5 Replies Latest reply on Aug 12, 2010 8:10 AM by azneil

    What Drives Change?

    glen_w

      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?

       

        • Re: What Drives Change?
          vkajones

          I think this is a good quote to go along with this thread. I'm not sure who wrote it..

          The constancy of life:

          All things change, but they remain the same.

          Change is constant.

          What is old is original.

          What is new is old.

            • Re: What Drives Change?
              glen_w

              Vanessa - great quote! Benjamin Disraeli is given credit for "Change is inevitable. Change is constant." I'm constantly reminding myself the only constant in life is "change." I guess that's why I enjoy teaching science. We have the concept of Change as a "theme" in 8th grade science here in Utah.

            • Re: What Drives Change?

              Glen, Thanks for the post. While it was not the main topic of your post, I had never seen prezis before. (Thanks for the link) That is a great tool that I can see kids using in math quite a bit. At the elementary level, we deal with many processes. This tool can help them reinforce the ordered processes while accessing different parts of the thought process. Thanks for sharing.

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              • Re: What Drives Change?

                Wow, what a statement!!

                "I don't want to be the stumbling block to my students using technology in the classroom."

                Unfortunately it is also an indictment. I look back on my 23 years in the classroom and find many times when I, due to many different factors, was that stumbling block not only to the use of technology, but to creativity as well. We often get caught up in our own ideas and plans.

                While teaching adults I have discovered that it is very difficult for us as educators to let go of control and allow students to guide their own path within a chosen 'forest'. I believe that it is hard for many teachers to trust the students. Add to that the pressure of standardized testing, and administrative oversight and requirement, and you get an environment where teachers do not feel comfortable or free to 'let the kids go'.

                Changes in the surrounding pressures are needed before widespread change will occur in our educational system.

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                  • Re: What Drives Change?

                    Peter, did you ever hit the nail on the head with this post!  I was fortunate enough to work in a school district years ago that was willing to "let the kids go and the teachers teach".  Some said it was a risky move, but test score went up dramatically and the kids were actually learning.

                     

                    Change is coming, but it is coming slowly.

                     

                    Neil

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