ETEC-524 Tech Playtesting Assignment 4: Content Objects

For our final tech play assignment, I have chosen to explore some physics content objects. To do this, I wanted to make sure that I sought out things that I had no experience with that I could use this time to dive into and to think about how I could incorporate them into my existing physics, chemistry, and statistics classes. I have outlined each of the content objects below and, in the end, I’ll propose a couple of sample lessons.

oPhysics

oPhysics is a series of interactive physics simulations that were created using GeoGebra by, retired physics teacher, Tom Walsh. When I first looked into this site, I thought it was just going to be a collection of animations. The animations were very well done and do allow for some input from the student that could allow for exploration, but, at that point, I didn’t really see it as being particularly useful. However, after I kept exploring, I found that there are lab simulations that students can interact with and, even more helpful, drawing tools. The drawing tools include a mechanics drawing set that lets students create standard images that you would see in the earlier units in physics, a graphing tool, and, most importantly, a circuit diagram drawing tool–drawing circuits has long been a struggle unlike any others for physics teachers and students, I tend to just write problems that go along with diagrams I can find online.

The main function of oPhysics could be anything from simply finding simulations for students to interact with to using the creative tools for lab reports and problem-solving assignments. There really is a ton that you and your students can do.

The one thing that I wish is for there to be more “Quiz” assignments. In the Conservation menu, there is a great simulation that calls for students to measure some things in a ballistic pendulum and then to predict the launch velocity of the projectile. The simulation gives them instant feedback as to whether or not their answer is correct. These would be great on a sub day, because they are so easy to grade; all that students would have to do is to take a screenshot of their final results. The initial parameters are also random so students won’t get the same answers as each other and, therefore, could help each other without cheating.

Desmos Activity Builder

I have been using Desmos since it launched back in 2011. Through the years, I have made extensive use of their graphing calculator and absolutely love its simplicity and expansive capabilities. However, I have never really spent much time on their Activity Builder. The Activity Builder is very similar to a test administering software, except, since it’s housed in a graphing calculator, it has a lot more functionality. I really started to appreciate it more when I started to look through some of my favorite teachers’ public activity libraries. Desmos allows you to publish all of your activities through their platform, meaning that there is most likely already a simulation out there for any concept or topic that you would want to explore.

I suppose the main purpose of activity builder would be for assessment purposes, but not necessarily summative assessment. Some of the items that these teachers shared were great formative assessments. For example, one teacher shared a digital card sort asking students to categorize x-t, v-t, and a-t graphs. This would be a great quick and easy way to get data on a particular student.

I don’t have a ton of complaints about the Activity Builder. I guess the only one I can actually think of is the lack of instructions for teachers who are new to the software. Even after going through a lot of simulations, I was sort of at a loss at how to go about creating my own activities. I’m sure there is a ton of YouTube videos out there, but I was looking for something that was embedded to walk me through and I couldn’t find it.

Phyphox / Physics Toolbox

These are two app suites for Android and iOS that utilize all of your phone’s sensors to collect data that can be used to analyze physics phenomena. Phyphox seems to be a bit more robust, including a few more applications than Physics Toolbox, but Physics Toolbox seems to be more widespread with more teachers utilizing its capabilities. Some of the modes of sensor data that can be collected include Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Pressure, and Audio. They also have some very clever things that you can do with these data such as an audio stopwatch and a speedometer that uses magnets.

The main purpose of these two suites of apps is for data collection. Measurement tools are the single most important aspect of any lab. You can have the most expensive equipment but if you don’t have an accurate and reliable source of measurement your labs are useless.

One thing that I don’t love about it is that the data is a bit choppy. I’m not sure if there is any data smoothing written into the program. As is, the data is very choppy making it harder for students to ascertain the correct relationships.

R-Studio

R is a programming language designed specifically for the statistical analysis of large data sets. I originally thought that this was unnecessary and only served as an alternative to Excel and Sheets, but it does so much more. With one line of code, you are able to remove all instants of a certain value from your data set, do a t-test, χ2, regression analysis, etc. All of these capabilities make analyzing very large data sets much more manageable than if they were done in one of the other platforms. R is also better at creating visuals from data sets than Excel and Sheets.

