All Good Things

After four years of traveling to classes all around the Pacific Northwest the funding for the iPad project at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has been ended.  It has been an amazing experience being able to share our technology with so many different youth around the region.FredHutch_v_tag_4c_cmyk

I have seen the landscape of education technology change significantly over these four years.  The sheer size of the Northwest Council for Computer Education has grown each year is quite a sign of the times.

Moving forward SEP will continue to support teachers and students.  However, it is just become too cost intensive for us to bring iPads into classrooms.

Thank you to all the teachers and schools I have visited, it has been a great learning experience for me.

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Microscopy at Henry M. Jackson High School

Out in Mill Creek at Henry M. Jackson High School, Gail Walters has her students working on Microscopy with a little support from SEP’s iPads and Exo Labs’ Focus Camera.

The students collected samples from a nearby wooded area. Some of them had wet samples, while other’s had dirt with rocks and plants.  Students with dry samples really couldn’t see much because the light from the microscopes was unable to shine through their samples.  Those problems weren’t too widespread though as many students collected wet samples or pieces like leaves.

In order to supplement the assignment, Gail also provided her students with Elodea so they could get a clear view of cells and their structure.  She mainly did this because some of the specimens her class collected were debris and organisms that you really couldn’t get a good look at without a more powerful or differently lit microscope.  Gail gave her students a opportunity to check out local wild life in an unconventional way.

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Stop Motion Animation at Ingraham High School

Stop motion animation has always been one of my favorite activities with the iPads and with the majority of my time in classrooms spent using our iPads for microscopy, it’s a welcome change to study mitosis, or in this case, environmental science with a little old fashioned claymation!

Ingrid Dinter and her students gave us just that.  Her students took a good part of a week studying and working with the iPads to create some great projects on environmental science!  Using the app iMotion, a little bit of Play-Doh, and a lot bit of creativity, her students were able to create some fantastic short films about endangered species and habitats they are being destroyed by humans.

This creative outlet gives students a chance to bring other talents and experience into the science classroom and can have some great results.  Ingrid used these videos as a way to have the students teach each other!  What a great project!



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iPad support at Auburn Riverside

Judy Shaw at Auburn Riverside High School had her general Biology class use SEP iPads all week for a number of different activities!

Each year she has her students work on a cell poster that has a drawn diagram of a plant, animal, or bacteria cell.  The students lab each organelles then present their cell poster to the whole class.  This year they were able to use the iPads to do their research which led to more variation of drawings because of the different reference drawings they could use instead of just using the one they have in their text books.

During the second half of the week Judy wanted to try using the Exo Lab Focus Camera during her cell microscopy lab.  This allowed her to see what her students were viewing and able to help them identify the different parts of each cell.  A lot of times students lack basic microscopy skills and the Focus Camera allows for the teacher to see and prevent out of focus slides and fixation on air bubbles.

iPads elevated the learning in Judy Shaw’s classroom at Auburn Riverside by adding elements of interactivity and expanded references.  In the end, it’s a great opportunity for students to learn digital media skills along side biology.

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Getting High Tech at Kent Meridian High School

At Kent Meridian High School, Rene Pointras’s biology classes are working on microscopy.  She thought it would be a good idea to include me and the iPads in on some of her lab activities.

When I say she wanted to include me in her lab I mean that in the most literal sense.  I was the subject of an impromptu Q&A session about my job and education.  This was something I’d never done before and it was a lot of fun.  Her students were all apart of a media/STEM program in Kent to encourage and inspire students to expand their career choices. I was able to share my background in Film and Television production as well as what I do here at SEP.  My hope is that they can see the diversity of opportunities that exist after high school.

She was also able to use the Exo Lab Focus camera with each of her lab groups.  They were studying different types of cells and their organelles.  And like most classes the students loved seeing onion cells and cheek cells up close!  It always makes me smile when I can see the light in each students eyes as they get excited about science!

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C. Elegans at Eastlake High School

Lara Hollingworth has been working with C. Elegans at Eastlake High School for years now and SEP has support her with iPads and Exo Lab cameras.  The cameras allow her students to be involved while she keeps them on track by being able to see exactly what they’re looking at.  Lara helps them measure the worms and identify which life cycle they are in.

In addition, Lara sometimes uses Apple TV to live stream what some of the more successful groups are seeing in their worms.  She also uses this to have groups show their pictures and videos they recorded to the entire class.

Lara has been using this lesson in her curriculum for quite sometime.  Exo Labs has gone defunct and the support to their camera’s software is going to be running out soon.  This means that Lara and everyone else currently using the Focus Camera are going to need to reevaluate what they will be using for digital imaging in the future.  But for now Lara is continuing to use the iPad and Exo Lab Focus Camera combination.

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Nanotechnology at Newport High School

Melissa Baker is on the cutting edge with her Nanotechnology class at Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington.  She’s using SEP’s iPads and her own Exo Lab Focus cameras to do some microscopy imaging during her labs.  The students were then going print off their photos to put into their physical lab book.

iPads are notorious for making it difficult to remove iPad created files.  In the past I had always used Dropbox to upload files and then download them into .zip files and email to the teacher.  Melissa Baker’s class wanted to have the files during the class period so they didn’t have to spend time on that portion of the lab in their next class period.  Dropbox however made this a little more difficult than it needed to be.  They have a queue system in place that only allows one file to uploaded at a time.  This makes it difficult when there are ten groups uploading five pictures each because often times files will get stuck and not allow others to upload.  As a result, we only got around half the class uploaded and printed by the end of the period.  I then went back to the office to upload and email the rest of the students’ pictures to Melissa.

The challenge forced me find a solution for next time and hopefully we’ll be able to streamline the workflow for the next period.

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