Dr. J. Lawrence Bencze – Associate Professor OISE, University of Toronto
Brandon Zoras ACL of Science, Cedarbrae CI
TDSB Eureka Conference, Friday February 15th 2013
Target: All Course Relevance Gr. 9-12
Room # – 242 KTL Ref: AM-S1.14
After a brief outline of theory surrounding promotion of student -led, primary research-informed, actions on STSE issues, practical classroom-tested examples will be shared. With issues, debates among powerful decision-makers are emphasized; with research, correlational studies are emphasized; with actions, IT- based ones are highlighted.
For more information visit http://stepwiser.ca
Our school has been involved in a lot of pilots and demonstration classrooms. I love working with technology where I can and especially sharing it with the students. We have been asked to document some of the technology and computer software that we use to enrich the science experience in our classes. Instead of listing a bunch of software we decided to demonstrate it being used for science.
Two problems exist when introducing new technology into a school. You need staff to buy into it, and also invest time in to not just learning it but to effectively integrate it into curriculum and the classroom. The novelty and experience should not be about the particular software/hardware itself but the learning experience of the subject. No one now brags about email or how they can type a word document. That is just a common tool like paper and pencil. These new technologies should fluidly be integrated where the students appreciate it but what they learn is the skill of that tool and the content. This allows them to apply this new skill to other applications, for both school and personal use.
A simple example, let’s look at a Prezi presentation. The students are the creators, not just consumers, where they can creatively communicate knowledge. Students can research an environmental issue and see how it affects certain groups of individuals. They then can use Prezi in other classes and for fun projects. The issue is when the teacher gets too caught up with Prezi itself and does not know how to pair it with a lesson. A teacher normally make brochures and just transfer the project from a paper to digital medium. This is a good first step, but sometimes the learning is more focused on the technology itself and not the content.
With the newest technology we need to move from consumer to creator. Instead of simple viewing of material we want technology to allow us to manipulate variables, allow for changes and publishing student ideas. Hope you enjoy the video and it gives you some ideas to apply technology in your classroom or workplace. It features 2 other teachers from our school as well.
I was offered a spot to take place in a project with Global Teenager Project (GTP http://www.globalteenager.org/) with my science class this semester from my Vice Principal and Anita Townsend representing GTP. The project uses wikis, learning circles and research to answer global questions. Our theme was the environmental sustainability and we were in a collaboration with Kenya, two other Toronto schools, Liberia, Ghana, two from Romania, and Hungary. Students first introduced themselves and shared information about their community and culture. The main mode of communication was on a wiki. This allowed for a fluid and collaborative platform. Questions were formulated by each group that were later to be answered by each country.
Upon emailing the Chavakali High School, we decided to try a Skype video call between the students to introduce each other and then have a further session to discuss our questions revolving around sustainability. Ms Sugai is the teacher in charge of the tech club who is from JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency).
The Skype session was one of the most engaging activities I have seen students participate in. Both groups high school students realized how similar they actually are, including school, sports, music tastes and food. We also shared our traditional aspects of our cultures that each group had a rich diversity and strong interest in each other.
This laid the foundation for our next session where we will go in more depth about environmental sustainability. This is such an amazing way to view the environment as a global issue. Students can see that students in another continent are concerned about the environment and are just as worried about the health of our planet. The youth are the next wave of people to make a major difference as they can educate their parents, make smarter choices now and develop a way of life that is sustainable.
Follow the Wiki below