Tag Archives: online resources

Why TED-Ed is my new favorite teaching tool

Good morning!

Yesterday I was searching for some content to help my 10th graders gain a deeper understanding of the mole concept, when I got distracted. Like really, really distracted. I started with the TED-Ed video asking “How big is a mole?” and ended up spending about 2 hours adding video lessons to all the units I teach: plant physiology, the solar system and deep space in grade 8, physics energy transformations and evolution in grade 10, as well as every single topic in my Environmental Systems and Societies class.

Image from screen capture of a sample video lesson on TED-Ed.

Image from screen capture of a sample video lesson on TED-Ed.

These video lessons are great for flipping my classroom, which enables me to introduce new concepts or content on students’ own time and use our contact time together to push their knowledge deeper. If you haven’t heard of flipped classes or blended learning, check out these hyperlinks for a basic introduction to the idea. Using Google Classroom and Drive are a big part of the blended learning experience my students get in science. I think the graphic below neatly summarizes what I’m describing.

Flipped classroom image source: www.knewton.com.

Flipped classroom image source: www.knewton.com.

Back to TED-Ed: Each video lesson contains a brief series of activities which scaffold students’ learning. There are some comprehension-check questions in the form of a brief “Think” quiz, some additional resources in the “Dig Deeper” section to promote further exploration and higher-order thinking skills, and some lessons also include a “Discuss” section including guided discussions with other students around the world. Overall, I think it’s a pretty cool way to learn, and it’s much more engaging for tech-savvy kids compared with my lectures and/or presentations in class.

Happy learning!

New Way to Search for Cool Apps for School

Good morning. I don’t think of myself as someone who promotes or endorses products or services for commercial gain – I’m just a science teacher, after all – but I find myself constantly surprised at the sheer quantity of high-quality, exciting, engaging, and entertaining educational material available online these days. (How’s that for alliteration?)

At the end of the day yesterday I stumbled across Graphite.org, a new website that includes a rating system for different educational apps and programs. According to the Graphite home page, “Graphite is a free service from Common Sense Education that makes it easy to discover the best apps, games, and websites for classroom use.” It’s a pretty intuitive site to navigate, with filters for age groups (K-12), subject areas, platform (iOS, Android, Windows, Linux), and product type (app, online, software). Ratings are based on both content and

Screen capture from the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Screen capture from the Lawrence Hall of Science.

One of the things I like as an educator AND as a parent of two school-age children is the “Field Notes” section, where people who are actually using the applications describe what they’re doing and evaluate how well it works.

Here’s a quick list of a few things I found through Graphite that may apply to my classes, and which you may find useful as well:

Screen capture from California Academy of Sciences.

Screen capture from California Academy of Sciences.

Open House 2014!

Welcome parents!

I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to my MYP and DP science classes for the 2014-2015 school year. If you’re reading this, then you might have been in my classroom this afternoon. I’m posting the video below because I think it nicely summarizes what’s happening in the world of education today. Please watch it, then take a tour of my Google Classroom and Moodle sites with your child so that you have a complete picture of what’s happening at school. And of course, feel free to email me with any questions you have.

Happy learning!

Video

Infographics: Information, Graphically!

Happy Monday morning! This morning I’ll share with you one of my favorite resources on the web: the GRID-Arendal Maps and Infographics Library from the United Nations. It sounds complicated, but it’s really pretty simple. And it’s simply pretty, too! The Infographics Library is essentially a repository of data the UN has collected from its various programs all around the world. Much of the data has been converted into easy-to-interpret infographics by skilled graphic design professionals.

Money Grows on Trees - just one example of the resources available at the GRID-Arendal Maps and Infographics Library.

Money Grows on Trees – just one example of the resources available at the GRID-Arendal Maps and Infographics Library. Image courtesy of Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal.

The good people at the UN encourage users to share the information they’ve collated, in an effort to educate the planet about the way we impact our world. You can search the data sets and graphics by keyword, tags, location, and/or UN agency.

I have found this site to be incredibly helpful as a teacher, and I believe that it can help students better understand the many issues they will face when they become professional members of our networked world. Bookmark it.

Also, watch this TED Talk by David McCandless about data visualization, in which he examines not only how we see information, but also when we see it and what that means for our perception.