New Projectors

As we prepare to move into a new building next fall, I’ve been thinking about the projectors that we’ll have in the new classrooms. We are leaving our old ones behind, and for good reason. Not only do they not perform as well as new ones but the replacement bulbs are outrageously expensive. My projector bulb is on its last legs (dim, many colours aren’t shown), and a new bulb costs $400.

The Mobile Device Conundrum

I regularly come across blog posts, twitter posts, and comments on BYOD and how students should use smartphones in school. Smartphones are occasionally used in my science and physics classes, and can offer some interesting opportunities. Smartphones are much more than learning devices though. For every one part of learning there is hidden in a smartphone, there are probably about 3 parts digital addiction. Phones in classes are driving me nuts.

DimDim example via Screencast

I was checking out some math, physics and standards based grading educational blogs when I came across a screencast of a teacher who used DimDim. Check out the screencast here and see how it went. More info from the lesson is found here. I found the DimDim to be a bit slow paced, but maybe that’s just the nature of the beast when trying to broadcast live video. Dan, the teacher, also lamented that he found formative assessment very difficult.

Teacher Portfolios

Today, two references to Teacher Portfolios came to my attention. The first was a link to a post on EET that I got via physicstweet. The second was a link to a UBC Event on Teacher Portfolios. I’ll have to keep these links in mind as I build my own ePortfolio. Without giving it much thought, it seems that integrating a teacher portfolio into the ePortfolio would be a good idea.

5 Misconceptions with Newtons 1st and 2nd Laws

As part of a research proposal I am putting together for my ETEC 500 course, over the past week or so I have read a lot of papers that deal with the topic of conceptual change in science students. Although not all articles showed the same causal effect of addressing common misconceptions of students, the evidence from these papers makes it very compelling for teachers to implement some type of conceptual change model.

Peer Instruction in a Wider Context

One thing that I’ve been thinking about lately is how peer instruction or other attempts to get away from pseudoteaching can be applied to junior science classes. For example, yesterday I started a Grade 8 science unit on Water. I really like this unit because it has a lot of relevance for the kids and a good number of opportunities for both lab inquiries and outdoor experiential trips. However, I can’t help think that the actual learning of the topics is firmly grounded in reading and scientific literacy.

Course Site

Building a Moodle course site was just the type of activity and motivation I’ve been looking for, for many different reasons. First of all, I’ve been interested in Moodle since around February of 2010. I went as far as installing a Moodle site on my hosted domain and tried playing with it. Other than creating a couple of course titles and inserting a forum activity, I did not get very far.

E-learning Toolkit: Synchronous Communication Tools

I think one of the most important features in an LMS is to help enable communication. Learning is a social and cultural experience, and many people learn best through interaction with other people. I think it is relatively rare that a student optimally self-learns through books or other static media. This applies more to younger students than older or mature students. With this in mind, I was quite interested to learn about synchronous and asynchronous communication abilities for LMS.

Flight Path

In the fall of 2008, after working as a mechanical engineer for 15 years, I decided to try out a new career in teaching. I put together my program applications and by spring of 2009 I was accepted into the PDP at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education. After a 12-month whirlwind program, I finally received my B.Ed in August of this year. In the spring of 2010 I anticipated that I would have temporary work in the coming winter.

LMS Proposal

As part of my development plan to engage and enhance student learning in the math and sciences, I would like to implement an online Learning Management System (LMS) to integrate with the subjects that I am teaching. The purpose of using an LMS is to achieve three primary goals. First, I would like to increase the frequency of on-topic course discussions, both student to student and student to teacher. Secondly, I plan on delivering lessons integrated with multimedia, and third, I will be incorporating some engaging Assessment for Learning techniques through the use of the LMS.