The one complaint I have about R is similar to the one that I have for Desmos Activity Builder and that is the high learning curve. The vast majority of things that will need to be done in an AP Statistics course are capable of being done in Excel/Sheets–or a TI-calculator. However, teaching students about R, probably the second-most popular programming language, could be an excellent project for the time after the AP exam.

Sample Lesson 1: Kinematics Investigation

Overview:

This is a lesson that I devised to introduce kinematic graphs to students. It comes after some initial work that introduces and differentiates the concepts of distance/displacement, speed/velocity, and acceleration. Once students have a firm grasp of what each of these terms means, they need to learn how to identify them from different forms of representations.

In my conception of this lesson, I’d start by having the students play around with this oPhysics simulation that allows students to vary the acceleration, starting position, and initial velocity of an object and then see how this affects the graph. To help them make the necessary connections, I’d probably provide them with a few guiding questions: such as, “how do you make the graph curve upwards?”, “how can you make the graph have a negative slope?”, “what do you have to do to make the graph flat?”. These questions should help them see how each of the three variables mentioned above is represented on a kinematic graph.

After that, they move on to a learning progression created by Frank Noschese on Desmos Activity Builder. The learning progression starts with a card sort then moves on to a set of “select all that apply” questions, before finishing with another card sort with more complicated graphs to analyze.

Content:

  • AP Physics 1: CHA.1.2 Representations of Motion
  • Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards: PHY.1.2 Interpret and predict 1-D motion based on displacement vs. time, velocity vs. time, or acceleration vs. time graphs.

Pedagogy:

This lesson is based on Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory. By having students first experience the topics, they are more receptive to instruction later. Also, by moving from concrete experiences to abstract reasoning, students are better able to grasp the concepts.

Technology:

The oPhysics Simulation’s affordances make this lesson possible by allowing students to alter various parameters in a closed and simple fashion and then see the corresponding motion and graph simultaneously. This wouldn’t be possible without oPhysics–or a similar software package–because in the real world you have to resort to some hand waving in order to alter all of these variables. It’s possible, but not nearly as easy.

The Activity Builder Learning Progression finishes this lesson nicely because it allows for students to answer in alternative formats to the traditional assessment types. The learning progression could even be modified to include questions that require students to use a trackpad or mouse to draw specific motion graphs.

Alternative Formats:

Of course, a similar lesson could be done without using these technologies. Prior to 2021, I worked at a school with only four laptop carts for a school of 1400 students and we got by. However, the inclusions of these technologies Enhance–SAMR model–the lesson by increasing the functionality. If I didn’t have these technologies, I’d probably introduce the graphs with an activity that has students graph the motion of constant velocity buggies by hand. The downside of this lesson is it takes a TON of time for the students to make the simple graphs created by oPhysics in a couple of seconds and it doesn’t illustrate accelerated motion. To do that, you’d need a dynamics cart, a variably inclined plane, and a motion sensor. All of that equipment can get expensive and makes set up a nightmare.

Sample Lesson 2: AP* Statistics Research Project / COVID Project

This lesson would, ideally, bookend a year of introductory statistics. The task would be simple, to use data to make informed decisions. This could be left open, but I think, in light of our current situation, it might be better to use any of the legions of publicly available COVID statistics to validate/invalidate commonly-held notions concerning the pandemic***. These could range from “do vaccines really help prevent individuals from contracting COVID?” to “are you more likely to die from COVID if you are older?”. The topics are sensitive due to the political climate in our country, but I believe that showing students how to form opinions based on data is one of the most important skills that we can teach our students. After the initial project is given, students could be put into groups and given a couple of weeks to research and create a presentation that they would give to their peers or some wider audience.

*** Some might say that leaving the project more open is always preferable, but, in my experience, students tend to struggle choosing topics. Identifying potential topics for research is a valuable skill to have, so maybe a good compromise would be to present students with a number of appropriate data sets and to have them select one and formulate a question that they could answer from that set.

