May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

The T in STEM – Technology Management in Science Classrooms

Posted: Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Lisa Hegdahl

Next Generation of Science Standards, Common Core, and now technology!  Science teachers in California are being asked to incorporate increasingly more components into everyday lessons in order to prepare their students for college and career. Despite the increased demands, with a little preparation, technology can be an engaging way to involve students in the world of Science.

Before You Begin

Whether you have one computer in your classroom or one computer for every student, start your venture into technology with a strong Student Technology Contract. Examples of contracts abound on the Internet covering issues from permitted websites to proper use of equipment to consequences for breaking contracts. The student as well as the parents should sign the technology contract. Agreements may be written by individual teachers or created for an entire school site. Regardless of where the contract originates, periodically revisit its terms with your students.

Even though most students use technology daily, many are not knowledgeable about specific technology terms and procedures. When you first introduce computers to your students, it will be worth your while to define common technology usage terms, especially those that can have more than one meaning such as the difference between “closing a computer” and “signing out of a computer” (Heitin, 4).

Supervision

Even during the most engaging lesson, students will want to wander independently through the Internet, so supervision of student activity is essential. Ideally, computers should be placed so the teacher can see all the computer screens. Computer programs exist that allow teachers to observe, close tabs, and even lock student computers remotely. Regardless of computer placement or monitoring program, there is no substitute for roaming the classroom to keep students focused on the task at hand (Heitin, 2). As you inspect screens, pay particular attention to windows that may be minimized (Hume, 2). There should be clear consequences for being off task while using computers.

Single-computer classrooms

If your classroom has only one computer, consider using it as a station. For long-term projects, have students rotate to the computer for a particular portion of the project. This part should stand alone as students will access the computer during different stages of the assignment. Develop a clear signal for when students will switch users, such as an egg timer or student assistant, (Integrating Technology: Classroom Management Strategies, 4). How much time you give each rotation will depend on the required task. The rotation strategy can also be used for computerized lab simulations. Students rotate to the computer over a class period or school week; individually or in groups. If students are using the computer in groups, assign each group member a job so each person has an opportunity to use the technology (Hume, 2; Integrating Technology: Classroom Management Strategies, 4). Place answers to FAQs within easy access of the computer, for instance how to log-in, frequented website addresses, how to refresh the computer screen, and how to signal for assistance (Hume, 2; Integrating Technology: Classroom Management Strategies, 5).

Multi-computer Classrooms

In classrooms where each student is fortunate to have their own computer, they should always use the same computer. This will give students a sense of ownership and decrease misuse and vandalism. Spend time teaching students about maintenance and care of their devices and let them know that they are responsible for their computer’s well-being and upkeep. Students should be instructed to inform the teacher if there are problems with their computer otherwise they might be held responsible for any issues that arise (Heitin, 2-3).

Student assistants are especially helpful in multi-computer classrooms (Heitin, 3). Their attention to minor technology issues will free the teacher to interact with students about the subject matter (Hume, 2). Assistants can pass out computers, help students log-in and connect to the internet, and ensure that the computers are set up to charge overnight (Integrating Technology: Classroom Management Strategies, 4).

With a myriad of computer programs, websites, and social media only a click a way, computers provide students with current, relevant, and engaging science content. Planning ahead will make the experience more satisfying for you and your students.

Resources: 

Heitin, L. ( 2013, October). For Teachers, Wired Classrooms Pose New Management Concerns.  Education Week TEACHER.  Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2013/10/14/cm_wired.html

Hume, K. (2011, June). Managing Technology Use in Your Classroom.
TEACH Magazine. Retrieved from http://teachmag.com/archives/3510

Travis Unified School District. (2002-2014). Integrating Technology: Classroom Management Strategies.  Retrieved from http://www.travisusd.k12.ca.us/travisusd/tusd/Administration/Departments/Information_Services/resources/integration_tips/management.htm

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th-grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is Past-President of CSTA.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. 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.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.