Sunday, January 23, 2011

Technology to the Rescue while I'm out for jury duty


I've been selected to serve on a jury here in Connecticut. The case is only supposed to run for about 5 days, so I won't be out of the classroom that long. However, I don't like missing school for any reason. So, I'm very thankful for the technology resources I have in my classroom and the fact that I have been using them with my students all along.

The case is tentatively slated to start this coming Wednesday, so I have two days in school to layout the plans for the sub and get organized. I've been working on the plans this weekend, and realized that things weren't changing much from what I would have been doing with them if I was in the class. The only real difference will be that I won't be physically in the classroom to give real-time feedback and guidance to the students and I won't be doing the short topic lectures that I usually do for each topic.

My AP Physics students are working on the unit on Sound and the Physics class is working on the unit on Universal Gravitation. The AP Physics class will be reading the chapter in the textbook and doing problem sets. Both classes will be using websites and Multimedia Science School (MSS) software to further explore and understand the topic. The websites and MSS software have self paced lessons on the topics, with problem solving practice, virtual interactive labs, videos, and demonstrations of the concepts.

I will be communicating with the students via the class blog, and will be communicating with the sub and my colleagues via email to monitor their progress and address any issues or questions. My department is very good at looking in on classes with subs and assisting with any issues. The class blog will also be used for students to submit their work, ask questions, and receive answers and help from me. Normally, I would use the blog for all of this, but I would also be in the classroom to answer questions and give guidance to the students as they work. Instead, I will have to answer questions and give guidance in a delayed time format via the blog each evening. My students all subscribe to the blog so that they get updates when I post new things or respond to comments. They also contact me via school email for questions and issues so we are able to expand their learning beyond the normal school day.

They'll also be watching some great videos on Discovery Education that relate to the topic.

I also maintain a class web site that has resources, links, handouts, and more on it. I post solutions to work along with the lecture notes that I use.

Technology will keep my students learning and exploring as I am absent from the classroom and not cause the typical wasted days and busy work that many students experience when their teacher is absent from the class.

I am very excited and intellectually curious to experience our justice system 1st hand and am very happy that I can do this and still educate my students because of technology.

AP Physics Class Blog
Physics Class Blog
Class Resource Site
Multimedia Science School Software

What are your experiences with activities for your students when you are absent from school?