Classroom Websites

Over the past 4 years I’ve used several different platforms for classroom websites including wikispaces, wordpress and moodle. They each have strengths and weaknesses, and they all have one thing in common: it takes a lot of work to keep them updated throughout the year. By the end of this year I was taxed out and unsure if I was willing to continue with class websites, the reason being that I wasn’t convinced that my students really used them very much.

10 Uses for Old Toothpaste Tubes in Your Classroom

Although I could make a list of 10 uses for old toothpaste tubes in a classroom, I think it would be a waste of time and pretty much useless. Afterall, I have no pedagogical need to use toothpaste tubes in my classrooms and even if I had one use for them I doubt I could think of 10 good uses. The same goes for the “10 uses for in your classroom” blog posts and online articles.

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.

BYOD - A Dishonest Truth

Inspired by a post by Keith Rispin, I’ve been thinking about BYOD and the more I think about it, the more frustrated I get. I can’t help think just how far off the mark the MoE is with their BC edplan and BYOD. Having studied technology in education for a couple of years, where we theorized on mobile devices and endeavoured to design learning environments and activities that could incorporate them, it is clear that the path forward with BYOD is severely limited.

Cell Phones as Calculators

An issue I’m struggling with is whether a science classroom should allow cell phones to be used a calculator. It’s a pretty complex issue with lots of different aspects coming into play. A brief list of pros/cons is: Pros smartphones are powerful computers and can be utilized sometimes people forget to bring calculators to class (human error) one less device to carry, charge, pay for Cons difficult if not impossible to discern between a student that is using a smartphone as a calculator as opposed to using their smartphone for messaging removes the teachable moment of a student having a consequence for not coming to class prepared possibility of cheating on a test or quiz complex rules that will lead to abuse: smartphone ok for class but not test; ok to use if you forget your calculator but don’t make it a habit I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this issue.

SMS Clickers

I’ve been incorporating “clicker” questions into my physics classes this year, and so far I would say it’s been a success. There are ups and downs while using them, but overall the process is working pretty good. However, yesterday’s class really got me thinking about how to optimize my process. First of all, here is a brief on how I use clicker questions in class. We don’t have clickers. Instead, I’ve been using Poll Everywhere.

Wikis in the Classroom

In the past year or two I had heard quite a bit about teachers and classrooms that were using wikis. For me, at the time I saw “using a wiki” as being analogous to creating wikipedia-like entries. I wasn’t sure as to this was applicable to to all the scenarios I was hearing about. Then a few months ago I took over some Physics classes where the previous teacher was using a wikispaces.

iPad Pilots

In my previous post I pretty much stated that I’m not currently in favour of school iPad programs, where a class would have 1:1 tablets per students. This is based on my current knowledge of tablets, computers and software that is available for them. However, I haven’t tried having my students use iPads in class (hence the conditional “current”!). I would be extremely interested in getting feedback from educators that have spent some time with 1:1 iPad/student programs.

Q: iPad? A: Not.

With the instant popularity of the iPad last year, tablets were finally thrust into the computing spotlight. People have been purchasing the iPad for many different purposes but it remains to be seen as to what tablets are really good at. Originally it was said that the iPad would be about media consumption, but this was idea has been eclipsed by the proliferation of IOS apps. Many educators have touted the iPad as being a useful part of classroom and online learning technologies, while I don’t necessarily share this enthusiasm.

Blended Learning

One of the most intriguing aspects of using technology in the classroom is the concept of blended learning. Blended learning, loosely stated, is a model where students are involved in a mix of distance/remote instruction combined with face-to-face (f2f) instruction. I think in many ways blended learning epitomizes some of the ideas behind 21st Century Learning. Obviously the infusion of technology is one area, but I consider the technology angle to be more of an enablement of the other concepts in 21st Century Learning.