Friday, April 30, 2010

Google Earth (NETS-T I, III, V)

The picture below is an image of the La Jolla Half Marathon Route created in Google Earth.  In Google Earth, there is actually a movie that was created that talks the listener through the race route.  The route includes two placemarks (the start line and the finish line) and the addition of a photo overlay to the start line placemark.

Ed Tech Profile (NETS-T II, V)

At the beginning of class, an Ed Tech Profile was created by students to assess the technology baseline.  Below is my personal profile baseline for using technology in the classroom.  As a techie-at-heart, my baseline is nearly proficient in all areas.  After going back to look at the assessment, I believe that ED422 has given me many tools to bring Category 5 (teacher designs, adapts, and uses lessons which address the students' needs to develop information skills) to a proficient level. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Are You a Chemistry Geek? Crossword Puzzle in Excel (NETS-T I, II & III)

Are You a Chem Geek Crossword
This is a picture of the crossword puzzle with answers created in Microsoft Excel that is based around basic chemistry concepts.  Scroll down to see the clues to the answers and an empty crossword puzzle.  In the actual Microsoft Excel document, the clues will appear as the user hovers the mouse over the first letter of the word.  Another added feature in the original file is set up so that when the student fills out the crossword puzzle with the correct answer the letter appears green and if the answer is incorrect the letter shows up red. 

View Chemistry Crossword on Scribd

JCCS Internet Safety Collaborate Google Document (NETS-T III, IV, V)

JCCS Internet Safety This collaborative Google document written by a team of five classmates summarizes learnings from research done on the JCCS Internet Safety Website.  The document also includes examples of our results after completing a sample assignment from the various internet safety topics.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Anti-Hate Movie - Public Service Announcement (NETS-T I, III, IV, V)

This is a Public Service Announcement (PSA) movie against Sexual Orientation Hate Crimes; filmed on location at the Cal. State San Marcos Campus. The movie was made using the iMovie application from Apple. Click on the play button below to start the movie.

To see another iMovie made by Michele Weinhouse & Family click here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wiki Page as part of CSUSM Web 2.0 Tools for Educators - (NETS-T I, II, III, V)

This is a creation of a personal Wiki Page discussing new digital technology called "OpenZine." The OpenZine Wiki page, also accessible under "Presentation Tools," is part of a CSUSM website, called CSUSM Web 2.0 Tools for Educators, that features a variety of Web 2.0 Tools with potential applications in education. The website is a great resource that reviews many new tools that includes a discription, an example and a suggestion on the application of the tool in the classroom.

My Wiki includes an evaluation of an online application, called OpenZine which allows one to publish an online magazine. Displayed below is an example of a my online magazine inviting students to explore the chemistry world. Click on the OpenZine below to access my online magazine.

michele64w - Topics of interest to the High School Chem Student

Create Your OpenZine

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Inspiration (NETS-T I, II, III)

Inspiration is a program which allows the user to brainstorm ideas by building upon a thought and mapping the connections between them.  This is very similar to the Collaborative Idea Mapping I wrote about in my Journal #6 (using software) with the exception that Inspiration is neither collaborative nor free.  However, Inspiration does have more user-desirable features than  You can download Inspiration for a free 30-day trial.

Using Inspiration, I am able to map out how my completed EDUC 422 assignments are artifacts that meet the various 2008 NETS for Teachers and describe how they meet the NETS criteria. This assignment meets the third NETS for Teachers: Model Digital-Age Work and Learning by modelling and facilitating effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Journal #10: Point/Counterpoint - Is Internet Access a Basic Human Right? (NETS-T IV,V)

Bernasconi and Maxlow. (2010, March/April). Point/counterpoint - is internet access a basic human right?. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(6), Retrieved from

Summary:  Learning and Leading with Technology poses a very interesting question about Internet Access—Is it a basic human right? In 2009, France declared access to the Internet to be a fundamental human right. And today, educators and others in the U.S. are wondering if the right to a free public education shouldn’t be extended to Internet access. Two opposing opinions were given in the article. Natalie Bernasconi says, “yes” and quotes Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to substantiate her stance: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Bernasconi points out that recent change in our society’s democratic process with Barack Obama’s grassroots effort to mobilize voters using the internet. For our nation next generation to achieve its potential human capacity access to the internet is essential.

