I looked forward to Chapter 27, the Primitive Worms with much anticipation this year. Having taught the unit for many years, little else is as simultaneously revolting and intriguing as the parasitic worms we study from Phylum Platyhelimenthes and Phylum Nematoda. As I prepared a few ideas for the students, I couldn't help but put forth parasitic lifecycle scenarios and have the students figure out what critter had caused a particular infection, examine the symptoms, and determine a means to treat the infected patient.
Students love playing the role of Dr. Awesome, an emergency room physician faced with just about every medical situation imaginable. Well, this time, there were two scenarios. The root idea behind these projects was to immerse students in a role requiring considerable application of knowledge, leading to analysis, synthesis, critical thinking, and evaluation in determining how to treat the patient. Putting everything together in an immersive way is quite appealing and from student work it showed.
I'll post student projects as they're graded. Many are not video based, so I'll provide a screencast with my thoughts as I tour various works.
Anyhow, here are the scenarios...
Scenario 1 - Calling Dr. Awesome!
A patient has been admitted exhibiting the following symptoms: a spotty, itchy skin rash, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, nausea. She complains of muscle aches, fever, chills, joint pains & splinter-like hemorrhages under the fingernails. There is eye inflammation. She attended a barbecue recently serving beef steak, fried chicken, macaroni & potato salad & pulled pork sandwiches. What possible pathogens might have caused the symptoms & how will you treat the patient?
The rubric for the project was fun to create, leaving considerable time to provide anecdotal feedback and clear marking criteria for the students --> see the rubric here
Student Project --> A Cartoon Response - so very well done.
Other Student Projects --> Summarized in the Blog Post -- "Where are We Now"
Scenario 2 - Calling Dr. Awesome ... again?
Calling Dr. Awesome again! A patient has been admitted exhibiting the following symptoms: itching of the anus and "private" area, trouble sleeping, general restlessness, and irritability. She complains of nausea, and occasional abdominal pain. Her dog was recently treated and had been dragging its bum along the floor. What possible pathogens might have caused her symptoms and how will you treat her?
The rubric is much the same as project 1 above --> see the rubric here
As eCampus heads into it's fourth month, I thought it was time to stop, slow down and take some time to reflect a bit more on the journey. eCampus didn't start in 2013, its genesis can be traced back to when I first began teaching and fell in love with the impact technology had on learners and my teaching.
Here is the video blog of the story so far
From it's beginning as a Moodle course site to integration of video lessons, introduction of the CK12 digital textbooks, incorporation of animations, the best of YouTube, eCampus has come to fit and express a project-based vision of learning. Always under construction it seems, I provide my recollection, insights, and ambitions for the first part of this journey.
My goal - to use reflection and feedback to move forward and make eCampus an even better experience in the future.
As ever, I welcome your comments.
In Chapter 20, Kingdom Protista, students were challenged to create screencasts. The idea was to learn by teaching. Given the criteria from Idea Central, students gave it their best shot.
The result was tremendous.
Project 1 - Ciliophora - Animal-like Protists using cilia for motion
Project 2 - Euglena - the "Plantimal"
For Chapter 19, Bacteria and Viruses, students were invited to create reports on bacteria and viruses. As a twist, a medical challenge was included, entitled "Outbreak." In the challenge, students assumed the role of Dr. Awesome and were faced with a serious outbreak of a mysterious illness. As Dr. Awesome, the challenge was to evaluate the symptoms, identify the pathogen responsible, and suggest a course of treatment for the patient. Several groups took up the Outbreak scenario, while others favoured the more general report format.
Students authored their reports in several formats including Google Drive documents, Prezis, paper posters, Word documents, and interestingly the eMaze format. Google documents are quite popular because once shared, feedback on work is instant when the teacher grades and creates changes and/or comments to the document. My students know that any purple text and strikethroughs are my signature changes. Coupled with comments, it's a tremendous way to interact and provide detailed, meaningful feedback. While a few paper reports still make their way to my inbox, the advantages of Google documents are telling - saving is automatic, students can restore previous versions of files, and organization & sharing are a snap.
The Online Rubric for what we call Idea Central are here. Scroll down to Chapter 19.
But, enough about formats, here are a few examples of the great student work this time around :)
1) Prezi - the spinning, zooming slideshow format --> Bacteria Report
2) eMaze - hosting Dr. Awesome's Patient Diagnosis
October 25, 26th, I had a great opportunity to attend the Kamloops Google Apps for Education Summit. It was a tremendous synthesis of professional development, networking, and sharing strategies with educational technology.
On the PG District Teacher's Association Professional Development Weblog, I share my thoughts and experience at length.
Click here to read the article.
There are many technologies that students and teachers can use to create screencasts. Allow me to introduce a few ...
Recording in Mac OSX, using Quicktime X
Screencast-o-Matic - a java-based screen recording application
ExplainEverything - Tablet Application
ShowMe - Tablet Application
What matters is that the presenter's personality and explanations come through in creating a narrative that the viewer will want to watch again and again.
Over the past several weeks, students have studied Bacteria and Viruses, creating documents and sharing via Google Drive. My feedback on their work increased considerably, as I've provided anecdotal comments, grading feedback via online rubrics, and more. But I've been left wondering, where is the reckless creativity and originality in student projects that I envisioned when beginning eCampusBiology11? I was soon to discover it was time to shake things up a bit. For the Protist Chapter, it was time to step thing up. What is the best way to learn? The answer is simple - teach. As such, students were asked to assume a teaching role and employ screencasts to teach about one Protist - animal-like, plant-like, or fungus-like. There are many screencast software applications, but the important difference in this chapter is that it was time for students to assume the role of narrator and guide and provide not information, but context as to why information is relevant. Admittedly, students will be out of their comfort zone. And, that is an opportunity for growth. Many of them have requested that their lessons not be published. Apparently they only wish to present to me, their teacher. I respect their wishes and hope they'll eventually desire to share their tremendous efforts with a larger audience.
Providing students with new insight and ways to share their work is rewarding. Students appreciate new ideas and ways to pursue projects. Admittedly, introducing new ideas is kind of like a demo-slam at a Google Conference. But, it creates interest, excitement, and provides a new means of expression students may not have considered. It's kind of exciting to introduce new ideas to the millennial generation and learn from the interaction. Where the ideas meet expression is an interesting place indeed.
Welcome to the eCampusLive blog. I'm Jerry Bleecker. I teach Biology, Science, Information Technology, Computer Arts, and more. It's an exciting year to share our experiences with our flipped classroom endeavour.