NASA Do-It-Yourself Podcast

    Great classroom activity:
    Are you looking for a new approach to engage your students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics? NASA’s Do-It-Yourself Podcast activity sets the stage for students to host a show that features astronauts training for missions, doing experiments in space or demonstrating equipment. We’ll provide a set of audio and video clips along with photos and information about a space-related topic. You and your students may choose as many items as you want to include in your project and download them to your computer. Students may use the information we provide or conduct their own research to write a script for an audio or video production.

Common Craft Explains Wikipedia

Another high quality explanation from Common Craft:

“Wikipedia is an amazing resource, but it’s not always clear what helps to ensure that the articles are factual and high quality. This video discusses wiki technology and the policies that make Wikipedia work. We worked with the Wikimedia Foundation to ensure that it reflects Wikipedia’s values and practices. It teaches:

Why an online encyclopedia is needed
The basics of editing a wiki website
How volunteers work to ensure quality
The two big rules that govern every article”

Link to the video page.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Bumps in Cyber Space

It’s been a while since I posted about Cory’s experiences as a newly minted cyber high school student. Truth is, there were some bumps in the highway. Around the end of week two, there was a noticeable drop in commitment. “I think I’ll just work on music today …” was the entry-point for a fierce debate about how work should be prioritized. When does school work end and personal projects begin? Is she taking advantage of the new learning environment, or are mom and dad simply freaking out about the newness? It’s just so different than anything we’ve experienced in traditional schooling …

But we seem to have turned a corner (although I’m sure this won’t be the last tumultuous week of schooling). What has really changed?

I notice an increase in teacher contact. Cory’s learning coach called to give us a progress report (she’s doing great) and we discussed class options for the coming months. This is the first time a teacher has called our home to tell us our daughter is doing well in school – and ask what we think …  Are we comfortable? Do we have any questions?

This may sound strange … but I notice an increase in the ability to plan and understand elapsed time. Yes, sounds ridiculous – after all, I’ve insisted on analog clocks in the house since Cory was two and I was appalled at how many kids could no longer tell time. However, although she could look at the clock and tell you the time – it had no meaning. My unscientific hypothesis was that her school day was so regimented, she never had to bother understanding time – someone would always tell her when to come and go. Now that Cory is responsible for getting up and attending her elluminate sessions, it seems she has a sudden ability to understand time. It’s like a muscle that’s finally getting exercise.

I notice an increase in the level of involvement with extracurricular activities – taking more of a leadership role. Maybe it’s a function of finally having time to devote to these projects.

I notice … a more rested child, resulting in an increased enthusiasm for everything!

Notable conversation of the week: I came home yesterday and was greeted by, “I need help with science.” My first response: Did you ask your teacher? No, of course not … “Oh, I forgot that I can ask my teacher for help.” She’s still learning that she now has far more access to teachers than ever before …

Cyber Week One

macbookWell, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know my daughter was enthusiastic about starting cyber school, and I hoped it would turn out to be a positive learning experience for her … but I was not prepared for such a transformation.

First, she is incredibly happy. All of a sudden, her school commitments are not ruling her sleep patterns. Like most adolescents, she has a night time brain, and simply can’t wake up early in the morning and function. By about mid-morning, she finally comes to life and then truly hits her stride late in the day and continues until late at night.

Second, she determines what she’d like to work on, when, and for how long. I called on my way home to work and asked about her day. “I decided to do a week’s worth of German,” she announced happily. Concerned with how rapidly she’s progressing through the material, I nervously contacted the school. “Remember,” they calmly reminded me, “she’s able to get a lot of work accomplished because she doesn’t have to wait for class to start, for other kids to get ready, for the teacher to explain assignments … etc.” In other words, once she hits a groove with a topic, she’s at liberty to keep working according to her own interest and stamina. This self-paced environment is certainly more suitable for her learning style.

I’m still waiting to see how this will all turn out – it’s certainly early days here. But so far, so good …