Internet Diagrams

September 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Posted in uncategorized | 3 Comments

Posted by George Haag

I was actually pretty inspired by the quality of images on the website flickr, and it got me thinking about how images are used to teach, particularly in science. Elementary science often uses arresting and compelling images like the ones on flickr to convey examples of scientifically investigated phenomena. Actual science is often visually aided by complex models, sometimes computer-aided. Secondary education is both cursed and blessed with what’s in between. I speak, of course, of the lowly science diagram. I decided to go looking for better science diagrams online, just to see what I could find. After only a little searching, I landed on this.  This education website has a collection of interactive diagrams, many of which relate to science. I played a mitosis labeling game, and could absolutely see it as an activity or assignment which I would use. It was brightly colored, engaging, and actually kinda fun, words that do not usually apply to a black-and-white worksheet. What other ways could technology impact and improve that most ancient of institutions, the homework assignment?

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  1. Hey George,
    I have also noticed that science diagrams can often be less than engaging for students. It is often a challenge for teachers to make a “lowly science diagram,” something students actually want to use. The website you found is one of many that seek to make science more engaging, interactive, and fun. One other site I like is BioED online. It has teacher resources, as well as student resources. It’s worth checking out.
    In answer to your question of, “What other ways could technology impact and improve that most ancient of institutions, the homework assignment?” I suggest making a class website. I took a course this summer called Three Areas of Technology where we learned about various forms of technology, and more importantly how design websites to aid in teaching. In the class, we designed labs and group projects that were put on websites that allowed students to work on them from anywhere. We designed these websites to be engaging and fun, while still fostering learning and discovery. In short, you may want to look into web design, and making a websites for your future students in order incorporate more technology into the classroom. The website could also have homework assignments and useful web links on it.

  2. I strongly believe that technology should have a big part of instruction in our classrooms and into the future. Ten to fifteen years ago there were minimal resources to use in a classroom to ideals and thoughts through technology. There were overheads, TV’s, and filmstrips. In today’s society almost all classrooms are equipped with SMART Boards, dvd players, dot cams, and other technology resources. The new wave of lessons is through technology. Our students are very tech savvy and we need to utilize this to help them learn more.
    In SMART Boards in the Classroom it states, “These boards increase the interactive atmosphere in the classroom which in return increases the learning experience”. This board allows teachers/students to manipulate class work; graphs and figures to show convey the lesson to the students. One of the major concepts in this article was that a SMART Board will be able to replace a textbook in the future. Teachers will be able to pull a page from the book up on the SMART Board and teach off of that instead of lugging a big heavy textbook around. A SMART Board also can help students with their homework. A teacher can save the class notes from that day to the computer and they can either print it out for a student missing or they can upload the notes to a classroom website or blog. SMART Boards and new technology have made it easier for the teacher to present new material.
    I have a SMART Board in my classroom and I love using it. My students can follow along easily and they are very eager to come up to the board to do work. This new device gets my students more active and wanting to participate more. This is a big benefit for teachers. I also save all of my class notes and upload it to the internet so my students can have easy access to what we have done. I believe the SMART Boards and new technology allow me to become a better teacher and I can differentiate my lessons easier.

  3. George,

    I appreciate the fact that you tied homework to the use of technology, because even with all the technological advances seen in the classroom (SMART boards, interactive answering programs, texting software, ipads,data collecting technologies etc…) these technologies are limited to the classroom. While it is great to implement these technologies within the classroom within a secondary classroom the students have generally 45 minutes of class time in which to be engaged with this material. While computer based interactions (blogs, wikis, tweets, etc…) are great they still make the basic assumption that all of our students have access to computers at home; an assumption that can segregate students based on economic status. All too often I witness teachers hurrying out of the building at the end of the day. As teachers and facilitators we must make ourselves available to the students outside of class to allow students access to all these great technologies limited to the classroom.
    Especially in the secondary science classroom, we must be vigilant in our efforts to continuously bring in the new technologies that are available to scientists…after all we are performing science. It is simply not enough to have students read about technologies available to scientists…they must work, think, and act like scientists.


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