Microscopy at Kentridge High School

Madonna Brinkmann at Kentridge High School was interested in getting her students brushed up on their microscopy.  With the help of SEP’s newly donated Exo Lab Focus Cameras(we have nine in total now), I was able to come and really help her students get down and dirty with some pond water specimens.

We set up her room so there was 18 microscope stations, 9 with the Exo Lab Focus Camera attached and 9 that didn’t have the Focus camera attached.  Students then broke up into small groups of 2-3.  They made slides of pond water and under the microscope worked to identify different organisms.

The students were mostly upper class men and really enjoyed the experience.  The lesson itself was more free form so the students go to choose their groups and experience microscopy more or less at their own pace.  By the end of the week each student really understood how much life was really living in that nasty pond water and they loved watching all the organisms swim around.

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Anatomy and Cell Biology at Timberline High School

On Friday I drove out to Timberline High School in Lacey for the first classes of the 2014-15 school year.  It was a long day and early morning drive to get there for 1st period.  Joan Marshall’s Biology and Anatomy & Physiology classes took advantage of the Exo Lab Focus camera and 40 of our iPads to study during their class period.

In the Biology classes, Joan started off with some slides projected with Focus Camera, I then passed out an iPad to each student.

For this to go as smoothly as possible I have created a sign-out sheet. The sheet is very basic, each student writes his/her name and the number of the iPad they are being given.  At the end of the period before everyone leaves I collect them and check off the iPads one by one.

Once each student had an iPad they used 3D Cell Simulation and Stain Tool by Invitrogen Corp. to locate organelles and write a description onto their worksheet.  This app has greatly improved in recent updates and while at its core is still used to sell stains for laboratories, it also has a wealth of knowledge about parts of the cell.

In her Anatomy and Physiology classes students took an online quiz from Hole’s Human Anatomy and Physiology website.  The quiz was 40 questions and added to grade book at the end of the period by each student showing Joan their scores(they could take the test more than once).

Overall, my time at Timberline High School was well spent, and while there wasn’t a grand lesson plan prepared it was a good opportunity for the students to get access to some technology and it’s great hearing students say things like “Thanks for coming!” and “This is the first time I’ve touched an iPad!”  It really makes everything worth while.

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Lighthouse Beach in Mukilteo

Glacier Peak High School is once again pairing up with the Seattle Aquarium.  The Aquarium is continuing to monitor the shoreline at Lighthouse Beach Park in Mukilteo.  Jean’s success with the iPads last year beckons a second go around this year.  

I met Jean’s class and representatives from the Seattle Aquarium at 8:30 in the morning.  Each student group then got an iPad, they used their iPads to take pictures and notes of the coastline and organisms they are studying.  Groups took 50 to 150 pictures as well as notes that I uploaded to dropbox.  In order to complete, the students then collected their notes and photos.

The iPads work well in this situation because they’re able to both take pictures and notes with one wireless device.  The notes are contained next to the photos and easily transferable once the iPads are connected back to the internet.

The downside to using these outside of the classroom is there is a larger chance for loss and destruction.  Fortunately, we only lost an iPad magnetic cover, so only a minor loss.  All in all, this was a good experience.  The students and learning benefited great amounts.  As long as that continues, we’ll be back next year!

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Nanotechnolgy at Newport High School

Melissa Baker at Newport High School has her nanotechnology students on the cutting edge.  This is the second time I’ve come to Melissa’s class this year, and I was not disappointed in what I found. When I was in her classroom I was able to see them give presentations on everything from electronic skin for burn victims to nanobots used to treat disease.  While it all seems like something out of a Philip K Dick novel, the applications and research is very real.

The iPad Project was brought into her class to supplement her Exo Lab Focus Cameras. Eight groups in total, the students were studying and measuring liposomes.  These touchy little fellas were tough nuts to crack.  Many of the students weren’t having an easy go of finding them because they were so sensitive to the noise in the room and they were just dancing around on the slide.

