I asked my Biology students to create a multimedia project sharing what they learned through this year's dissections. A rubric was created that allowed students to select their multimedia tool of choice. Comments from gifted as well as special education students related to how they could use a tool that let them express themselves. It was fun to see the results as over ten different tools were presented!
I wonder how we can make it intuitive for teachers to include the technology in STEM. Even the opportunity to share lab learning can be completed in a way that allows both students and teachers to enjoy the project.
I'm interested in ideas on how more science teachers can embrace the “Technology” portion of STEM. What will engage science teachers and their students in technology? How can we convince these teachers that such activities will prepare their students for life?
Great examples, Glen! I'm also curious about this topic. Also, as someone removed from a science classroom for a long time, how often is the "T" in a science classroom in support of the content, and how often is the "T" the actual content? And how has technology changed the process for something like performing a dissection, as opposed to a dissection in a lab 25 years ago?
In my experience (both at my school and within my district) I see Technology as a support to regular science content. Rarely do I see science teachers doing a lesson about Technology. (These lessons are generally taught by Technology teachers.)
I do not think Technology has changed how the typical teacher has students do dissections. I, however, think it provides options for students who do not want to do a dissection. There are online dissections as well as downloadable dissection apps. These tools are effective in covering material - but IMHO are significantly different than touching the organism.
I use technology as a tool during my labs - including dissections. Students are given digital cameras or FLIP cameras to record their experiences. I allow these students to use such tools as they demonstrate what they learned. I often wonder if this is something many science teachers do with their labs... If anyone has knowledge, I'd love to hear.
What an exellent idea - having teachers "embrace what they learn" like we want our students to do. I'm afraid that too often I meet teachers who are reluctant learners - especially when it comes to technology. What suggestions do you have to help this kind of teacher embrace technology?
Here's a TED Talk by Jack Choi about his virtual dissection table. Examples of technology in use can be great springboards and persuasion tools.
What a good TED talk. I can see how it can benefit anatomy students. I, however, would be worried if my Doctor had only completed virtual labs when he does a Prostate exam . I have tried the virtual frog dissection. It is good, but still lacks something (IMHO.) I do not require my students to dissect - it is always their choice.
Thanks for sharing.
We just got a 3D rover http://www.avrover.com/100.html at my school and my first activity while using the cart was a frog dissection. It was absolutely AMAZING! I am always surprised at all the techie alternatives to dissections. OK you science folks ....are you using the real thing?
The AV Rover looks VERY interesting. I wonder if I can persuade my principal to purchase one for my classroom use...
I allow students to do virtual dissections (apps and online) if they desire. Those students who prefer the virtual dissections either do not like the smells, touch, or idea of cutting into a once-living organism. The vast majority of my students, however, enjoy dissections and liked sharing their knowledge in this project. Perhaps the biggest excitement for me was seeing data from our state final. ALL students showed their greatest understanding with this unit compared to other units on the test. Many commented how their project prepared them for the final. (Students who did not pass the test scored best on this unit.) I'm now wondering how I can implement something similar (but it can't be the same) for other units.
I just got word from my principal that we have a "No Go" on the AvRover. When he learned how much it cost, he quickly said it looks fun but you may NOT purchase it!
Now I'm looking for ideas on how I can get a grant to help purchase it. (I don't think, he can say no if I provide the money .)
The way I look at the use of technology in my science classroom is this:
-will the use of technology make the science itself better?
-will it help my students learn/understand the science better?
-will it motivate my students to like science better/participate more in doing science?
Our science benchmark always includes a question about the boiling point of water. Typically, it shows a thermometer that the students have to read, and the answer is 100 degrees C. When we study states of matter and boiling point, I want my students to see and understand that the boiling point of water is not necessarily 100 degrees C. As such, my class took part in the International Boiling Point project for a few years. We had some probes that the district had purchased which could measure temperature, air pressure, etc. very accurately. In addition, the data could be easily transferred to a computer, and the data collection could be seen in real time, saved for later, and shown in a graph.This technology made is possible for us to get some really good data, the students understood boiling point better and even wrote to the district science dept about the b.p. question, and my students really liked using the sensor probes. In other words, it made the science better, it helped my students understand the science better, and it motivated my students.
Unfortunately, the probes became inaccurate after a few years, and the science suffered. That is one big issue with technology in the classroom: when it needs repair or replacing it can be pricey and budgets are squeezed right now.
You bring up valid points - especially regarding upgrading equipment. I was blessed to get a grant to purchase probes for schools in my district. This past month, I distributed the last of the 1/4 million dollar grant. Students are using and enjoying these probes. I was unaware temperature probes can become less accurate.
My probes came from Vernier. They have a temperature probe that attaches directly to a USB port called the Go!Temp. I like how easily students can use their software. Perhaps your PTA can provide the funds for you to get a few of these probes and you can again do the experiments.
I do think that including technology to enhance content (including all areas of content) can be truly motivating and can definitely increase student learning. However, I do believe that sometimes there is learning that is specifically about the Technology, and I don't necessarily think that is all bad. Students have to learn, at some point, how to embed, how to link, how to do the basics in word processing... I teach first grade, and while I often use technology to improve content; I do, sometimes, have students showcase their science learning using technology and utilize the time to teach some very specific technological skills (e.g., when posting, embedding or sharing items on our class wiki---this year, I had first graders post their own items on their own page, and they had to each learn to embed, link, post, etc., all with step-by-step help). It could be argued that you wouldn't want to emphasize the technology learning; however, I think it's a huge part of learning and functioning in our current world. I think it's important that students do indeed gain the technology know-how to help further their skills, and that they showcase their learning via technology, as well as use technology to further their content understanding---I think all areas and parts are important.
Glen, I think your ideas are great, and I think your students (of all levels) were lucky to have you. I think it's fabulous that you allowed them to share their learning in varied ways. I'm sure everyone benefited from everyone's processes and products.
Plus, I think it's great that students now have the option to dissect. I think I still would have dissected once living organisms, but I know that when our HS Bio II teacher had us dissect cats, there were several people (mostly parents) who freaked out. I can understand why, but it was a good learning experience.
I wish my students came from an elementary experience in your classroom. The opportunity to learn how to apply technology to learning can and should happen at all grade levels. While it may not be important to emphasize the "how" of technology you use, I think it is important to provide the opportunities to use it and grow. I am confident students who experience technology as a learning tool are more successful on standardized tests and in life.