James Maxlow, opposes this view and states that internet access is not a basic human right because access to the internet can aid in obtaining the basic human rights but it is just one of many tools available to do so. Maxlow argues that basic human rights are not invented as new technologies surface.

Q1. Why does society have to be concerned about this either way?

A1. By stating yes, society will create laws and policies based on the basic human right to access the internet. As in education, schools were set up to ensure teaching of children the democratic process of our society. Thomas Jeffereson believed the future and success of our country are coupled to having an educated populous. As with education, the analogous will happen with internet access. If not a basic human right, access to the internet will remain a tool available to everyone but no structure or policy will be put in place to ensuring access.

Q2. Society has many tools it uses to ensure its survival without claiming to be a basic human right. Why is the internet different?

A2. In further discussion about the topic, educators such as Robert McLaughlin writes, the internet is important because ‘…so many facets of life in developed societies and, increasingly developing nations, are heavily reliant on connectivity.” Donna Murdoch argues that, “Broadband [tools such as the internet] is to this country today what indoor plumbing and electric lights were not long ago. It can be an equalizer between town and country and provide opportunities in education to rural and homebound people that they would otherwise not have. It levels the playing field for businesses.” If it is that powerful a tool, shouldn’t everyone have the right to have access to the internet? Society must decide if the internet is a basic human right and ask ourselves if it is not then will we put our country and future generations at a severe global disadvantage?

Journal #9: Grounded Tech Integration: Science (NETS-T I, II, III, IV,V)

(Note: This is a replacement article to "Playing with Skype")

Blanchard, Harris and Hofer. (2010, March/April). Grounded tech integration: science. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(6), Retrieved from

Summary:  With all the different technologies available to a science teacher (e.g., interactive boards, probeware, simulations), the challenge becomes when to use what technology and where to use it in one's curriculum. The authors, Blanchard, Harris, and Hofer, offer this piece of advice: first plan one's instructional objectives and then decide which technology fits the objective—not the other way around. To help with identifying and matching the technology to curriculum the authors developed a wiki ( to help educators do just that in a variety of subjects including science. This article is the sixth article in a series of grounded technology integration in Learning and Leading with Technology. On the wiki, the authors have identified 38 science learning activity types to the expression and building of science concepts and knowledge. An example given for a knowledge-building activity is observing phenomena matched to digital microscopes, a conceptual knowledge-building activity. An example given of a knowledge-expression activity is writing a report to which the authors matched the use podcast technology. Judi Harris led a session at Margaret Blanchard’s SMART Teacher workshop in 2009 to help teachers avoid the “technology first” danger. At the workshop, three teachers learned first-hand how to incorporate the technology into their curriculum. After ascertaining the learning goals for their unit, the teachers built a curriculum by selecting and combining the learning activities that best helped the students achieve the learning goals. Some of the teachers decided to use a portable interactive whiteboard to determine prior subject knowledge and have the students present their initial model to the class by projecting from their tablets. Next, using a whiteboard, the students watched a presentation available from pertinent websites. Working with partners, the teachers had the students further enhance their learning by carrying out detailed online research and use spreadsheets or LoggerPro software to organize data. The students’ research findings would be presented using Flip cameras and/or podcasting and then posted on the classroom website. Finally, an exam review game would be played on an interactive whiteboard. The conclusion from the teachers after developing the unit was a consensus that the students would be more engaged in this unit being taught with the incorporated technologies outlined above rather than solely from a lecture.

Q1. Technology is continually changing, how can a teacher keep pace?

A1. The authors’ wiki page offers a way to share ideas amongst teachers to help grow new technology, refine outdated information and revise existing technology knowledge. By filling out an online survey, ideas to curriculum and technology can be easily updated to the site.

Q2. What if I don’t have all the technology available to me in my classroom?

A2. The integration will still work if one’s only choice is incorporating a small part of a technology component to an existing program. The wiki helps in identifying different ways to incorporate the technology into a variety of curricula. For instance, a simple PowerPoint presentation can be used by the teacher to present ideas and subject matter, by the student for presenting solutions to problems to his or her classmates and posting to a website to share with others. Engaging the student by utilizing this technology is key to his or her learning and builds good technology skills. The authors’ wiki identifies some obvious and non-obvious ways to matching technology (new and old) to the teacher’s curricula.