Content:

AP Statistics – This project would cover all of the Course Skills that pervade the curriculum. These skills are 1: Selecting Statistical Methods, 2: Data Analysis, 3: Using Probability and Simulation, and 4: Statistical Argumentation. Of course, the project also hits many individual content standards, but which ones are included would depend on the focus questions that the students formulate.

Pedagogy:

This lesson would serve as a performance task, something not credited with any one person but, rather, as a name for something that good pedagogy has consisted of for many years. Any good assessment system should consist of multiple measurements from various assessment types.

Technology:

As previously mentioned, R allows students to maintain and analyze very large sets of data. Without R, or a similar software package, an analysis like this wouldn’t be possible. It’s also important to use software packages like this, because of their popularity in the workforce and in academia. If a student is introduced to them earlier and allowed a safe environment in which to explore, they are going to pick up on them faster making them more valuable to future employers.

Alternative Formats:

As mentioned earlier, most of this analysis could be done in Excel or Sheets, but as the data sets become larger and larger and the visuals become more complex, those two platforms become inferior. With data sets that include the entire country, like the COVID data from the CDC, Johns-Hopkins, or the Mayo Clinic do, the need for R arises. If a teacher was unfamiliar with R or just didn’t want to take the time to teach an entire programming language, a simple random sample could be taken from the parent sample. If the sample were small enough, then a similar analysis could be conducted in Excel/Sheets. In any event, this work, using any of these three platforms, transforms–SAMR model–a lesson about hypothesis testing and statistical tools.

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ETEC-524 Tech Playtesting Assignment 3: Creativity Tools

This week in Intro to Educational Technology, we explore creativity tools and their applications. To do this, I explored three different apps and thought about how they could be used in my physics and statistics courses. I’ll briefly describe each of the three that I looked at and then will go into further details about one particular app.

Vernier Video Physics

Video analysis has become an integral part of my classroom. I started implementing video analysis into my curriculum with Pivot Interactives, a video analysis package that comes with on-screen measurement tools and an expansive library of videos aimed at highlighting certain physical phenomena. Recently, Pivot put up a paywall and, despite the very reasonable price tag, my school nor my students could afford it. I then moved on to Tracker, an open-source video analysis tool. This works just as good, but you have to create your own videos. This isn’t too big of a problem, but you have to spend time teaching students some things about videoing in order for them to get good data that require time that I just don’t have in my current curriculum.

Finally, after the pandemic hit, my school went 1:1 with iPads. Tracker doesn’t have an app so I had to find another option. I started with Coach’s Eye. This is a great app, but it doesn’t create graphs. I then moved to Vernier Video Analysis. This app is great, it has all of the functionality of the other video analysis software packages that I mentioned, plus the data analyzing capabilities of other Vernier products. I was able to get my school to purchase licenses for my one small physics class, but I know that had the circumstances been different, I wouldn’t be able to buy the licenses again. So we are right back to the paywall problem.

Stapplet

I am new to the Statistics teaching community. I won’t start my first class until next year, but I’ve begun to look at certain statistics software packages that are used frequently in these communities. One of those technologies is Stapplet. Stapplet is a software package that allows for you to run statistical analysis on a set of data, similar to what you’ve seen in Excel and Google Sheets. However, where it stands out is its ability to run simulations. As I’m learning, simulations are the best way of teaching many statistical concepts, confidence intervals, for example. Additionally, research shows that if the results of the simulations are made visible, their pedagogical power is increased even more. P-values are so much more intuitive when you see a dot plot created through simulated trials than when you use a formula. One thing that I don’t love about Stapplet is how boring the website looks. I know this isn’t the number one priority for a textbook publisher when creating a statical analysis tool, but some thought should have been paid to it. The website in its current form looks like something that you would navigate to after getting your family off of the phone lines, hearing “You’ve Got Mail”, and illegally downloading music off of Napster.

