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 President for CSTA.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. 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 NGSS 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.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.