Tag Archives: students

Turn off the computer?

Unplugged?At the risk of having rotten tomatoes thrown at me, and being ostracised from the blogging community, here is something that occurred to me today in class. 

I was lecturing/encouraging/suggesting that my students devote some time over this coming 3-day weekend to revision for their upcoming mock exams.  I went further and advised them to turn off their phones and computers while doing so.  To devote some uninterrupted time to active learning of the material they will be tested on, without the “distraction” of email, texts, internet, SMS, facebook, etc.  Was this bad advice?  I don’t think so.  Yes they can benefit from an online community of fellow students, help each other understand concepts, get ideas from peers, but I think there has to come a time when they need to focus purely on the revision and not multitask.  Am I expecting too much from them in asking them to do this when they are so used to being connected 24/7?  Is there a new, more effective way to revise material that I don’t yet know about?

I’m ducking behind my computer here!

Image from http://z.hubpages.com/u/136804_f260.jpg

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Biology + technology = biotechnology?

The thing is, having been a biology teacher for some 17 [eek!] years, I have seen a lot of changes in syllabi and curricula with respect to incorporating new aspects of biotechnology.  But I am noticing a massive shift, much more recently, in the use, application, relevance and importance of actual information technology in my biology classroom.  The more I learn, the more I realise I have to learn.  This is both exciting and daunting at the same time.

Let me elaborate….

It used to be, not so very long ago, that preparing a powerpoint presentation including images and even videos, was considered quite progressive.  Nowadays this is not only passe, but considered poor teaching.  Booking a computer lab for students to research infomation on the web is almost unnecessary, as they show up to class with laptops at the ready.  Watching dated videos is a thing of the past.  Even many “wet” labs are being replaced with bigger and better online simulations that allow students to manipulate and control a wider range of variables.  This saves lengthy experimental set-ups, clear away time, and the inevitable inexplicable results that ensue.  I am reminded here of that old science teacher adage “If it smells, it’s chemistry.  If it moves, it’s biology.  If it doesn’t work, it’s physics.”

Back to the point…

So, with students who are tech savvy, it is vital for teachers to keep up – or at least attempt to keep up – with the latest technology out there.  I feel the need to learn how I can improve my teaching using all these exciting new tools.  I find myself ready to adapt lessons I have taught 17 times before, and bring them into the 21st century.  So in my classroom, biology and technology will become the new biotechnology.

This led me to conduct some research – again – the internet at my fingertips and within 10 mins of searching I have links to several wonderful websites and the opportunity to expand my PLN (shameful new term name-dropping).  Here is one of the more interesting posts I came across.

 http://onceateacher.wordpress.com/2009/01/28/blooms-taxonomy-20/

I like this blog  for what she has to say – and there must be some kind of deeper connection as I chose the identical theme when setting up this blog.

To conclude then, not only can my learning about teaching biology through the use of technology improve my students learning, it can help me grow to. 

This is fun.

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