Glowscript

Over the summer I began reading some of Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood’s work regarding the importance of numerical analysis in introductory physics. Their work ultimately culminated in the creation of an entire curriculum aimed at integrating these two topics and is pretty popular in some Physics Education Research (PER) circles. Once I decided that I was going to start to include some of these activities into my physics courses, I needed a way for students to compile and share their code with me. After a little bit of digging, I found Glowscript. Glowscript is an open-source compiler that does just that for a language called vPython. vPython is a python with a visual component that has been incorporated. It was developed by a physics teacher in the late 1980s for pedagogical purposes. Students create an account and all of their information is stored in the cloud, which makes for incredibly easy storing and relatively good integration with our learning management system. I’ll be going into further details about how I see Glowscript being incorporated into my classes.

Integration Ideas

The affordances of Glowscript allow you to create physical environments that are unlike those on Earth and provide the students with an opportunity to see the behavior of objects under these alternative physics. Beyond the curricular benefits, the cloud-based nature of the software allows them to easily share the creations with me or their classmates. When I was designing a lesson that incorporated Glowscript, I wanted to make sure that all of these elements were included. Here are two examples that I came up with.

  1. Electric Field Mapping – After you get past point charges and very symmetric distributions of charge, electric fields are notoriously difficult for working with. This is primarily due to the abstract nature of vector fields in general. I wanted a way that my students could see, interact with, and create the electric fields for non-symmetric distrubtions of charge. Oddly enough, incorporating Glowscript and vPython makes this incredibly easy. A student doesn’t have to understand anything about partial derivatives or vector fields in order to create a program that illustrates the electric field lines due to any charge distribution.
    1. This lesson addresses all of the electric field objectives for the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism standards. CNV-3 and FIE-1.
    2. The pedagogical approach of this lesson is one of Experiental Learning Theory. Experiental Learning Theory was developed by David Kolb in the mid-80s and is focused on the fact that students learn best by doing.
    3. Glowscript allows for students to develop their own charge distribution and see how the field changes when they add/remove charges or change the geometry of the situation. And, as previously mentioned, they also allow for easy storage and sharing of their programs.
  2. Air Resistance – One of the most common phrases you’ll see in any introductory physics text is “air resistance is negligible”. Air resistance is a tough topic to deal with; one that requires an understanding of differential equations, boundary conditions, natural logarithms, and graphing in order to properly address. However, just like my first activity, air resistance is actually quite easy in a computational environment. A calculation that takes a whole page to do for a simple–that term is relative–example can be compacted down to about three lines of code.
    1. This lesson addresses INT-1.A from the AP Physics C: Mechanics curriculum that discusses resistive forces.
    2. The pedagogical approach in this lesson is the same as the one above, but I believe that something could also be said to it being a constructivist approach. After the students have created their first programs, even if they are walked through entirely by a teacher or classmate, they can build on these past experiences and create something that is completely new.
    3. The affordances in this lesson are the same as those above.

Concluding Thoughts

As teachers, we are tasked with finding the most efficient route of moving students from point A to point B in their understanding. To do this, we need to make sure that we are always analyzing new and existing technologies and doing our best to implement them. In the case of my two lessons, the only alternative for investigations into the two subjects that I shared is highly symmetric and, subsequently, non-realistic systems.

We also need to be aware that, although we might not see a use for a particular technology, there are valid ways that it can be used to improve students’ performances. One of these technologies for me are wikis. I know that some teachers can use them to showcase their students’ thinking in amazing ways, but for me, they seem counterintuitive and unnecessary. I’d much prefer Google Sites. However, although in today’s current landscape, Google Sites is more user-friendly, in the future students might need the increased customization that comes from the more robust wiki platforms that are out there. A similar situation comes from the document-editing world. Although Microsoft Word and Google Docs are very user-friendly, sometimes it’s necessary to use the much more complex LaTeX compilers. Where LaTeX sacrifices in terms of ease of use, it makes up for sophistication. If you are incorporating some rare text elements or complicated charts, tables, or graphs, Word and Docs probably aren’t your best option.

