Project End Point

The module on solutions that I am building in still incomplete. There are a total of 5 lessons and I have worked on 3 of the 5 thus far. I do intend to finish the module. My classes study solutions in late April so I have time to continue looking for virtual lab activities to enhance the learning experience. Over the weekend I found a great virtual activity that ties together lessons 3 and 4. I included this virtual activity link in lesson 4 and am putting together a lab sheet to go with the activity so that the students will have a good lab report to review prior to the unit test. If this class was entirely online the students would be keeping a lab journal throughout the course. In developing these lessons I realized how much instruction I give verbally in class/in lab and how much clarification I provide as I circulate during lab. It takes quite a bit of time to provide detailed instructions as the students won’t have me by their side to answer any questions.

As for feedback, I would like to know whether the sequence of lessons seems logical. I would also like to know whether the directions are clear and concise. I always look forward to any feedback. The remaining feedback will come from my students when I beta test this with them in the spring. Adults tend to read directions before proceeding where students turn to the data chart and wonder why they can’t figure out what to do next.

Lastly, in developing our modules I had a goal of building something useful for my class. I also wanted to integrate technology as 21st century learning goals push students towards more virtual learning and analysis of data. I do think that what I have built to date has pushed me in this direction. I have stretched myself in terms of using virtual applications while spending hours looking for newer and better activities than I have used in the past. If the goal for developing our modules was personal growth, planning lessons in the digital world, and sharing with others I feel as though I have done a good job.

Final Reflection

Having used Schoology last year with my students I felt as though I had moved somewhat into the world of online teaching. My course is definitely not an online program but I do try to weave aspects of online learning into the class. Using Twitter and blogs are tools that I would not have thought about utilizing in my course. I never went back to the Feedly account once we started working on our modules. Using these different communication methods stretched me the most this semester. It’s not the technology that I find challenging. I am not one to share my thoughts publicly very often so writing blog posts and tweets at first felt like formal assignments. As time went on I did become more comfortable with writing blog posts and tweets. I’m not sure how I would use these tools with my students as they don’t see social media as a means of instruction. With the Schoology platform many online tools can be found in one location making things less disjointed for my students.

When researching the historical and conceptual foundations of eLearning I found that much of this was just sound teaching practice. Teaching presence, cognitive presence and social presence should be integrated within any learning environment whether it be face-to-face or online. I do believe that the way in which we structure lessons and activities helps the student move from essential content knowledge to application of key principles. The Community of Inquiry website was helpful in that so much information was linked to the one website and much of it was written for a general population audience. I enjoyed reading about MOOCs, self-regulated learning but articles about lesson design and instructor roles seemed redundant as these are skills that I have worked on for many years in the face-to-face environment. At least these articles did confirm and support what I do in the classroom each day.

When designing the online module I felt the most comfortable as this is my strength. The TPack lesson plan had me consider other aspects of lesson planning that are unique to online learning. Planning online lessons requires you to focus very carefully on the flow of the lessons and on dialogue between the students along with feedback from the instructor. I did enjoy receiving feedback about my module from colleagues as they teach the same content as myself. It would have been nice to be in these assigned groups from the very beginning. I had the necessary experience to comment on someone’s lesson design where I did not feel as confident responding to blog posts about content that was new to me.

Lastly, the emerging technologies, such as virtual reality, are always a challenging part of teaching. The technologies develop so quickly now that I always feel as though I am one step behind my students. It would have been nice to be exposed to these emerging technologies before the end of the course. Teaching roles and lesson design could have been condensed somewhat allowing for more time to explore new technologies.

Virtual Reality in an Online Classroom

Virtual Reality for me was synonymous with video game technology until I watched Jeremy Bailenson’s talk on the use of virtual reality in education. I felt that touching and manipulating objects in lab was a much better form of instruction. His discussion about sensing the movements of students as an indicator of understanding was amazing or focusing on each student through your avatar and a kinect system. Then when he talked mentioned a virtual scuba diving trip I was reminded of the movie “Fantastic Voyage”. How neat would it be to take my students on a virtual trip of the atom on an atomic scale? The possibilities are endless as long as the software has been developed.

