Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Live and Interctive with Alan Levine

Zoe  (my tech ed teacher) was nice enough to get Alan Levine the "guru" or digitial storytelling talk to our class today about what he does.  The conept of storytelling is a cultural phenomenon that has been present for many generations.  Being able to create/tell stories with the tools and technology that the students are interested in, would be a great way for students to engage in the material.  To many times students are just copy the informatio to be learned at home while studying and regurgitated on a test just to be forgotten 10 minutes later.  Telling stories would give students a sense of ownership to the material and help them understand it.  I was trying to explain how ionic compounds dissolve it water and my students weren't getting the conept.  To explain it I told a story about Justin Bieber being in a mall.  He will be immediately surrounded by the opposite charge (female) and be pulled into the crowd so he i indistingisable. 

Alan gave us a good method of determining how to tell your story.  To make it easier ont he storyteller he suggested having the story laid out ahead of time so you have a basis before beginning to use a tool.  You can then pick a tool and make you digital story.  I am a big sotryteller and it would be interesting to try out some of the tools Alan talks about and make digital stories that can be shared with freinds and family worldwide.  It was great that Alan was able to learn how to use each of the tools and tell the story of Dominoe.  This gives me hope that I would be able to use the tools without a tremendous amount of difficulty being that I am not very techie. 

I think these tools would be very applicable in science classrooms.  In classrooms in general, digital sotrytelling, as Alan expressed, would be a great way for teachers to get to know their students.  I think it is extremely important for teachers to get to know their students, and teach to their interests.  Without knowing your students you can't differentiate your instruction and you are more than liekly to leave a few students behind.  All the scientific facts we know today were discovered by someone or a group of people and told to others using a story of some sort.  So why as sicence teachers are we just telling the facts and having our students "learn" it?  I think that storytelling would be a great way to teach scientfic concepts.  Have the students research a topic and have them teach the class using a story.  I was given an assignment in grade 12 science to research a chemist and write a paper about their contribution to science.  This would have been way more fun if I were able to tell a story from the persepctive of my scientist about how they contributed to science on a personal level.

Alan's presentation reall opened my eyes to the way we can use storytelling in our classrooms to help engage students.  Being able to tell these stories using the the digital media that students are so familiar with will help them engage in the material.  I know the things I remember best from my days as a student are the things I learned from my teachers stories.  Lets use technology to tlel these stories and get students engaged.  I am looking forward to investigating some of these tools.

Survived 1st Placement

Well I made it.  I was a little bit of a struggle for the last week but I made it through.  After school on Thursday my trip to the walk-in clinic confirmed that I had strep throat.  Clearly my immune system wasn't prepared for the the 1200 germ ridden students.  I am now on antibiotics and recovering nicely. 

As a whole palcement was awseome.  I have to thank the two grade 11 classes for being kind and allowing me to jump into their class nicely.  The studentswere very responsive to me and seemed to be learning a lot.  The students really enjoyed my demonstration of sodium thiosulfate crystalization and their solubility labs.  They got a taste of how other people live in relation to their accessibility to water treatment.  I used to jigsaw method to teach the students about 6 different aspects of water (drinking water, waste water, cost, pollutants, health, environment).  Using a video as an intro my students were able to get a better understanding of how lucky they are to live where they do with the access to clean water.  It was nice to see students looking at the information and posing questions and really thinking about the information, and not just lookign for a mark.

This had to have been the most striking surprise I came across on block.  My students are so focused on marks that it is hindering their ability to learn.  They were getting so stressed out about the marks they would get if they did an assigment a certain way they couldn't focus on the actual material.  The day we did the jigsaw on water treatment the first question they asked was are we going to get marked on this? Once they found out that this was a learning opportunity and not a marking session, the students fully engaged wth the material and got a lot out of it.  I think this was exasperated because I was teaching a grade 11 university prep chemistry class and they know that the marks will affect their future.  I hope I can find a way to help my students in the future to decrease this stress and make it easier for them to engage in the material.  If anyone has an suggestions on how to do this I would be very open to hearing them.