Sunday, July 29, 2012

Reflections of the last six weeks

The last six weeks of the summer have flown bye. During that time I have spent two of those weeks in Montana (taking two classes at MSU) and four weeks in Greece (visiting family). It has truly amazed me about the ability to take an online class from anywhere in the world. I never really had a sense of that until I took this class and have spent time in multiple locations in Greece on my computer. The only downside to an online courses is you have to have an internet connection. I was in western Greece at a hotel that only had internet connection outside, which generally is not a problem unless there are swarms of mosquitoes. Needless to say, got dozens of mosquito bites working on this class over the few days I was in western Greece.

Before this class, I had investigated and looked into using more web tools in my class, but did not have any idea about how many different kinds of tools were available. I think the most incredible part is that the vast majority of these web tools are free. I do not believe that I could have found as many different websites on my own, but with the use of a community of teachers, we have been able to find websites from all over(throughout the class I have made a google doc so that I can keep track of tools that I found particularly useful to my classroom).

I was also stunned by the number of online teaching networks. I have joined a few, especially those related to the Flipped Classroom (since I am very seriously thinking about adopting this style for my chemistry class). There is a ton of information that these communities of teachers have amassed on their websites. I have also found Diigo to be good, as I signed up for an education account. (It was a little hard to figure out at first and I am not a fan of the browser application, but it is a decent site). They send me a daily email about education related websites. Through the emails from Diigo, I have been pointed to some great websites. 

I am looking forward to sharing these websites with my colleagues, both in the science department and in other departments when we return from the summer. I think using online tools can really help to engage students as well as give students an additional resource outside the classroom. 

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