Saturday, May 2, 2015

NEACT May Meeting

Leslie Bishop introducing the meeting.
Lesley Bishop hosted the meeting at Regis College.  The focus of the meeting is technology applications in chemistry.  The two speakers on the schedule today are Mary Christian Madden and Erin McQuaid.

Mary Christian Madden was up first this morning to share on-line resources she uses in her QVCC chemistry course.  Mary comes to us with forty years of experience in education including high school teaching, principle in a high school, and now teaching at Quinnebaug Valley Community College.

The first resource she shared is from the Anneberg Learner website.  It's a complete on-line and free chemistry course with a text book, videos, links, and interactive simulations.  This resource is an excellent source of
Annenberg Learner Chemistry Course

MIT has a collection of chemistry videos that are produced by the professors at the college.  This video project was developed to help engage students in chemistry applications and feed the real-world applications that keep students interested in learning chemistry.  We watched a video from an MIT professor who has meet great success as a biochemist, even though she meet great challenges as a student because of severe dyslexia.  This site is searchable for short videos related to a wide range of chemistry topics.
MIT 2-minute Chemistry Video Collection

Every chemistry teacher out there needs to play around with PhET simulations.  Nearly everyone in the room is using PhET and has some comments to add to the discussion about use and implementation.  One issue that was raised about using PhET is the need to download Java onto school machines.  A close working relationship with the IT folks at your school is a must!  You can read about my use of PhET on my previous post.  Phet is Phabulous
PhET Simulations

A student in Mary’s class found this resource while reviewing for the final exam and passed it along to Mary.  Free text book, downloadable.  She makes this free download available in the library with a thumb drive they can check out.
Chem1 Virtual Textbook

This resource is a download or hard copy book that you can purchase through the internet.  Mary purchased the download to make it available as an additional resource to her students, while it was still free.  It is now available at a cost, which you can find out about at the link.  This resource is focused on drill and practice of chemistry problems.  Students get immediate feedback about their work because the answers are given as soon as each problem is completed.
Calculations in Chemistry on-line Tutorial

Mary recommends Khan Academy to her students for more practice and review of concepts.
Khan Academy Chemistry

Before coming out for the meeting, Mary gave her students at QVCC a survey to find out what links they are using to supplement their course content.  Here are the most frequently used sites:
Khan Academy and  YouTube.  She found out that many of the students didn't look at the resources that she listed on the course web page because they aren't as easy Khan and YouTube.  Some of here students don't use any on-line resources because they don't have any extra time to follow up on it.  Some discussion followed about how to introduce on-line resources and simulations to maximize the learning outcomes.

Nova:  Hunt for the Elements is a video or an app for the iPad.  You can use video clips to supplement a lesson.  The whole video is very long, so probably not a good assignment for students to digest all at once.

Our second presenter was Erin McQuaid, a teacher at Regis College.  She teaches a chemistry course for nursing students in the BA program.  She recently converted her class to flipped learning model, taking advantage of training and resources available at Regis to learn how to make videos and use on-line resources in her class.  Regis is in the third year of iPad integration campus-wide.
Erin gave a great presentation, even though her iPad wouldn't cooperate.  


Erin gave us a description of the changes in her teaching over the past twenty years.  She started with an overhead project and markers in the back of the classroom, teaching with the lights dimmed and watching her students take notes.  Now she can teach her lesson with her stylus and iPad from anywhere in the room using smaller tools.  She teaches an intense course that includes general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry all in one semester.  The volume of content in the course lends itself perfectly to the flipped lecture style.

Erin started off making her videos on Educreations (it was free at that time).  This resource was her video recording app of choice because it was easy to share the videos with her students.  When she polled her students about how they liked using the videos, she got a 50-50 response.  Ironically, the younger students didn't like the videos, but the adult learners appreciated the videos much more.  They really liked having the flexibility to watch the videos on their own time when they could fit it into their schedule.  Now that Educreations is not free, Erin has changed to bcontext, which is not free but less expensive than Educreations.  With bcontext, you can record videos on iPad and add in pictures and images into the video.

Erin uses the videos for homework assignments and she incorporates them into the long evening classes.  For a portion of the two hour lecture, she gives the class a break to watch a video and then the reconvene to do practical applications of the video as a class.  She also relies on the video lectures to make up for missed classes on snow storm days (which we had several this winter!).

Some resources for game/quiz apps:  kahoot.it or socratic.org.  Both of these apps have pre-made quizzes available, but you have to review the questions and answers to make sure they are correct and what you want.  Erin highly recommends the app Noteablility for electronic notebooks, allows students to incorporate Erin's lecture notes with their own notes and other images or audio notes all in one place.  Another app Erin recommends is called Molecules, which presents molecules three dimensionally.

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