Now for the downside, as with any technology it all comes down to access. The Google cardboard was intriguing but you need a smartphone. We still have plenty of students without reliable access to internet and smartphones. Would this be cost prohibitive for a public K-12 school system? Will this be used mostly at a post-secondary level? In business? How do we prepare our students for the 21st century VR experience if the technology is changing so rapidly? How long can a student use the system before taking a break? Lots of unknowns but exciting potential!

What to do with MOOCs? Hmm……

My initial reaction, at the beginning of the course when we were first exposed to MOOCs, was that these courses offer a means of providing lifelong learning opportunities with access to experts in their respective fields. As with much of what we have researched pertaining to online education I find that MOOCs are designed for a more mature audience. As Zemesky writes less than 4% of students complete their MOOC. I cannot see most high school students learning for the sake of learning. They are very grade driven. In both the Zemesky article and the MacDonald /Ahern study the question of quantifiable learning is discussed. This, for me, is the greatest drawback to using a MOOC as educational option in K-12 education. My other concern is the sharing of incorrect information from student to student as much of the course interaction/feedback occurs between students and often very little, if any, between student and teacher.

As for transforming my course module into a MOOC, I’m not sure. I do feel as though my module design has a very structured flow, requires minimal background knowledge and connects to real-world concepts at the end. There are some aspects of MOOCs in the module as there are planned lessons with video introductions, discussion questions and limited assessments where all work is due using a relatively flexible schedule. I still plan on face-to-face lab time and discussion as I do not feel as though laboratory science is best learned in an online format.

Current Project Status – Solutions Unit

At this point 2 of my 5 lessons are finalized and a 3rd is well underway. My goal is to finish 3 lessons completely before the end of the course. I will finish the rest of the unit after exams as I do plan on using this module in the spring. I am very pleased with the flow of the module and the virtual activities that I selected to use. I look forward to student feedback at the end of the module!

Final Plan

As I work through the module I hope to finish 3 of the 5 lessons before the end of the semester. I do not teach solutions until the springtime so I have time in which to finish the rest of the module. I do plan on finishing it at a later date as this will be very useful during AP testing when many students are in and out of class. This is a concept that students could learn in an online format without much difficulty.

As for feedback, I want to know whether my lessons seem to be an appropriate length for students to do for homework when they miss class. In my original time breakdown some lessons were coupled together, but I encouraged students to take notes as they watch the video which requires more time. Based on previous feedback I do believe that the flow of the lessons is solid.

Final TPack Lesson

Title:  Colligative Properties of Solutions

Grade Level/Subject:  11th Grade Chemistry

Lesson Description:  In this lesson the students will be studying the following colligative properties of solutions:  freezing point depression, boiling point elevation and vapor pressure.  The students will begin with a video introduction where key concepts are introduced.  They will then work through a virtual lab that allows them to manipulate variables and study their impact on the various colligative properties of solutions.  Lastly, the students will investigate colligative properties in everyday life.

The main Content (C) of this lesson is the relationship between the number of particles dissolved in solution and their colligative properties.

The main Pedagogy (P) of this lesson is inquiry based learning through virtual experimentation.

The main Technology (T) of this lesson is video introduction via computer followed by a virtual lab activity.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)    

Describe:  Solutions are something that students have exposure to every day yet they have a difficult time visualizing what is taking place in a solution.  The inquiry lab is designed so that the students can manipulate the many variables that impact the colligative properties of solutions (i.e. boiling point, freezing point, vapor pressure).  Inquiry learning allows the student to collect and analyze data just as they would in a classroom lab.  The video introduction gives them the necessary background to understand  each of the variables prior to manipulating them in the virtual lab.  If time permits, the students will run a solutions lab in class where a group discussion will take place at the end.  Lastly, having the students investigate the role of colligative properties in their daily lives, their assessment,  leads to greater retention and a deeper understanding of the content.

Support:  Virtual labs provide students with many benefits. The simulations are interactive exercises which help students integrate multiple concepts, increase retention and provide motivation for learning. (Chu, 1999)  Many simulations have a game-like appeal that also increase motivation and retention. Students have the freedom to investigate the variables in a variety of combinations.

Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)      

Describe:  The videos chosen allow for the lesson to offer a 2-fold approach.  The first video is brief but introduces the key terminology that will be applied in the second video and the virtual lab.  The students will need to have a working knowledge of the key terms before attempting the virtual lab.  The second video essentially acts as a pre-lab for the virtual simulation.  The Iowa State virtual lab allows students to experiment and create a visual representation of what is taking place on a very small scale within a solution.

Support:  Being able to model what is happening in a real-life lab helps to prepare students for a time when they actually work in a Chemistry lab.  (Delgamo, 2009)  Any program that helps to make a concept more concrete leads to a deeper understanding of the content.   

Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)   

Having the students build a working vocabulary and model the concept prior to working in lab always makes the lab experience more meaningful.  Modeling concepts allows the students to explain what is taking place on a microscopic scale which in turn explains what they are seeing on a macroscopic level.  The virtual lab experience allows for learning on a synthesis level.  An inquiry experience, such as virtual labs, requires the student to collect data, analyze it and then predict changes based on their experiences.  Students learn how to integrate content and hands-on learning.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) 

Solutions are something that students come in contact with on a daily basis.  We cover this topic in the spring when students are taking AP exams and often miss class.  Having the students take notes on the videos is the first exposure to the key terms in this lesson.  Using those same terms in the virtual lab helps the students to be able to visualize the structure of a solution.  Lastly, deeper learning takes place when the students are asked to research and explain how colligative properties pertain to real world products.

References:

Chu, K. C. (n.d.). What are the benefits of a virtual laboratory for student learning? HERDSA Annual International Conference, Melbourne, 12-15 July 1999 (pp. 1-9).

Delgamo, B., Bishop, A. G., Adlong, W., & Bedgood, D. R., Jr. (2009, June 16). Effectiveness of a Virtual Laboratory as a preparatory resource for Distance Education chemistry students. Retrieved November 04, 2016, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S036013150900116X

Self Regulated Learning in Online Courses

In the module that I have developed on Solutions I do think that self-regulated learning will have to be addressed at the beginning of the module and will most likely continue on-off until the module due date arrives.  Most of my students don’t  self-regulated their learning in a face-to-face class so why would I expect them to do so in an online environment.  As the students begin the module I plan on providing the them  with a rubric as to how the work will be evaluated .  To me the rubric helps the students with goal setting.  Not all students seek to earn an A so they will able to determine what is the minimum amount of work required to pass.  Students also need to be reminded to submit early and often as technology is not perfect.  I also feel as though the students should be required to show some evidence of learning after they have watched online video presentations.  Too often students “watch” a video with very little focus and attention to detail.  This creates an opportunity for me to provide feedback long before they reach the application of content in the virtual lab.  Lastly, students need to be reminded to make the content their own.  Print out notes and highlight them or summarize them in a concept map.  Don’t be so passive during the learning process.

As the students work through the module they will need prompting to seek out help from the instructor or their peers when reaching the problem solving portion .  I say this as I have pushed them all year to ask for help, ask questions, discuss results with lab partners, etc., as many students see themselves as a silent island.  They become frustrated as tasks become more difficult but refuse to seek clarification and assistance.  Those students who routinely seek help self regulate and adjust their strategy for solving the problem go on to be very successful.  At the high school level you will have clusters of students who have developed the skills for self-regulated learning but most are clearly not ready to be successful in an online course.  So the question remains, at what point in a student’s educational path do we identify the necessary skills for SRL so that students will do well in any type of learning environment?  or do the students need to be more mature before addressing concepts such as self-assessment?

 

TPack -2: The Journey Continues

Title:  Colligative Properties of Solutions

Grade Level/Subject:  11th Grade Chemistry

Lesson Description:  In this lesson the students will be studying the following colligative properties of solutions:  freezing point depression, boiling point elevation and vapor pressure.  The students will begin with a video introduction where key concepts are introduced.  They will then work through a virtual lab that allows them to manipulate variables and study their impact on the various colligative properties of solutions.  Lastly, the students will investigate colligative properties in everyday life.

The main Content (C) of this lesson is the relationship between the number of particles dissolved in solution and their colligative properties.

