Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monitoring my GAME Plan Progress

If you are just tuning in, my GAME plan centers around two goals: creating labs based on online simulations and sharing my work with my peers online. So far I have had success finding the information and resources I need, and I owe a thank you to my classmates who have posted helpful links for me to explore. I also came across this article that discusses the difference between virtual labs and simulations. This gave me the idea to search for both, and I have since been able to locate more resources using this method. I have also decided that I can share the labs I create via this blog. 

Currently I do not see a need to alter any part of my action plan. So far I have learned that there are many resources out there, but the tricky part is finding them. Asking around and varying the terminology in my search terms has been helpful. I also have only been looking for resources that are free of charge, as many are not. There are still some concepts for which I have not been able to locate simulations or virtual labs, and there are other concepts that have many options. This has led to some questions: How are these simulations and virtual labs created? Who is doing the research and determining the best method for allowing students to explore concepts virtually? Are there opportunities out there to participate in the research and creation of resources like these? 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

GAME Plan Update

As described in my previous post, my GAME plan involves creating labs using online simulations and sharing them online with peers. In order to carry out my plan I will need a collection of websites that offer free science simulations that correlate with my essential learnings and a platform in which to share the resources I find and create. 

So far I have managed to wrangle up a few promising websites. PhET is one of my favorites that I have been using for a couple years and http://astro.unl.edu/animationsLinks.html has some great simulations specific to astronomy. Thanks to Lauri's comment on my last post I have now been able to begin browsing a couple different online lab databases: http://www.jdenuno.com/TechConnect/OnLineLabs.htm and http://onlinelabs.in/subjects. I have also begun searching for simulations relating to the units I am currently working on, and found this collection of resources relating to Properties of Matter: http://www.learningscience.org/psc2apropchangmatter.htm

My next step will be to choose a simulation for my next unit to begin designing a lab around. I also need to identify a good place to share the labs I create, specifically for those that do not use PhET simulations (PhET allows you to upload lesson plans to their website). In the meantime, I would be interested to know if you have any other simulation resources you like or if you recommend a website for sharing lesson plans for online labs. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Developing My GAME Plan

While exploring the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) National education standards for teachers (NETS-T) this week I reflected on where my strengths and weaknesses lie currently. Based on these thoughts, I have decided on two goals I will be working on to strengthen my confidence and proficiency.

The first goal is based on NETS-T standard 2a, which is: “Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity” (ISTE, 2008). My goal is to design more labs that utilize online simulations. I will be limited to the simulations available that are relevant to the content I am expected to teach, so that will determine how many labs I am able to create using these at this time. I am hoping to be able to create at least one digital lab per unit of study. In order to reach this goal, I will begin by searching for simulations that address the concepts I teach. Next, I will create procedures and questions that guide students through the simulation and help them to reach an understanding of the concept. I will monitor my progress by setting the timeline of one digital lab per unit in order to keep myself on track. I will evaluate my learning by monitoring student learning and creativity to see if my work has had a positive impact.

My second goal relates to the first and is centered around NETS-T standard 1d, which is: “Model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments” (ISTE, 2008). I will share the digital labs I create online with peers. I often use internet resources as a jumping off point when creating learning experiences, so it is time I started providing resources that other teachers may be able to use. I will take action by posting each lab I create on the website where I found the simulation used. I will monitor my progress by ensuring that I have uploaded one lab or lesson plan for each unit. I will then extend my learning by finding other ways to share my lessons with colleagues.

References:
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/nets-t-standards.pdf?sfvrsn=2