As in everything, we need to be aware of our blind spots and shortcomings. We need to help students see that there are pros and cons to almost everything and that they need to be able to analyze and identify these aspects.

ETEC-524 Tech Playtesting Assignment 2: Folio Thinking

Reflections on Folio Thinking

When asked to choose which of the following two options is more relevant/meaningful to my learning:

  1. Answering questions about educational technology that ETEC professors have identified as the most important things to know and having them judge the logic, accuracy, and depth, breadth, and precision of your answers.
  2. Articulating what you know and hav elearned about educational technology from your academic, professional, and other experiences and providing evidence of tha tlearning with a collection of artifacts you’ve created.

I feel that this question, in conjunction with the readings and subject matter of the week, is set up for you to choose the second option. While I feel that the second option is an excellent choice, I also see the merit in the first option and that both options have a place in a well-balanced, effective pedagogy.

Assessment of the first form is invaluable in the formulation of your ideas and in the development of your understanding which could, ultimately, be displayed in a portfolio as an assessment of the second form.

For example, I know absolutely nothing about a lot of things. If I were to pick one of these things, let’s say small engine repair as an example, and were to try to create a portfolio that documented my understanding, I would have no idea what would be relevant to include or to seek to include. I would need the assistance of an expert who could point these items out to me; this is where the first form of assessment is invaluable.

After everything was said and done and I had received my diploma, certificate, endorsement, badge, or whatever it is that they give to the small-engineers of the world, a portfolio would be incredibly valuable. It could help me convince other people of my tremendous abilities to fix cylinders, gaskets, O-rings, or flux capacitors. It would also help me reflect on my own milestones throughout my journey.

Perhaps my thoughts could best be summarized like this: Assessments of the first form are the most effective form of formative assessment, while assessments of the second form are the most effective version of summative assessment.

Technology Affordances

Portfolios have long been a part of the interview/hiring process in other fields. An interview for an open graphic design position would be pretty pointless without having some of the aspiring artist’s work to critique. Also, you would assume that the individual would choose to include a wide range of pieces that showcase the breadth and depth of their talent. Physical portfolios have long been the standard of this process, largely due to the lack of digital options, but something can also be said to the convenience of sharing in face-to-face settings. However, with the advent of so many technological tools and near universal access to the internet, ePortfolios are king now. Where they lack in face-to-face meetings, they more than make up for in the incorporation of multimedia. Whereas physical portfolios could only include printed items, ePortfolios can include videos, interactive applications, and the same printed documents in digital form. They also drastically increase portability and storage when compared to a three-inch-thick binder.

For my TechPlay assignment, I explored three potential options for ePortfolios. I used the built-in ePortfolio system in Canvas, Google Sites to evaluate the affordances of websites, and MediaWiki. Each of these has its pros and cons and the choice ultimately comes down to what your goal is for your ePortfolio. Helen Barrett (2009) states that there are two faces for ePortfolios: (1) Learning or Reflection and (2) Showcase or Accountability. If your goal is Learning or Reflection, the ePortfolio should be seen as a workspace that is persistently in progress. If your goal is Showcase or Accountability, the ePortfolio should be seen as a showcase of progress. According to her, Showcase ePortfolios should be organized thematically and retrospectively reflective, while Workspace ePortfolios should be organized chronologically and be reflected upon immediately upon every upload. All three platforms could be used for both purposes; however, Google Sites works best for Showcase ePortfolios, WikiMedia and Canvas work best for Workspace ePortfolios. This has everything to do with the setup and features of each. Google Sites lacks a simple way for visitors to collaborate with the author, while WikiMedia and Canvas don’t allow for as much customization in the presentation of material.

With all of that being said, I chose to use the Canvas ePortfolio because it felt like it was the best of both worlds and because I am less familiar with it than Google Sites, my second choice.

