Thursday, March 26, 2015

Stop Motion Science

Using stop-motion video is a great way to press into our creative sides.  Using a free iPad app you can create a story with inanimate objects.  When you link it to the curriculum, it is great practice for students because it pulls not only from their knowledge-base of what they understand, but also into their creativity and sequencing.  Sequencing and understanding processes is a big part of many different subject areas, especially science.  Solon High School science teacher, Jenny Boldt, experiment with this idea, allowing her students to create review videos about the complicated science processes of fission and fusion.  

Check out what they created below.

The student’s creativity shines through these videos.  The added bonus for students is the timing of the video project, just before a test.  Since Mrs. Boldt assigned the video project before the exam, students could review and discuss the videos as a different way of studying for a test!  All of the different approaches the students took with their videos help students to see and remember the complicate science processes in a whole new way.  

- Contribution from Amber Bridge, Grant Wood AEA Technology Consultant. Want to share what is going on in your class or collaborate on a technology project?  Feel to to contact me

Monday, March 9, 2015

Are you in the zone?

Physical Education is probably the most overlooked area when it comes to thinking about technology in the classroom.  However, if we look at how our society has evolved, it is hard to look anywhere without seeing someone wearing a Fitbit or heart-rate monitor to track their daily activity.  At Solon High School, PE Teacher, Kevin Miller, incorporates Polar heart rate monitors in his class to gain a new perspective on how hard his students are working in his classroom. Where most teachers are looking at test scores, Mr. Miller is looking at heart rates as his data point in the classroom. Mr. Miller sets up specific lessons for his class through the use of heart rate monitors and the Polar Go Fit app, which is designed to enhance your PE class.

All students were active and participating in the lesson.  Mr. Miller was able to do quick formative assessment checks during the lesson to see how his students are performing.  Students were even working their way up to the iPad to check on their own status during their lesson.  This program creates a great accountability piece for students and parents can log into the program to see the student’s fitness history.  

My favorite part was at the end of the lesson, students came over for a student conference with Mr. Miller on their status during the lesson.  The program synthesizes the data collected from the monitors and creates an average heart rate and percentage in their target zone during the lesson.  It is a great way for Mr. Miller to have an authentic and reflective conversation with the students about their performance compared to their past history.  A great way to build relationships with them and celebrate successes!  

This is the second year that PE classes have had heart rate monitors.  Mr. Miller works to incorporate them a couple of times a week in a variety of different lessons from circuit training to work out videos or free choice exercise.  Using all of these different models, students begin to recognize what exercises really get their heart working.  Students I talked with in class said that the heart rate monitors “definitely make them work harder,” and you can physically see the results of their efforts from their red faces and sweaty brows.  It is a great way to connect students with practical, real-world applications to build lifelong fitness.

- Contribution from Amber Bridge, Grant Wood AEA Technology Consultant. Want to share what is going on in your class or collaborate on a technology project?  Feel to to contact me