My school is implementing a 1:1 strategy in our science department for high school age students starting next year. Teachers and students will no longer adopt textbooks and will instead use Moodle to build courses that are more current. Unfortunately, our science department are not exactly "willing" participants in this process.
Because I have been teaching in a 1:1 classroom for seven years and spent one of those years training teachers in implementing 1:1 around the state, my administration has asked me to train these science teachers (I teach English). I want to be able to connect these teachers to some of the best online tools and resources available, so I was hoping that a few of the science teachers already doing this have any "must use" suggestions that I can work with before I train these teachers.
Any suggestions you can provide will be very much appreciated! Thank you!
It sounds like you work in a forward thinking district. A format like that is especially effective in a science classroom, collaboration is a key technique for science. While I am not currently a science teacher and work almost exclusively in higher education I am an online science educator. As such I see and use a great deal of resources that might be helpful for you. My areas of competency are physics, math and chemistry (in order of preference) so I will restrict the references to physics and chemistry:
I find the Chemical Equation Calculator incredibly useful for tutoring purposes.
The ChemIDplus advanced site is the best place I know of to get up to date and insanely detailed information about almost any chemical.
Hyperphysics Concepts is one of the things that got me through my undergraduate degree, it is crammed full of everything that you would need for high school physics and then some.
Hopefully one or more of these links will prove useful. Have an awesome day!
I teach middle school science. Our district just adopted curriculum that has a LOT of digital resources. We insisted on this as we have a lot of transiency and absenteeism in our district. The thing we love most about our new curriculum is... the online textbook with all associated resources available to be added to our own websites (some are using Moodle, some are using Schoology).
If your science teachers are not using inquiry based curriculum, your best bet is to push the online textbook/tradebooks. Tell them they can use ExamView to put quizzes/exams online with immediate feedback, etc. Assignments are easier to maintain on an LMS and if they use notebooks or journaling, the only paper used will be in the notebook.
We're a tough nut to crack, but it can be done!
I think that is great. Can the students help make a textbook? Can they use a wiki to collaborate on topics covered. I would love to have faculty at my community college do the same. I tried to implement a website like this for our science (biology is my area) teachers to collaborate and discuss things in our department. No one joined and I cancelled all of my hard work.
I use blogs and wikis with my students. I had one class develop a lab safety manual. It came out ok- nothing I would use but some students made videos and they really enjoyed the process.
I do have links for biology.
Here is some virtual labs http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/vlabs/index.html
http://www.ck12.org/flexbook/ This is actually a textbook that is free to use and modify.
They can record a lecture and do a podcast. There are also whiteboard apps that they can use to draw on.
I would really encourage them to have students help with the process as that will make them feel good about doing the work as well as they will probably learn better.
I think your school is fantastic and I really wish I could encourage my fellow faculty to do this but so many believe the lecture and textbook are the only way to learn and that is so untrue.
You really need someone like an instructional designer to help you so that they develop good activities in Moodle.
Get another partner in the school so you aren't the only one pushing this on the science teachers. If the school isn't spending the $ on textbooks and is making the teachers also become textbook designers and authors, at least get the media specialist to help with finding things for them. She may have some instructional design expertise as well to help in structuring this. Can the media specialist help in acquiring materials for the science classes, databases or online resources that they can use? Is she already paying for things they don't know about? Does the district or state license any online materials? What are online subscriptions to science-oriented magazines or other things that students can read/interact with? You need to know what good ingredients you have to start with, and this is something media specialists can do very powerfully. She doesn't even have to be a 1:1 specialist to be very helpful here.
I would ask the school to pay the membership fee for all science teachers in NSTA and thus get them into the NSTA online community (open only to NSTA members), as that would be the most powerful place for them to find subject-specific help. Chemistry, AP Chemistry, etc. The school needs to support the teachers in doing the best job they can!
Can the science administrator in the district office help at all with suggesting starting points and resources, pointing to schools who have done something like this well?
If you have a university with science ed program nearby, call and ask for help from them too. The instructional design is really critical and often neglected. We know so much today about how kids learn, how to organize information in print and other media, but I doubt that was covered in any of the science classes (biology, chemistry, physics) at the university, and might not have been in the few science ed courses. It's a shame to reinvent the wheel and not use the best of what is out there. The tradeoff might be that a grad student needs a place to do some research for a master's thesis, but that's a small price to pay to get some intelligent help. They might be less reluctant with a science educator understanding their issues of safety, hands-on learning in the lab, etc.
NASA Education http://education.nasa.gov has lots of great resources, and some of those are in Spanish too. (That's an issue where I live.)
I'd look at BrainPOP to see whether this would be an easy entry point for the lower level readers/ELL students in the high school. One huge issue in high school science in differentiation of instruction is student reading level. Science content tends to skew to high readability scores or more difficult reading level. Longer sentences and words with more syllables make it a higher reading level. The average grade 9 classroom will have a range of 10 reading levels...say from gr. 4 to grade 13. So you can't just ask kids to interact with content that is above gr. 9 and have success.
I would also want to have an online dictionary that said words aloud and gave examples, photos, even short video clips in defining some things. (If your school doesn't have that licensed, get it for all the students to use!)
See whether they would like to have collaborative data collection activities for some of the science classes too. For example, water samples are part of many high school science classes. Check out the ePals Water project, where you compare water in your community with other communities (in the US or in 199 other countries): http://bit.ly/ePalsH2O and other science projects: http://www.epals.com/projects (all these are free to use)
Check out online science resources from:
Smithsonian Institution: http://www.epals.com/projects/info.aspx?divid=smithsonian_home
National Geographic Kids: http://www.epals.com/projects/info.aspx?divid=Exploration_NatGeoKids
Encourage teachers to post best student work too: http://bit.ly/StMedia
What an amazing and helpful answer! Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Some of these links I have already posted for them, but I start the training tommorow, so your thoughts will definitely be passed on to our district curriculum director.
Again, many thanks for all you have shared here!