Monthly Archives: February 2013

RSS Feeds- The Way of the Future

I have been exposed to RSS feeds a few times over the last few years, but never really had much interest in spending time setting one up for myself. I am starting to change my mind about the benefits of having an RSS feed and very slowly, my interest in using an RSS feed is outweighing my lack of interest. There are a few reasons I think having an RSS feed would be beneficial. In my personal life, I would like to follow blogs and websites about parenting. Anything from activities to do with my daughter, to fun snack ideas, new clothes, or parenting advice- anything that would be beneficial as I raise my daughter. I would also like to follow education and science news, since that is my career. Gaining new learning strategies or ideas would be great, as well as keeping abreast of changes in the education world or new technology, or really any new, current education information. I would also like to follow science news because that is what I teach and I always find it fascinating when I hear or read what is going on in the science world.

As a teacher, RSS feeds would be beneficial to incorporate into my lesson plans. Some ideas I have would be to set up one RSS feed for every class period, asking students to brainstorm some things they would like to follow as a class and then check it once or twice a week. It would be fun and create collaboration and class bonding I think. I would also have my students set up their own RSS feed for their own personal interests that they want to follow, and ask them every few weeks something they saw or learning or remember from following their RSS feed. These are just beginning ideas, but are a good place to start I think!

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Update- My Comment on the Student Blog

I wrote a comment on the article by Jack Andraka from my last post. The comment said:

“Great story, Jack! I teach high school AP Biology and Anatomy & Physiology, so this is right up my alley! I am very impressed with your drive to not let the paywalls get in your way and how dedicated you were to learning more about pancreatic cancer and its detection. You are a great role model to young scientists everywhere and I applaud you! Check out the post I wrote about your story on my blog: https://bmaine.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/a-great-student-scientist-blog-post/

Good luck in your future, keep up the great work!”

Listed below is the link to the blog again, with my comment. (Though my comment hasn’t shown up yet because it’s waiting to be moderated.)

http://blogs.plos.org/thestudentblog/2013/02/18/why-science-journal-paywalls-have-to-go/

A Great Student Scientist Blog Post!

While searching for student blogs, I stumbled upon a great website called “The Student Blog”- how appropriate, right? As I read more about it and looked at some posts, I found that it is dedicated to the next generation of science writers and various students post on the site about many different science-related topics. What a great connection to my teaching and curriculum!

I found a particularly interesting post written by a 15-year-old student, Jack Andraka. (Found here). He had a relative pass away from pancreatic cancer and delved into reading research and learning more about pancreatic cancer. He found that the current method of detecting pancreatic cancer had been around a long time and was not anything current in the medical field. So he took it upon himself to research everything he could and find a better way to detect pancreatic cancer. Jack soon found a major obstacle- science research articles in journals that he wanted to read required payment to access the article (called a paywall). He convinced his mom to fund some articles and after some more research and time, invented a new way to detect pancreatic cancer. Through his journey, Jack was very persistent and found some ways around the paywalls for articles, which aided in his research. Because of all this, Jack is an advocate for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math education) and open access to scientific research articles.

The biggest takeaway for me from Jack’s post (and what I would do in my classroom with my students), is to always encourage students to keep pushing, don’t let obstacles stop you from your goal. Jack did not get distracted or quit when he ran into the paywall obstacles- he found ways around them! Reading those articles were crucial to his invention and he wasn’t going to let the paywalls deter him. Another result of his work is that Jack is a big proponent for open access of science journals and articles- meaning no one should have to pay to read scientific research articles. Open access means having publicly funded access in libraries and schools. Collaboration and new learning enhances science tremendously and open access allows that collaboration. With open access, science knowledge can grow by leaps and bounds. Without open access, science knowledge grows slowly and painfully.

Great job Jack! Keep up the good work! I hope you are an inspiration to my students to always keep going and don’t let obstacles stop forward progress!

The Read/Write Web

Some questions were posed to me recently about online learning and teaching that stated “What would you like to accomplish? What are your goals for yourself and your students? How do you envision your ideal teaching practice using these technologies?” These are very thought-provoking questions. I am near the end of earning my certificate for online teaching and just beginning my journey into putting what I have learned into practice. I am currently beginning to develop two one-semester Biology courses for students in my district to take to earn their Biology credits for graduation. I know I have a long way to go, but am ready for the challenge. 

The question of “what would I like to accomplish?” seems very broad. While I would like to accomplish many things,  I will keep my answer to this question about my online teaching accomplishments. 🙂  I would like to develop a good, authentic online Biology course for students to learn the important concepts and content standards for Biology. I would also like my online course to utilize multiple types of learning and activities, including many web 2.0 technologies. My goals are for my students to learn and understand Biology and how important the knowledge of life science is important for their life. Through that learning, I also have goals for my students to learn how to use technology to their advantage and have a good grasp of web 2.0 technologies, because they live in a world with technology and need to understand how and when to use it appropriately. A goal for myself is to create a fun, interactive, engaging Biology course and incorporate a good mixture of activities and tools, while using the tools for a specific purpose not just include them to include them- they need to be relevant to the learning. 

So- here we are at the beginning. Keep reading my blog if you want to keep updated about my journeys into online teaching and web 2.0 technology! It will be quite the ride!