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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NCCE 2014 in Seattle

After taking a year off from NCCE I was able to attend this year and really see how much technology in the classroom has advanced since we first began our iPad project.  Even the registration was more streamline than before.  All that was required was enter your email address and your badge automatically printed out along with your raffle tickets.

The landscape has shifted pretty dramatically.  STEM and iPads are much more prevalent than previous years.  Many of the vendors were selling iPad protection cases and various charge/sync cases for classrooms.  Not exactly something that’s helpful for us here at SEP but definitely great to see the new variety of products available.

The sessions available seemed to be a bit more of the same as before, but it was interesting listening in and seeing how different teachers are using computer applications and hardware in their classrooms.  Teachers are using more social media to stay connected to their students.

I loved the level of enthusiasm that many of these teachers bring to the classroom.  Their passion for technology is what helps students be prepared for higher education and professional careers.  It’s great to see everyone congregated in one place sharing their passion for teaching and tech!

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Exo Lab Cameras at Roosevelt High School

I had a unique experience to work with a non-SEP teachers at Roosevelt High School with Jeff Shaver Ph.D. from Exo Labs.  He borrowed the bulk of our iPads to assist Cynthia Jatul, a biology and biotech teacher.

Cynthia students are studying the regenerative properties of planaria.  Each group has a control and a variable.  The variable groups are different based on however the each student group wanted to change up the water and conditions for the planaria.

The challenge for Jeff and I was that he had only brought the Focus Cameras with the lens for microscopes.  With the planaria being up to 11mm in length is posed a problem and the magnification of the compound microscope was too high to effectively observe and take accurate measurements.

As a result, he left mid 2nd period to go back to his office and retrieve the variable lens and mounts used to measure and record bigger subjects.  This ended up working out much better and the students in 3rd and 4th periods were able to get accurate measurements for their planaria.

The students and teacher were also impressed by the Apple TV technology, being able to project various iPads to the front of the room and see what was going on underneath those cameras in real time.

In the end, it was an interesting experience going into a classroom as just and observer of non-SEP science teachers.  I could tell the difference in their excitement level and knowledge base of even tools like microscopes being a little bit behind normal SEP teachers.

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