  Students can easily start their notebook within any Google Drive folder.  Content can be added in a variety of ways:

  • Teacher creates a template and students add content
  • Students create or import information to demonstrate their thinking
  • Students can import collaborative slides from group work
  • Students can embed photos or video
  • Links can extend student thinking and resources to anything online

I’m excited about the prospects of digital notebooks and there are a few examples already in the adapted science GVC.  I will also be including opportunities to think about digital notebooks in the next session of Science Notebooks in Spring Science Online.  I would love to see your examples too!

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Winter Tech Integration

mitten

Page Keeley has a classic problem, The Mitten Problem, that can be used to help elicit students preconceptions about heat and how heat is transferred.  This temperature assessment probe, coupled with Vernier Temperature probes can provide an excellent phenomenon-based learning opportunity in your classroom.

Begin by setting the stage for children, “Sara’s science class is investigating heat energy.  They wonder what would happen to the temperature reading on a temperature sensor if they put the thermometer in a mitten.”  Using temperature probes, students can plan and carry out their own investigation.  Oftentimes, this first investigation leads to more questions as students “often believe that some materials and objects, such as blankets or mittens, are intrinsically warm.”

  • I wonder what would happen with my really warm ski gloves?
  • I wonder what would happen with the fuzzy socks I wear at home?
  • I wonder what would happen with my winter coat?

These questions, lead to an additional investigation and support student’s sense-making in the ways heat is generated and transferred.  If you want to try this investigation in your own classroom, here’s one way to think about setting it up.

Screen Casting

So, today I learned how to use Screencast-o-Matic!  This is one of the tools that I was most excited to learn to use during this technology Jump Start.  There are so many times that I wish I could just show someone my screen, thinking it would be so much more efficient than trying to describe what they should see or what they should look for when they are back at a computer.

I offer several online classes as well as face-to-face professional development.  Much of the real work of PD happens when a teacher is back in his or her classroom trying to remember the specifics.  I love the idea of offering short videos like this one to support their learning and practice.

This tutorial is a bit longer than recommended and I think I may edit it down a little more still.  I wanted to develop something that I can use with teachers this fall, and I thought of walking them through the NGSS @ NSTA website and showing them how to find classroom resources that are aligned with the NGSS.  I scripted this a bit and tried it a couple different times and I can see that (as with most things) screen casts will get better with time.  I was pretty excited by the first attempt though!

 

Mind Maps

I chose to work with mind maps for my Module 6 assignment because I don’t really like mind maps.  I like to organize my thinking in outlines or take sloppy notes the first time and then organize them into outlines as  layer of sense-making.  Mind maps always seem a little …random and cumbersome to me.

I decided that for this experiment, I would not do a rough draft on paper but use the online tool to help with my thinking and I wanted to create something that would help with our district’s curriculum work.  First, I tried Coggle.  I am looking forward to reading other people’s posts, maybe I just tried this on a bad day, but it seemed to reinforce everything I don’t like about mind maps.  I got frustrated and walked away from the project.  Today, I went back to the assignment and tried it again.  I decided to use something different and went to Popplet  It was a completely different experience!

Popplet

There was a short tutorial when I first logged in that showed me how to use each “popple”.  This tool is very easy to use, and very easy to rearrange.  The essential questions were added in last, though they should have been first. Typically this would cause me frustration because I would need to rearrange everything to build the new level.  With Popplet, you can grab a popple at any level and drag it.  Whatever is linked to it comes along for the ride.

I loved that this tool was flexible enough to allow me to change my mind and hold my thinking.  This would be a great tool to teach students to use as a way to organize their thinking and make sense of big ideas in science.

Social Network

I use all three social networks listed – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  However, I have tried to keep my Twitter account more professional and my Facebook and Instagram accounts more personal.  I know there is some great content on all three sites but this has seemed to work for me.  Like blogging, I have struggled to maintain and active Twitter account as I don’t typically “come up with” unique things to tweet.  This is something I would like to change, and I appreciate the nudge from this course to push back into that arena.  I have enjoyed reading my Twitter feed and have heard it described as some of the best PD available online.  You can find me on Twitter @jenchase13

I logged in this morning and spent some time completing Module 5, here’s the proof…

My original tweet:

Tweet

My response:

Response

and my retweet:

Retweet 1

Slide Share

Slide share is another site that was new to me, and I need to spend more time on the site exploring.  I appreciate the access to content that other people have created.  I am facilitating two different groups over the next school year as we adapt our current science curriculum to more closely align with the NGSS.  While we will need to create some content, I know there are also very smart, thoughtful people creating content to share.  Curating some of that will be a key to our curriculum work.

In keeping with my theme, I found a slide show that focuses on volcanoes…

As with Vimeo, I appreciate that the embed code from Slide Share also cites the source and gives credit.

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