January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

On Using Media As a Means to Get Students Future-Ready or Intermediality in the Classroom

Posted: Thursday, November 12th, 2015

by Joseph Calmer

I recently stumbled onto the word “intermediality.” I have never seen this word before, so I did what all our students do now, I Googled it. The outputs were primarily art-based in nature. Intermediality seems to refer to the use of various media types in an art project or performance. I figured I practice this in my classroom. Great, there is a name for it now.

Most of the cases described on the Internet from my search did not describe teaching, but referred to a produced work of some type. The practice of teaching is a production, so I think this novel idea should be shared amongst teachers. Also, I think it is ubiquitous in teaching, just not discussed explicitly. I, and I believe others in the classroom, use various sources of media in our classes, lectures, and activities.

Any teacher who receives emails from list serves, visits blogs, or scrolls through articles on their phone, always has their mind asking the question, “how can I use this in my classroom?” That also means that teachers are using technology in their classroom without recognizing it. I think many teachers use Edmodo, Schoology, Remind, Blackboard, CK-12, or others. I am very accustomed to using Crash Course, PhET simulations, articles, and flash animated websites. There actually are many more that we use. Anyone who has attended a “Google Education” conferences gets inundated with resources.

I pride myself that I can flow through my various Chrome tabs and talk and display the concepts of the lesson with multiple media sources. I think many teachers use sources from media as an engagement tool. Maybe to collect data, maybe even to analyze data (Google Sheets). I would say that “intermediality” describes my teaching and the teaching styles of many teachers.

In reflection about this, I wondered, “why do I use all these various sources?” My answer came to me after I read Kevin Brookhouser’s The 20time Project and he introduced the term “future ready” to me. The reality is that we cannot simply teach students how to solve past problems, they have to be ready, and well equipped, to solve the problems of the future. This means our goals of teaching are different than earlier times of history.

“Future-ready” is a terms that I have been seeing sprinkled around. It seems to refer to the curriculum of a school. This ensures that the instructional materials that are offered to students will enable them to be “future-ready.” It seems that both the California Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) support college and career readiness, but there seems to be more needed. Maybe we should be preparing students to be the thinkers, innovators, and problem solvers of the future. “Future-ready” seems to help convey that point more than “college and career ready.”

As we transition to the NGSS, it is apparent that the NGSS recognizes this and attempts to outline the need to instruct students about science as a process and method of solving problems, rather than a list of facts to be memorized for tests. I think using the notion of intermediality helps current students see and understand topics of science, but at a level that they understand (since current students are practically living digital). Intermediality describes teaching today and helps teachers get students future ready. Intermediality can also help teachers and students see the coherence of science though school and life.

By using YouTube, Google Forms, flash animated websites, games, apps, and the like, teachers would enhance their methods of pedagogy through media use. I think that the notion of intermediality expresses an idea about teaching that should be developed and adopted by (science) teachers. Intermediality creates a virtual space for learning to occur. Students are very comfortable communicating, navigating, and engaging in expression through media. Teachers need to become comfortable with media too.

Joseph Calmer is a physics and chemistry teacher at Lawndale High School and a member of CSTA’s NGSS Committee.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.



MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Find Your Reason to Engage

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.