Friday, 24 May 2013


Try Collaborize! Looks like its a great tool for classroom collaboration between the teacher and students!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Setting the Stage- A final reflection

The following was my opening sentence in the `setting the stage` reflection in the beginning of the course. The children of today are growing up to be global citizens. They are the natives in the world of technology. I would call myself an immigrant in that world. When I see my students with the modern day gadgets and the speed with which they operate them I am thoroughly amazed. It is for these students that we have to impart science and technology education to bring out their potential and to give them the confidence to compete globally. We have to educate our students to face problems of the kind we are not even aware of today. Technology is on an exponential rise. Our students should be able to go out into such a world equipped with technological knowhow to face the challenges that are to come. The internet has become an integral part of our lives”. Now having taken this course I would like to say that I am an immigrant who has adapted to the change in technology and to be honest loves it.
The most important requirements for effective science education are believed to be creativity and innovation skills, critical thinking, problem solving and finally communication and collaborative skills. I would have probably gone to my traditional way of teaching with simple technological use. Now I have a totally different perspective to science learning. Mainly for the laboratory sessions. The IB curriculum for example requires 60 hours of lab to be completed in a span of two years (Seems long but looking at the number of holidays and the fact that the mock exams are in March of the second year, this is really not sufficient time). I often find myself running short of time and trying to squeeze in additional classes that are an added stress to both my students and me. I am really fascinated by wikis and voicethread and I am sure that this coming year is going to help me find more time in the class for more discussions and reviews since most of the lab discussions and brainstorming could be done by using the above mentioned tools outside of the classroom.
I would like to quote a few of my classmates` (in the course) views and I share their judgment.
I am not here to debate whether or not technology should be a part of our classrooms (implementing it into my lesson plans was a requirement in my college education program). In fact, I'm quite the fan of using it and am really excited to improve my own know-how”. How true. I have realized that use of technology goes beyond teaching and true to say I have become a fan also. Not only does it serve its purpose in teaching, it helps me communicate so widely.
Another quote that voices my thoughts “I know I need to help provide my students the resources and tools that are necessary for them to be successful in the 21st Century. I look forward to the challenge and the task!”
Yet another “Make a strict point of considering three things when implementing technology into the classroom. Those are pedagogy, technology and content. I think that the author has a fantastic point of making sure that you as the teacher understand and can articulate all three of these areas in order to better serve your students”.
I think that most of us have common facts to say regarding technology and webtools.
Whether or not you are a fan or follower of Twitter, Facebook, blogging, podcasting, Flicker, and many others, Web2.0 and social networking is here to stay!
• Technology enables communication between related parties way beyond any other source.
• Students love it. It is evolving and dynamic and they love change.(so do we)
• Technology saves time. Serves a vital role in dealing with matters of emergency.
• Technology makes learning easier, authentic. (online simulations, online data). Visualizing (say 3D abstract concepts) helps understanding of theory well.
• Technology helps build rapport between teachers and students. Though I still call myself an immigrant in this world of technology, my students are going to love if I respond to them in social networking sites.
• I am sure they will learn better and have more time for discussion (say a project) outside of the classroom.
• Technology connects the intellect in people than physically connecting them. With students it gives them time to think and be more creative , eliminate errors as much as possible.(wikis)

To summarize I can say that I am glad I took this course. My intention in the course of this year is not only to get students involved but also introduce a few of the webtools to my fellow teachers in my school as well.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Final Project!!

My project is a `Laser diffraction` lab for higher level Physics students. This project focuses on the webtools wikis and voicethread and the use of online simulations and youtubes that could assist in doing a well informed complete laboratory work. I plan to have a wiki created for each of the labs that my students have to do this year.Brainstorming sessions and classroom discussions are time consuming. By using wikis and other support webtools, I am sure I can save a lot of class time.
Here, the project that guides the student through a complete lab on Laser diffraction is made primarily on a wiki
Once you are on the wiki there are links to voicethread, online simulation and youtubes in the various sections of the lab such as background knowledge, recommended reading/watching to name a few. I have also included a task in which students have to make a poster using Glogster for the experimental setup of the lab.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Google docs and Collaborize

This week I explored Google docs and Collaborize. I have a google mail account and in all these years I have not used or browsed through the google doc features. With google docs you can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations and upload files. Google docs helps to share and collaborate. You can safely store and organize the data and your work. You have control on who can see your documents. I think it is another good tool of use in the classroom because there is a lot that can be communicated to students easily. I tried the presentation features.
The youtube videos in the webtools lessons were very informative.
Collaborize seems to be another tool to promote class discussions and save time. I have opened an account with democrasoft and possibly use it sometime in the future. As of now I would like to use wikis, blogs, glogster and Voicethread this coming year and I am exploring them extensively. My final project for this course is also a combination of these.
Collaborize has similar features to Voicethread. It is also an online discussion forum that will help students to discuss topics. They will have time to think and be creative and take part in some fruitful discussion. They could collaborate group projects effectively. It also has provision for the teacher to load videos and documents.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Discussions and Many Thanks!

