This past week, I had the opportunity to participate in a Oregon_STEM developed by Intel Teach and Vernier Software. I am impressed with how closely aligned the training was with the proposed National Science Standards Framework.
During the week, participating teachers used Vernier probes to model STEM activities their students might do. Teachers were introduced to Project Based Learning and using effective Essential Questions. The week’s instruction included using Web 2.0 tools to effectively communicate. While I could not even try to cover all the Web 2.0 tools used … here is a sampling of what I remember. Teachers used Google Apps to create activities and forms for their classes. Several Prezis were created showing plans or samples of what a student might do. We used Social Bookmarking tools and saw the power of these tools for students. Some teachers learned the power of Glogster and Animoto. Often teachers were seen showing a peer how they used a tool (making it more fun for everyone.)
Many teachers developed Project Based lessons using Vernier probes to involve students in solving real-life situations. I wish I could be in these classrooms as students are given opportunities to participate in these units. One unit caused me to think deeply of how actively students will be in their own learning. These students will identify ways their school can reduce electricity use. Students will create a proposal to reduce electrical consumption and share their ideas with the principal and PTA. How powerful is to answer the question: “Can I make a difference?”
A highlight for me was when one experienced teacher commented “I don’t want to remain the stumbling block to my students using technology in the classroom.” I’m with that teacher – I want my students to know they can help change their world!
- How willing are you to involve students in Project Based Learning?
- What project(s) do you think are appropriate for your students to try to solve?
- How do you see your students trying to engineer solutions to real-world problems?
- How willing are you to change your teaching style?