https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/biology/id690050073

My iTunes U Course is Complete!

I am sitting here tired, but excited. I have finally finished my iTunes U Course, Biology. This has been a process that began the summer before this school year and is now complete. This was a new challenge for me. It really forced me to evaluate my learning activities coupled with the 1:1 iPad integration at my school. I have always evaluated my learning design, always challenging myself to analyze the required objectives and the quality and connection of my lessons. With this course design, I was able to challenge myself as to the best use technology making it a seamless tool that would bring depth of knowledge to my classroom while breaking down the walls of my classroom. I designed each unit in the 5E Lesson design, thinking with the end in mind and working backwards. In reality, I know that my course is not finalized as no learning design should ever be finalized and used over and over, year after year. This course will be molded and redefined as each school year comes and goes. Please check out my course at the link above! I would love some feedback!

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The Changing Face of Education

      Earlier this week I had a two-day lab in my Biology class over plants, flowers and fungus where students dissect flowers and mushrooms comparing the two different organisms while learning their anatomy. I had a student out sick for both days. On the first she was unable to work, but on the second she was feeling much better but could not come to school due to the time of her last fever. As the 7th period bell rung, students started trickling in the room and then two burst in and asked, “Can we Face Time with [student’s name] for lab today?!” I said they sure could! This was a first for me in my classes and I haven’t heard any other classes on campus doing this just yet for a day’s absence. Well, after working through a little WiFi issue, which was solved by one group member’s personal hot spot, they were talking with the student.  Funny enough, they had her looking up information needed as they dissected because she had the better internet connection! This was definitely teamwork at its best!

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      Even though this student could not come to school, she still experienced learning with her classmates. If you didn’t know, you can take photos through the eyepiece of the microscope and get great pictures of specimens. Well, I learned this week, you can Face Time through said eyepiece as well so the person on the other end can see the specimen through the microscope! Mind blown! In this case, a dissecting stereoscope was used, Connecting the old technology with the new! Check it out below and as well as meeting my student’s cat! 🙂

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       This was too much fun! And after everyone said their “hellos” and “get betters”, class was as if every student was physically present in the room. This brings me to my other thoughts. I just hated to have to count this student absent as she was not physically in the room and that is the rule. She completed every task that all the other students completed on this day, yet she has been marked absent. I think that is a shame. The seat time rules for education need to change. I know that this has to do with the money received by districts for student attendance. I know that this is a problematic concept to discuss. The learners are already solving this problem on their own and I hope that the powers that be will join them. With virtual learning and the seamless incorporation of technology in the classroom, the definition of “present” needs to evolve with the evolving world in which we live.

*Pictures edited with Pic Collage.