The main Pedagogy (P) of this lesson is inquiry based learning through virtual experimentation.

The main Technology (T) of this lesson is video introduction via computer followed by a virtual lab activity.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)    

Describe:  Solutions are something that students have exposure to every day yet they have a difficult time visualizing what is taking place in a solution.  The inquiry lab is designed so that the students can manipulate the many variables that impact the colligative properties of solutions (i.e. boiling point, freezing point, vapor pressure).  Inquiry learning allows the student to collect and analyze data just as they would in a classroom lab.  The video introduction gives them the necessary background to understand the each of the variables prior to manipulating them in the virtual lab.  If time permits, the students will run a solutions lab in class where a group discussion will take place at the end.  Lastly, having the students investigate the role of colligative properties in their daily lives, their assessment,  leads to greater retention and a deeper understanding of the content.

Support:  Virtual labs provide students with many benefits. The simulations are interactive exercises which help students integrate multiple concepts, increase retention and provide motivation for learning. (Chu, 1999)  Many simulations have a game-like appeal that also increase motivation and retention. Students have the freedom to investigate the variables in a variety of combinations.

Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)      

Describe:  The videos chosen allow for the lesson to offer a 2-fold approach.  The first video is brief but introduces the key terminology that will be applied in the second video and the virtual lab.  The students will need to have a working knowledge of the key terms before attempting the virtual lab.  The second video essentially acts as a pre-lab for the virtual simulation.  The Iowa State virtual lab allows students to experiment and create a visual representation of what is taking place on a very small scale within a solution.

Support:  Being able to model what is happening in a real-life lab helps to prepare students for a time when they actually work in a Chemistry lab.  (Delgamo, 2009)  Any program that helps to make a concept more concrete leads to a deeper understanding of the content.   

Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)   

Having the students build a working vocabulary and model the concept prior to working in lab always makes the lab experience more meaningful.  Modeling concepts allows the students to explain what is taking place on a microscopic scale which in turn explains what they are seeing on a macroscopic level.  The virtual lab experience allows for learning on a synthesis level.  An inquiry experience, such as virtual labs, requires the student to collect data, analyze it and then predict changes based on their experiences.  Students learn how to integrate content and hands-on learning.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) 

Solutions are something that students come in contact with on a daily basis.  We cover this topic in the spring when students are taking AP exams and often miss class.  Having the students take notes on the videos is the first exposure to the key terms in this lesson.  Using those same terms in the virtual lab helps the students to be able to visualize the structure of a solution.  Lastly, deeper learning takes place when the students are asked to research and explain how colligative properties pertain to real world products.

References:

Chu, K. C. (n.d.). What are the benefits of a virtual laboratory for student learning? HERDSA Annual International Conference, Melbourne, 12-15 July 1999 (pp. 1-9).

Delgamo, B., Bishop, A. G., Adlong, W., & Bedgood, D. R., Jr. (2009, June 16). Effectiveness of a Virtual Laboratory as a preparatory resource for Distance Education chemistry students. Retrieved November 04, 2016, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S036013150900116X

Theory and Practice of eLearning – Activities

As I read through the activities list it was interesting to find that I have already incorporated several of the suggested activities into my module outline.  There are key terms that are necessary for the students to master in order to understand the mathematical formulas that they will be testing in the virtual lab.  Quizlet is great way for them to study these terms in a variety of electronic formats.  Most often the students find that sets of flash cards on their topic already exist on Quizlet. A large part of my learning module has students solving problems as there are many mathematical relationships that the students will investigate.   At the end of the module the students will be writing about real-life examples of solution concepts.  They may include images or short videos as part of their example.  Once they upload their examples I will have the students peer edit their work before I grade it.  As of now I plan to have the students peer edit in class.  The students already have lab partners and table mates so their peer editing partners are set.  Lastly, I use concept mapping quite often when bringing unit concepts together.  It is a great way to determine whether students are making the necessary connections within the content.  If time allows I would like to do this in class as I would like to have students share their maps at the end of the activity.  If not, I can assign it online.  What I always point out to the students are the different ways in which we bring concepts together in our minds.  We rarely make these connections using the same pathway but we arrive at a common end point.

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