Shift Context/Perspective

As of right now, I would probably have my students use Google Sites if I were asking them to create an ePortfolio. I’d do this for a few reasons, but the primary one is the ease of incorporation with existing items in their Google Drives. The vast majority of the work that my students do is in Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Drawings, or Forms. Therefore, any of their work could seamlessly be added into Google Docs in a very inviting and organized manner. Also, in my hypothetical assignments, the collaboration aspect of ePortfolios isn’t as prevalent and, therefore, makes it hard to justify the increased technological prowess necessary for the other options.

Work Examples

Below are two potential lessons that could utilize the affordances presented by ePortfolios.

  1. Lab Notebook – Although this isn’t a particular lesson, it is a collection of activities throughout the course. In my physics class, I like to have the students keep a detailed lab notebook that they can use to record their results, perform necessary calculations, and recall past experiences. This satisfies the Science and Engineering Practice H–“Obtain, Evaluate, and Communicate Information”–in my state’s science framework. This could easily be done in one of the three tools that I mentioned earlier and would probably be better. This represents a lesson that has been Enhanced–according to the SAMR-model–by the implementation of a new technology. The affordances of ePortfolio improve the lesson by increasing the amount of items that are capable of being included in the notebook. Instead of only having hand-drawn graphs, written explanations, and handdrawn lab setups, students could include links to Google Sheets that preserve the data and allow for further analysis and modification at later dates, actual images that can be edited to include labels, captions, or explanations, and embedded Google docs that display the comments of the group members in a shared workspace for others to see.
  2. Computational Physics – Another family of lessons that could be done in ePortfolios is my computational physics project. In this project, my goal is to introduce students to the computational methods that are almost solely used in today’s physics explorations. In this semester-long project, I initially give student some introductory lessons on vPython and how it can be used to illustrate objects moving according to certain physical principles and parameters. Then, throughout the rest of the units, I have them create a program that illustrates one of the homework problems of their choosing. Each unit of the physics curriculum introduces a new physical principle that students must then convert into a digital form. At the end of the semester, I have them turn in a link for each of their programs throughout the semester. With an ePortfolio in Google Sites, Canvas, or WikiMedia, I could have them create a collection of these programs and could ask them to display their five, say, best programs and have them reflect on what went into each, what challenges they face, and what new knowledge they gained. This adds a ton of educational rigor to the assignment and still accomplishes the original goals. It satisfies the Science and Engineering Practice E–“Use Mathematical and Computational Thinking”–in its original form, but when the ePortfolio aspect is added, it also satisfies SEP H, mentioned in the first proposed activity.

ETEC-524 Tech Playtesting Assignment 1: Blogs

Definition of Blogs

Blogging is the journaling of the 21st–and 20th–century. It involves sharing your thoughts in an online forum that is accessible by others through an online platform that can be found via search engines.

I arrived at this definition through experience. When I first started teaching in 2013, I started a blog, largely because it was what everyone else on Twitter was doing. I used it to make notes about my lessons for others to see and for me to reflect on from year to year. In the end, the responsibilities of the school year, life, and maintaining the online journal became too much and I posted less and less. This is the same blog that I maintained all of those years ago with the original posts intact–in all of their cringe-worthy glory.

I chose WordPress due to its simplicity and ease of use. However, since 2016 its functionality has increased but its simplicity doesn’t seem to have caught up. I miss the old-school rich-text editor. In preparation for this assignment, I looked at a few other, newer, alternatives. These included Wix, Weebly, and Blogger. All of these alternatives were so similar in their posting, editing, and sharing options that I just decided to go with what I’m used to, or so I thought.

Blogs differ from vlogs in that blogs tend to be text-only while vlogs are videos. Additionally, they are different than discussion boards in that they are public which increases their sharability.

Affordances of Blogs

I believe that blogs afford students the chance of creating a record of their thinking as they progress a unit, a course, or their academic career. This can be valuable for them to see their progression and the evolution of thought that occurs as they move from point A to point B.

