Right off the top, its tough to generate ideas on integrating tech into classes. Its a different mindset. I really believe its the main blockage in tech use because its the heart of the paradigm shift. Thinking differently.

I’m a natural lecturer. I think it comes from a lifetime of indoctrination. Especially in the sciences. We tend not to have the small seminar rooms with a grad student. Not until later years do you get smaller classes, and even then those classes are taught by PhD’s in science not education. Lecture , lecture, lecture —oh and a lab a week.

Off, the top. Sometimes a good lecture, by a good speaker can be the way to go. Its awfully difficult to get students to understand how to fill in an energy level diagram without some lecture methodology. Then again, maybe I haven’t tried hard enough. But enough of that.

My personal process:

I tend to use two different strategies. I’d like to use the second one most of the time, but the practical limitation – time, always rears its head.

1. Introduce the material and concepts to the students personally. Often lecture style but perhaps not. I usually do this for abstract concepts that are easily misunderstood by students. An example for the grade 9 Ontario curriculum is the Doppler effect and red shift/blue shift. Remember, science often fights what perception tells us. Perception misleads us in manner ways. Ex: The world is flat. The Earth is not moving. The sun moves around us. Etc etc.
This is then followed up with a project/assignment/creation – this is where the wiki/blog/movie maker comes in – of some sort to evaluate the students ability to apply the concepts correctly.
Summary: I teach the concept, they create something to show application of the concept.
Example:

  • I taught about absorption spectrums, Doppler effect, transit and triangulation.
  • Students pretended they were an amateur astronomer and had to provide the evidence to NASA claiming the composition, orbital period, size, and distance to an exosolar planet.
  • Only a little this time around, they could place their assignment in their wiki. Not a big deal. All I did was try and replace paper with a screen. Ho Hum. In the future I like the idea of using movie maker and they can present the data in a presentation manner. Ie. On the news type of thing.

2. The second approach requires the student to do the research. This breaks the paradigm to a greater degree. The students find the information, organize, reword, and present it in as diverse a way as possible. [Whats nice is that blogging is making me generate new ideas!]
Example:

So they find the information. They collate, organize and create the wiki. They choose how to link pages, embed videos and structure the design. Most of them have never done anything like this and so far they are doing reasonably well.
Summary: They do everything. I explain and smooth out difficulties be they content or tech related.

A recent reader – yes! I have at least one – asked how to apply to math classes. First it will be a tough sell. Math would seem to be a greater challenge than most classes. However I can provide some suggestions:

A wiki, perhaps video making project on past mathematicians and the history of math. It could incorporate the progression of geometric or algebraic [higher grades] development. Perhaps it could show how math evolved.

Perhaps a project on practical applications on mathematical concepts around us today.

Wikis can be easily structured as review vehicles. Students can provide questions and answers as a review package. It is exam time after all!

Gotta run – hope these were some helpful hints and ideas.

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