Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Student Experience: Engaging and Assessing Young Scientists: DEN SCIcon with Mike Bryant

Just a reminder that all the webinars will be archived and resources shared on the DEN Global blog.

Click here to download Mike’s presentation.
Also, you can access the STEM anthem written and performed by Lodge McCammon by clicking here.

Bryant began by remembering a language arts teacher who once told him you "have to be on fire for language arts." So Mike said you have to come in hot and excited, not cold for teaching and engaging young scientists. You have to be engaged yourself before you can engage your students. You just have to "be on fire for science." You don't have to go crazy, but you need to put it in a different context.


Why would you want to have engaging activities? You need to tap into students' curiosity, be relevant for them, ask and raise questions that are crucial to a science classroom. Ask them to investigate, analyze, synthesize content into something new. To solve a problem, you need to generate questions to solve a problem. So the question becomes how will you engage your students? How do you currently do this and how can you do it differently, better? Mike encouraged us to share our engagement strategies in the chat feature.

Mike shared a wonderful video from a summer event at Huntsville, Alabama last year; here's the link to the video. Dr. Lodge McCammom's STEM song can be found here; Lodge's website is an amazing resource. When this webinar is archived, you will want to check the chat for an incredible wealth of resources and ideas from the interactivity that Mike encouraged and promoted. He tasked us to continue the sharing throughout the day.

To demonstrate that students come to the classroom with prior knowledge, he showed text--BATHROOM--and a frog image--and then an image of Pittsbury. We had 3 seconds to type in our schema or prior knowledge. The associations were comical to say the least, but rapidly fired. What a great way to gain an understanding of what your students know before you begin your learning and teaching journey in a science classroom. What we learned was that our response was lightning faster with images over text, proving the power of media making learning relevant. Mike's next video can be found in Discovery Media Share as well here.

Mike encourages us to activate students' prior knowledge by using digital media so they can make a connection easier as the digital natives they are. He recommended Steve Hawking's Discovery Channel Into the Universe. Mike also shared Glogster and Blabberize as good Web 2.0 tools, but a chat suggestions is this alternative, Fotobabble,  if Blabberize is blocked.

Additional Discovery Interactive Links:
Every Day Life
3M Science.

Mike went to Google Chrome (can also use Firefox but Safari and IE will not run this site) to Google Body. A truly interesting tool that can be used in a science classroom that affords multiple views and the option to select exactly what you want to see. For example, systems, bones, muscles--whatever you want to see in human anatomy and physiology is available. You get to peel back the layers and the result is just one amazing interactive tool for student engagement.

Another way to engage students is audio, and Lodge McCammon is the site to visit to discover the possibilities for "intoxicating" music. If you attended last year's DEN PreCon @PETE&C, you had the opportunity to learn for 3 hours with Lodge, our Fizz Man, and I can tell you it was an exciting and interactive experience. Learning at its best.

Quote from the session: You don't need to do drugs... just listen to Lodge"... Mike Bryant

Learning in a science class should be student directed. One of the best ways to enable this self-direction is Discovery Education's Student Center. If you have Discovery Science, the opportunity for student self-assessment is a point and click away. A student can select a topic, acquire the content, and self-assess. Discovery Science can link out to other Web 2.0 tools as well, so you can build out informal or formal assessments.

A freemium that you can use to build out in Discovery Science is Wix. Although it might be blocked, you can use the embeddable code and place it in your Discovery Builder by embedding Wix in Google Earth. Then, you add Google Earth with Wix into your Builder. Very cool indeed. From the chat room, a tutorial. Thanks, Christina. Mike notes the great thing about these tools is that all of them have buildability in Discovery Builders.

One of the cool ideas Mike shared was using PowerPoint that you would share in the classroom by putting an image into the PP that would grab students' attention. Another idea was to lay a voiceover in iMovie. It's a quick way to review slides and capture students' explanation of the iMovie. Clever uses for engagement, and that, after all, was the theme of Mike's presentation. Thanks, Mike, for a truly interactive presentation, proving yet again that a coffee, a dog, and two cats by your side, looking out on a snowy 1 degree day at your llamas is a great way to learn. Thank you, Discovery, for delivery professional development at its best.
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