A lot of this post so far has been focused on sharing your personal thoughts, but another big affordance of blogs is the ability to see what other people are doing. This is also possible through social media, but blogs allow you to put much more detail in each of your posts by embedding far more pictures, videos, and documents than a single social media post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

How to Use Blogs to Support Learning

One way that blogs can be used to enhance instruction would be to have students write an essay on a blog rather than on paper. This enhances instruction in that it allows for the post to be more easily shared and viewed by the instructor and/or their classmates. From my content area (physics), I could have students create a blog post instead of a lab report. Their blog post would allow them to share images or videos from their lab, data tables and graphs, and their conclusions all a multi-media page. This addresses the Science and Engineering principles in my curriculum that are related to collaboration and summarizing one’s findings.

One way that blogs could be used to transform instruction could be in role-playing. Due to the journal-like nature of a blog post, I could see the potential of them being used as a role-playing device where students assume the role of some historical person, fictional character, or physical concept and write about their thoughts about certain items. This activity forces them to consider the same things that their person, place, or thing and put them into words. From my content area, I could have students write about life as a photon, sub-atomic particle, etc. This activity could be done on paper, but in blog form, it allows for students to include images, videos, and multiple posts. Also, the ability for students to comment on each other’s posts allows for unlimited additions to this assignment. This could address just about any of my learning standards due to the open-ended nature of it, but one in particular could be my standard regarding the conservation of energy. Students could write about the life of a single Joule of energy as it shifts from one flavor of energy to another in an endless cycle throughout some physical process.

Both of these ideas heavily rely on the Social Learning Theory developed by Bandura in the 1960s from his well-known Bobo doll experiment and, the much newer, Connectivism. Both of these learning theories are rooted in interpersonal connections and how they allow students to build on their own understanding. This was my original intention with this blog, learning through interpersonal interactions with other teachers.

Obstacles

In today’s technology-rich society, I don’t see a ton of obstacles in using blogs as an educational tool. One obvious limitation would be the lack of devices in classrooms. However, smartphones have almost become universal at this point and can be leveraged to create blogs.

The biggest obstacle I see to the implementation of blogs comes from their public nature. Since many of our students are under the age of 18, there are certain privacy concerns that must be adhered to. Although including a personal picture of the student could be relevant to the assignment, this also puts them in a position to potentially be exploited. Likewise, using their real name makes sense for grading purposes, but also is intrusive. A lof blogs have a public/private setting that you could employ to keep unintended people from viewing the post, but if these settings are not advanced enough they lose the interpersonal capabilities that make the technology great.

In the end, I believe that even with these obstacles, there are ways around them and that, in the end, blogging has the capability of enhancing and transforming our teaching for the better.

Day 7

Geometry moved at a snail’s pace today through a pretty simple worksheet on translations, but this early in the game my primary concern is to get them to be confident in their ability to learn mathematics and I hope that I am succeeding in that.
In physics, it was time for the buggy lab again. I have done this lab every year that I have taught and have never done it the same way twice, nor have I ever really been pleased with my implementation. I always feel that I am either helping too much or not scaffolding enough, to the point where the activity becomes a pointless exercise in data collection. However, this year I am pretty happy with my implementation. I’ll post more about it after we have completed the activity.
Since I only have 5 buggies and 7 groups I had 1 group at a time taking data in the hall, while the rest of us worked on vector addition problems. This worked out pretty well; although, I do think I am going to spring for a few more buggies next year so that we can all do it as a class.

Assessments all around after intro’d scalars & vectors to physics & used Tetris to intro transforms to geo #180tweets http://t.co/zzOuZRbpDI

Phy cont’d our study of data analysis w/ our new calculators. Geo reviewed vocab & learned a/b angles. #180tweets http://t.co/hT2TI2cQFq

Started our study on non-linear data w/ pendulums. Geometry discussed Euclid, his Elements, & nomenclature #180tweets http://t.co/6P9ndhUGVr

Day 2

Analyzed our first pieces of data w/ the spaghetti bridge and spiced up some vocab @lisabej_manitou style #180tweets

Day 1

After we got through Frank Noschese’s Subversive Lab Grouping and talked business a little bit, we explored the importance of iteration with the Marshmallow Challenge in physics. In geometry, we set up shop and then persevered in problem solving via 31-derful.