Jul 9, 2020 - 8 min read - 1,238 views
A Day of Virtual PD in the Age of Virtual Learning: ScIC3 Unconference presented by PocketLab
StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Chuck Nice answering Cosmic Queries - Neil started his cosmic query StarTalk with a question on nurturing students' curiosity through distance learning. He responded by saying that you need to "put things out in front of the students for which there is no obvious answer", then you help them dig and dig further and allow students to wonder about the answer without just handing it to them. He emphasizes treating even well-known answers to questions as an unknown exploration for your students as they are learning. Lead your students through their own natural curiosity in their learning.
Another great question Neil was asked was: How do we need to modify our learning now that students have so much more information yet less guidance? The conversation around that mainly focused on how assessing source reliability needs to be a major part of our curriculum. He discussed how we teachers need to try to find a way to separate the objective reality from the bias and agenda ridden information that is so easily accessible. Especially now that there is not really a built-in filter and fact-checker into our information system as there used to be when information came from physically published and vetted sources. He finished his answer by saying
"a search engine is the ideal way to confirm any belief you have... no matter what the belief is".
PocketLab presentation by Clifton Roozeboom: Amazing sensors that can be used for a variety of hands-on lab investigations. These sensors are easy to use and connect to phones to gather data. The PocketLab site shows tons of investigation examples and resources. these do cost a bit, so if there are grants or donors choose options available to you in the future they are absolutely worth checking out!
Jason Lindsey aka "Mr. Science" with Hooked on Science - Jason always has an amazing presentation with easy to replicate demos or labs you can do with your students. He demonstrated some "Back to School" science experiments that can be done with students. He only used common household supplies that most students would have at home or are reasonably priced.
DataClassroom - It's a data world. Teach kids to work with real data in grades 6-12 and beyond. This was very cool real-life virtual experiments that take students through what quality data analysis looks like. This is a very valuable resource to teach critical math and data skills. Has some cost to it.
There was a National STEM Pannel that I missed while I was taking care of lunch and putting my daughter down for her nap. Sorry!
LabXchange - This was a resource that made me stop everything else I was trying to do and send my district science specialist an email about it immediately. Created by a team at Harvard Arts and Sciences, its functionality and content are unmatched. Teachers can create personalized Online Learning pathways for their individual students or classes they set up. You can choose from 1000's of verified and quality resources including, texts, videos, STEM career narratives, interactive simulations, etc. Not only can you make customized "lists" for your students from their content, but you can also add your own documents, videos, or assessment questions! The content available right now is mostly geared towards high school+ biology, but they are just getting started and hoping to expand into NGSS in the future! The best part is that LabXchange is 100% free. The presenter/ founder Dr. Robert Lue said
"I am tired of free stuff being not that great... Free should be awesome and we have the resources in this world to make it happen"
Killer Snails - Cool games for younger biology students. Their top game BioDive has AR and a lot of interactive features students would love. Killer Snails is currently offering free licenses for BioDive due to the Covid-19 pandemic through September 2020, you should check it out before then.
Foldscope - Exploring the Microcosmos with Foldscope. These small "paperlike" microscopes were created to make science more accessible and work remarkably well. They can be purchased relatively cheap to be shared with your students, even if they are at home for a while.
American Museum of Natural History OLogy Resource - OLogy from the American Museum of Natural History - is a great resource for K-8 activities. They highlight various fields of study (ology) and provide content, games, and hands-on learning lessons. This is another completely free resource. Their platform is focused on game and student-based learning and is super fun. Their goal is to connect students with phenomena that will lead them to explain theories. They also have an "ask a scientist" series where students submit questions to real scientists and get video response answers.
Nearpod: This is a WONDERFUL tool for getting students to engage in physical classrooms and it is a lifesaver when having to convert your lessons to a virtual format. NearPod is easy to use with students no matter what the platform or LMS you use because all you have to do is send them a link and a code and they are in. You have options to record audio over your imported slides, add embedded videos, quizzes, matching, drawing and so many other assessment and interactive features. You can have students work through the Nearpod with you or self-paced and either way you get real-time data of work progress and comprehension. If you do not know about Nearpod your should look into it. There is a paid version that a lot of counties are subscribing to for their teachers, but you can still do a lot with their free format.