Explain the experiement

I have been working with Carol Jordan a science teacher here at my school for most of the year on different projects.

At the beginning of the year she invited me into her IB Theory of Knowledge class (TOK) to give a presentation on the Connectivism Theory of Learning. From that moment on we’ve been working together on a number of projects.

Most recently Carol had her 9th graders create VoiceThread projects and videos about an experiment.

Now this falls in the “doing old things in new ways” category because her purpose was to have students go through the scientific process as usual, but instead of writing up a report she decided to allow them to create VoiceThreads and videos about their experiments still following the same scientific format.

Where this does become interesting is in the difference between the VoiceThread projects and the videos.

The videos allow students to tell the story of the experiment. They recorded the experiment and then afterwards told the story of what they were doing, what they learning and their steps along the way. Still a scientific report just in new media form. One which engages the students in creating something new and different.

The VoiceThreads on the other hand allowed the students to discuss their experiment. Carol and I talked numerous times about how using VoiceThread to capture the conversation of learning was different then just retelling the story, but could still be graded using the same rubric. Carol could watch and listen to the VoiceThreads and grade for understanding of concepts, of the language used, and learn what students where thinking. The conversation was molded into the framework of the scientific process. So students still had to talk about their hypothesis but they did it within a conversation of what they were thinking….allowing the teacher to assess the knowledge gained, the questions students still have, and bring that conversation back to the classroom for clarification and further learning.

What I have enjoyed is the way in which Carol continues to try new ways of engaging students in the experiment process. Sure the students could write up experiment report after experiment report, or they can have the opportunity to report their findings in other ways. Ways that excite them, engage them and keep science from becoming “Not another experiment.”

It’s teachers like this that continue to push themselves and their students in new and exciting directions that gets me out of bed in the morning.

[tags]sas, science, tok, 21st Century Learning]/tags]

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