After the discussion I have come to the conclusion that many of us found this course very useful, engaging and informative.
I summarize below a few of the points that most of us agree on
•Opened avenues for collaborative possibilities of teaching and learning by connecting students to other students, and students to their teachers outside of school.
•We have learnt to incorporate extensive data on the Internet into classroom activities.
•Increase number of opportunities for students on the internet via simulations and online data.
•Introduce more “inquiry” activities in the classroom
I especially like the sentence about using technology as a hook.
•Use technology to expose students to how scientists think. With say TED talks that are a great resource for students to hear scientists talk about their research, without actually having to be there.
•(I like this one) Developing a collaborative science project that students from across the world could complete online.
•Exposed us to web tools out there for use in the classroom.
•We could provide genuine extension opportunities for students who need a challenge be able to push students to their full potential.
•Technology can be used as a tool for differentiation.
•Most of us were familiar with blogs and wikis(I was not, now I love them!).This course gave us the time to explore at our leisure and reflect on our readings and webtools skills a lot.
•Exposed us to the abundant wealth in the world of computers and internet. The course was an eyeo pening experience.
As for me I reiterate my reflections that I have put on my discussion post. The course has been the most rewarding. I am looking forward to using a few of the tools this coming year.
I used to eagerly look forward to the MSSE webtools sessions, reading the blogs written by my classmates and trying to contribute. To be honest at times I used to look at a few blog posts and get apprehensive about how I am going to use the tools as efficiently as they have used them. There are a few tools like digital storytelling and TEDx of which I am not very comfortable with and plan to revisit. I would definitely say that the new academic year is going to be different for me. I am going to use blogs, wikis,voicethread, jing and glogster in my classes in addition to online simulations and online data that I now use. I have decided to keep a blog for my class updates and make sure students have access to it.
Many thanks to Dr. Brunsell and all my classmates!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Voicethread again!

I have revisited Voicethread this week. This is one of the tools that I am interested in using this coming academic year. This is a Voicethread attempt for a labwork for my IB Physics students. For now I have typed my comments but intend using audio also.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Blogs and Wikis

I have enjoyed blogging and reading my fellow classmates` blog posts in the these weeks of the Webtools course. So naturally blogging about blogs is interesting.
There are a few points that I have noted after reading the article in D2L.
Blogging can provide many opportunities to increase student interactions and create more dynamic assignment. (What I do currently with my class is send them an email on weekends titled` Weekend thoughts and reminders`. Now I could have a classroom blog where my students and I could be in constant interaction. They will also be able to collaborate and interact with their classmates).
Science education blogs can serve as a powerful digital lab notebook that contain text, images and videos (often for most of the topics, I post online web simulations, animations and interactive quizzes etc. on my teacher web page or send an email. Science education blogs will give the students the opportunity to explore and read a wealth of information and comments from like minded people).

Purpose should be including connections between course content and current events.(I see a lot of benefits in classroom blogs. Students are given the freedom to be creative, do their own research on a topic and share views . So there are chances of course content and current events getting connected. Students can work together and communicate well in a group project. The teacher could also add comments and provide necessary guidance at the same time).
Protecting student privacy: This is very important in today`s world. Monitoring blogs is also essential since the viewers of the blogs are widespread. Students should be made aware that it is a public forum and there is an amount of discipline to be maintained.

I have explored Wiki this week. Wish I had done so earlier. This is another tool that I would like to experiment with my higher level Physics classes this year.
I have created a Wiki and I could use it for my IB-AP Physics students. (It is in the very early stages though).

The similarity between blogs and wikis are that both are easy to use , accessible to students and provide a platform where students can interact with each other, collaborate on a group work and critically appraise each other`s work.
The major difference between the two would be that Wiki`s provide the students the chance to sit together (not necessarily in the classroom or in the same place)and team up for a fine piece of work and display that work. The task can be completed simultaneously as they are discussing the details because they could make changes directly on the wiki.

Wikis provide occasions to build connections beyond the classroom walls. As in blogs, on could invite people outside of the class to edit wikis. A major group project can be completed successfully with wikis.

I am really impressed by the work of Ms Luann Lee and her students in Orting Washington. Students obviously get more interested and excited when they are given the freedom to create and explore.
Very true that students can create online posters, virtual museum exhibits or even create e- textbooks on a class wiki. In wikis too, students should be careful not to reveal their identity. Classroom blogs and Wikis maybe combined with the other tools to improve science learning.