Melissa and her students needed hardcopies of their data and pictures and with the iPads requiring an “air printer” in order to print I had to get a little thrifty.  As a result, we were using dropbox but in a much different way then I had in the past.  I signed into my dropbox account on  Melissa’s laptop and as the students took their one or two pictures they were then syncing them my dropbox folder.  Once synced,  the students came to the front of the class, found, and printed out what they needed.

By the end, the students were successful at their assignment and the technology worker so flawlessly that there wasn’t a lot for me to do during the three days, but that’s far superior to me scrambling in the moment.

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C. Elegans at Eastlake High School

With a grant from the University of Washington, Lara Hollingworth gave her students a great opportunity to be on the cutting edge of research.  They’re studying, measuring and observing C. Elegans in an attempt to find the sister species and moving scientific research forward.

With the support from SEP’s iPad Project Lara is able to use the Exo Lab Focus Camera to help get her in each of her student groups to maximize their time and recordings.  Once they had measurements and pictures the students emailed themselves their photos and data that was recorded via iPad and they wrote up their lab report with their school provided netbooks.

This is the second year I’ve been able to help Lara with this project and we have definitely ironed out the kinks.  We’ve streamed line how the students get their data by providing a dummy email(we use gmail) and the students just have to email themselves with the attachments.  In the past, I had to sync every iPad with dropbox and then email a link just to get students their data.  While our new approach works great with this particular project, it’s not a fix all.  Many other classes are still getting the ol’ dropbox treatment, creating a lot more work for me.  Hopefully Apple will recognize how iPads are being used outside of just being a personal device and add some additional options built into their iOS.  Until then, this will just have to do.

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Stop Motion Animation at Rainier Beach High School

Rainier Beach High School in south Seattle is trying something a little different than other schools.  Louise Wong had been creating stop motion animation films on mitosis with her students for the past couple years.  This year she wanted try it out with the iPads! What a success it turned out to be.

Louise Wong had four periods of biology, elbow deep in clay as they mitosis stop motion animated short films.  The students worked in small groups of two or three to create these videos. We used an app called iMotion HD, which, a part from a few glitches and user interface issues, was a great little program.  A lot of the time that consisted of one person molding and shaping the clay and another taking the pictures.  They spent two class periods on this project, one block period of two hours and one regular 50 minute period.  It was a great opportunity for the students to really grasp the various stages and by in large was a great learning experience.

Rainier Beach High School is located in a more economically disadvantaged area of Seattle and as a result doesn’t have as much access to technology.  Bringing them iPads to help work on their projects really provided these students with some great hands on learning both with the technology as well as with biology.  Student response to the project was so good that Louise has invited me back to support her honors physical science class with another stop animation project.  I’m excited to see what turns up next.

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iPad + QR = Community Connections

Lori Sadzewicz, a teacher at Washington Elementary in Mount Vernon, has been on the forefront of classroom technology for the past decade.  She started with using iPods and now has upgraded to iPads as her school transitioned to a 1:1 iPad school!  All of this was made possible with the Collaborative Schools for Innovation and Success grant is a partnership between Washington Elementary and Western Washington University.

She uses the technology, specifically QR codes, to not only engage her students in the classroom but also to reach their parents.  This works so well because there is a high ELL population in her district.  This can create challenging barriers with language as well as technology.  Parents have a difficult time getting teacher evaluations and grades.

The students get to take their iPads home.  So far this is the best way to incorporate them in school curriculum that I’ve come across.  It allows her to assign more variation in assignments at home knowing that each of her students will have access to the iPad 24/7.

The QR codes act as a doorway to the different material students bring home and show their parents.  They can link to anything on the web and keep parents up-to-date on their child’s studies.  As long as they know how to take a picture with the iPad they can then access.  Getting parents involved in is critical to the success of students not only for their elementary school career, but going forward with the rest of school and life.

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