Monday, February 29, 2016

"The low-cost, high impact way to change education "

In the video above, a teacher named Michelle Blanchet talks on TEDxLausanne regarding how to highly impact education in a low cost way. She mentions several key components of education and uses a puzzle as an analogy. These key components are policy, business, skills framework, learning spaces, assessments, curriculum, and teacher training. In this video, she focuses on teachers because improving their efficiency is  low cost.

One thing I really liked about her message was her emphasis on creativity. She shared one of her experiences at a teacher workshop where another teacher was speaking about how to be more creative. However, the presentation was not creative per se because it was a straight lecture using a PowerPoint presentation. What her belief  is teachers should be creative in teaching so their students can also be creative while learning.

I personally feel that over the last two years my school has also moved in the direction of creativity which Ms. Blanchet is an advocate for. English presentations are no longer prepared with a PowerPoint slide show and reading off of it. Instead, teachers must keep  the classrooms attention with interesting activities. (The more original the better!) Also in history, new ideas which incorporate technology are integrated into the classroom. For example, online forum discussions, such as a class on Google Groups regarding political matters, or studying for a test as a class with the use of Kahoot!

Ms. Blanchet's point regarding the need for more creativity in the classroom improves teachers efficiency and is a direction where all school districts around the nation should be moving towards. This is a low cost method and at the same time has a very high impact.

Happy leap day and thanks for reading this four year exclusive post on February 29th!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A great study tool for anybody in Chemistry

This year I'm taking AP Chemistry in school and it is considered by many as one of the most difficult AP courses out there. Yesterday, I took the hardest test in chemistry all year regarding acids and bases. Sometimes, I can study for hours and hours by reading the textbook over and over again but still I struggle to understand the concepts.  I found a great non-profit website created by a high school teacher named Ken MacGillivray which provides free practice problems to assist me in my studies.

What chemistry topics are covered by the website?

The website covers most of the chemistry topics found on the AP exam. For example, there were acid base equilibrium questions which I utilized for my test yesterday. The syllabus is really actually based off the College Board.

Layout of the Webpage

For Chapter 14 regarding Acid Bases, it provides organized formula sheets to assist with memorization and also provides multiple practice quizzes and test.

Why Mr. Mac's website?

This website is great because it provides practice problems. I have found the practice problems that relate to my studies in school. It covers most of the topics on the test and provides practice without excessive redundancy. My favorite part about this website is that for every practice quiz or test, an answer key is provided. Also for several selected questions, there is work shown to provide the solution to the problem. Sometimes just looking at the answer key does not help me understand where I made a mistake so being able to see every step is a great benefit.

Above is an example of work shown in an answer key.

Low Cost Educational Resources online don't have to be a corporation

This website is evidence that low or non- profit cost of education is easier than ever to share or acquire through the internet. This specific website is intended for this teacher's classroom, however, with the internet anybody can share great resources for free. A website with a simple interface is totally fine as long as it is helpful and reliable. With the internet, you don't need corporation funding to help many people.

URL if you are interested!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Low Cost Educational Power of Movies

There has been a boom in the usage of technological resources this year at my school. The majority of my teachers set up Google Classrooms, and now most of my projects include some use of technology. Recently, both my English and History teachers assigned a movie project. Basically, I have to watch movies for both classes and complete a project pertaining to the movies. yay! In English, I am watching 2001: A Space Odyssey and in History I am watching Selma (2014).

Many may think of movies as a way to relax and rest after a long day of work or a form of entertainment. However, we must not miss the opportunity that education may bring. Teachers in schools are not just assigning movies for fun, they know for a fact that movies are a great educational resource for students who may be more of a visual learner or simply not a fan of reading.

So, if a teacher assigns a movie, it's obviously something that is not  just watched  in a carefree manner. Many movies are based upon sociopolitical/historical context and taking notes on these subjects is a great way to enrich one's knowledge. The best part about a movie is that it provides a visual perception that is (hopefully) accurate to historical context. In a simple book with no visuals, sometimes misperceptions could arise (not that there aren't pros as well to a simple book).

The movie Selma (2014) is a great example of learning about historical events. This movie is based upon a voting rights march in 1965 for African Americans from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama. The movie provides a great depiction of the historical march.

Movies are great, and now so is accessing them. With advanced technology and the internet, they have become a much cheaper resource. My preferred method of watching a movie is borrowing it from the public library within my county. Many libraries around the nation now offer not just a variety of books, but also a wide variety of films to be checked out free of charge. My library even offers to buy you the resource,free of charge if it is not available within their system. If a library cannot be accessed or if the resource is not within the library, you can also use moderately priced online services such as Netflix. Instead of buying two movies, I simply used my local library system and watched the movies for free. 

Movies are a great educational resource which provide a visual learning experience that is exciting and educational. Many teachers today are now assigning and using movies to educate their students. Not only is the experience fun and educational, there are now many ways to watch a movie at a very low cost at home.