School Blogs POST 3

When I went to the Georgetown Elementary Blog, what I found was unexpected: an elaborate arrangement of schedules, classroom blogs, pictures, instructional diagrams, and general news. I can tell you that the information that is presented shows an impressive amount of detail. The schedule of events in very up to date and extends up to the end of April. Every week there is a listing of events for that week in which events for a particular class, or even the whole school, are listed. The blogging is typical in the way that the last blogs appear first. In addition, there are pictures and videos available to show what the classes are doing. The Room 303 Harlem Shake was a riot. Much of the information that is showcased is ready to be shared by various means: Facebook, Twitter, or Blogging, such as this one on the schedule of events for March 11-16, 2013. As I said, I was pleasantly surprised to find so much involvement and dedication to this blog when thinking about an elementary school.

 

Next, I found that the Leawood Middle School Blog has many interesting concepts that make the school shine. This blog has the opportunity to educate the reader in what the school, as a whole, is involved with. But it goes further by teaching the viewer on certain concepts that are learned. Some of postings involve the use of graphs, such as this one that examined the temperature changes through 24 hours. I noticed that a lot of the news seemed to be fairly split between local, national and international, so that the viewer can see beyond the school and see the outside world. In  order for our kids to think critically, we must give them access to the real world and find what they think of it and what they can do to change it for the better, such as this one on African women who carry water because water is very hard to transport. I could see myself teaching a lesson on environmental science using this particular blog because of the various thoughts on how to learn for learning sake.

 

Lastly, I must admit that it was hard to find a particular blog of a high school that wasn’t just sports-related. After a while, I found the Hull High School Blog, which seems to be more or less a calendar of events. In addition, a listing of all the new scholarships available to the school is visible and downloadable. It tells me that this is an efficient school that uses a blog to update information for students to have on demand. However, I found that this blog is for information purposes only and that there was no place for me to post a response. This blog gives students updates, but there isn’t really any kind of educational value.

Of the three types of schools, the middle and elementary schools seem to bring an inquiring way of learning: both present information that stimulates thinking and engages the viewers. I could see how during a faculty meeting that we could start a blog on the accomplishments of every department, just like in Georgetown. I think that many of my colleagues may be thinking that it would be too much effort in addition to the everyday things that they must do. I am sure that students could do wonderful things with the technology of blogging, but if students do not see teachers making an effort to bring technology effectively to the classroom, then, as Mike Ribble points out, “When students see adults using technologies inappropriately, they can assume it is the norm” (p. 2). Students are going to learn technology with or without us, it’s our job to decipher and instruct accordingly. Blogging is just one example.

 

Ribble, Mike S., Bailey, Gerald D., and Ross, Tweed W.. “Digital Citizenship: Addressing Appropriate Technology Behavior.” Learning & Leading with Technology. vol. 32, no.1. (2004). Retrieved March 21, 2013, from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/uploads/1stLL.pdf

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Science Educator Blogs – POST 2

Steve Spangler has such an extraordinary educator’s blog. He makes science so much fun. The blogs show everyday occurrences that are explained through scientific investigations, whether it be about dancing spaghetti, approaching comets, or exploding alka selzers. Instead of a dry dull lecture on how science works, he is able to convey his excitement of what it takes to make things happen. Although he is not an actual teacher he can instruct while engaging the audience. This is one of the most important aspects of what we call the 5E system in science: Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Evaluation, and Extension. In labs, you must be able to get the students engaged and the way that Steve makes it fun, the students will want to be involved! For instance, Steve demonstrates the way that Mentos reacts with Coke, on the Ellen show:

The next educator blog, The Scientific Shamrock, comes from a teacher known as Mrs. Haygood. Although there is not much in the way of texts, she brings many wonderful exhibits of physics and engineering at work. Going back to the 5 E model, not only can her videotaped classes engage the blogger, they can even provide models for how experiments can go, in other words, explore and explain. I could definitely see the opportunities that would come about with this blog because the demonstrators are only students just like the ones that I have in my classroom. Haywood really understands the importance of getting right to the main picture, which in this case, are many. The great thing about all of her videos is that they tend to be student-centered, which is the way that inquiry-based learning is gravitating (with this being a scientific blog, that was a pun!)

In the third educator blog, Adventures in Science, Mrs. DuBose explains about the rock cycles with quite a few elaborate diagrams to explain how the Earth works, including this one in which she displays a rock cycle animation. I’m sure that she makes this blog available as a reinforcement of what was taught in class. This blog goes further than a typical text that the students could read in the textbook. Instead, it shows computer graphics that help accentuate many of the top concepts that Earth Science students should know, including the rock cycle. In addition, there are multiple diagrams and lesson plans to make a science teacher full of joy! I also teach Earth Science so this idea of expanding on what was learned during her lectures could definitely give students the ability to add on and extend, as in the 5 E model.

All three of these blogs could be integrated as a series of ways to establish the 5 E model, except possibly the Evaluation. I expect that I could allow students to view these blogs during a class and then have them work on their own contributions towards a collective class blog. In addition, it would be great to introduce the concept of how students could effectively solve problems through the new Common Core standards that are now being pushed. The inquiry-based learning is something that our department meetings have been engrossed with. If I introduce not just the concept of blogging, but key strategies on how to involve the students more I’m sure teachers might go with it because they may find that each of these blogs are different enough to give each science teacher an idea to promote.  Although there are no Creative Commons emblems on these blogs, they are available to the public. Just as Linda Starr mentions, “The guidelines specifically exempt K-6 students from adhering strictly to those [copyright] portion limits” (Applying, p.4). These were fun, yet informative sites.

Starr, Linda. “Applying Fair Use to New Technologies?” EducationWorld. Education World. 25 Jun. 2010. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from. http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr280b.shtml

Science Teachers – Post 1

     As a science teacher, I often find it difficult teaching students effectively with the limited budgets we have at school. I can say out of experience that the ability to teach the laws of capacitance is rather difficult without the chosen materials. But then, viola! we turn to either a you tube video, a computer program, or even a blog.

    What is a blog? Sounds like an old 50’s movie monster that eats people by dissolving them. No wait – that’s the blob! No, instead, a blog is characterized by what Wikipedia calls “ blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).”

     So here go my jump into the science education through blogs. We will first look at 3 educators and then 3 different kinds of school blogs (Elementary, Middle, and High School). Questions will arise…