Journal #8: Navigate the Digital Rapids (NETS-T I, II, III, IV, V)

Lindsay and Davis. (2010, March/April). Navigate the digital rapids. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(6), Retrieved from

Summary:  A vital component of being a 21st teacher in a 21st century classroom is incorporating technology, especially the internet, into the curriculum. The difficulty as a 21st teacher is being able to do so in an environment that changes faster than it takes to understanding the new technology and its potential hazards. However, the authors, Lindsay and Davis, reassure teachers that they are not alone and there has been enough learned from those currently navigating the digital world to avoid some of the pitfalls. The authors give seven tips to the reader for transforming a teacher into a professional who researches and assesses trends, monitors and understands the use of the technology to ultimately empower student-centered learning. The first tip is to customize the tools. By customizing tools, teachers can avoid technology that is not one-size-fits-all and make it fit curricula, standards and the students learning environment. The second tip is to monitor and be engaged when utilizing educational networks in a professional manner and by participating in those networks so that you can monitor your students. The third tip is to have a plan of what to do when students break rules. What was comforting to know is that the authors found that they have not had to ban very many students from the educational networks. The fourth tip is to overcome the fear factor when allowing students to develop their digital citizenship. One comforting thought the authors mention is that there are others before you that have gone through the same and so there are networks, discussion groups, and other teachers at your school that you can turn to for advice and from whom you can learn. The fifth tip is dealing with objections of using the internet by parents and others for fear the internet is unsafe. Educating the proper and safe use of the internet teaches student how to behave responsibly on the internet. In addition, privacy protection can be incorporated and made age-appropriate. The sixth tip is to allow the students to stray off topic as this can enable creative thinking and a positive learning experience as long as the students practice good digital citizenship. The seventh and final tip is to put the learning in the hands of students by allowing them to have administrative permissions.

Developing good internet practices and creating a positive digital learning environment as soon as a student begins his or her digital experience enables the student to graduate from high school with a positive digital footprint. The authors predict that it is only a matter of time before colleges will begin requesting hyperlinks for e-portfolios and other work online.

Q1. Is there an existing global internet program that students and teachers could incorporate into the classroom?

A1. The authors suggested and started a global program called the Flat Classroom Project ( This program connects teachers and students with the same worldwide. The program topics are based on the book by Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat. Students analyze the trends of information technology and their effects. Teachers blog, use Nings to share personal learnings, and collaborate on wikis. The result is a “flattening” of classroom walls as classes from different parts of the globe join to become one large classroom.

Q2. The authors mention the possibility of a digital trend where colleges will begin requesting to see a student’s e-portfolios, how would an internet project in middle school impact that?

A2. When a student becomes involved in a project that allows for creative exploration and enrichment of his or her learning experience and can document that through internet artifacts (e.g., blog, wiki, website), these artifacts not only become available for others to use and learn from but are proof of the student’s contribution to the internet and in some cases to society. The authors go on to say that careful consideration of privacy practices should be examined because, in some cases, deleting information posted to the school website may delete a student’s digital and academic legacy. Could any of us have known how powerful a pedagogical tool the internet has become? Who knows where the next generation will take us or where a project that started in middle school and evolves throughout high school can go?!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Journal #7: The Beginner’s Guide to Interactive Virtual Trips (NETS-T I, II, III, IV,V)

Zanetis, J. (2010, March). The Beginner's guide to interactive virtual field trips. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(6), Retrieved from

Summary:  Saying the words “Field Trip” to students usually always evokes excitement. What student doesn’t want to take a break from the ordinary classroom day and experience the real world? Teachers like field trips because they solidify the curriculum in the student’s mind. However, how many students/schools can afford the airline ticket to NASA or the Great Barrier Reef? Virtual field trips (VTFs) bring opportunities for a classroom to travel beyond the borders of the school campus. This article points out two types of VFTs: asynchronous and synchronous. The basic difference is the delivery of asynchronous VFTs is not in real time, whereas synchronous is. Asynchronous VFTs are devoted to a specific topic with technology that incorporates text, audio, podcast and/or streaming video. There is a lot of variability in the quality and relevance of these types of VFTs. Synchronous VFTs are interactive VFTs. In real-time, students can interact with onsite experts who share their organizations’ resources in engaging ways. Engagement comes from the medium itself, connecting the content to the curriculum and having the students ask questions directly to and receive answers from experts. Lesson and materials can be targeted to grade level and students’ level. However, synchronous VFTs have hardware requirements that schools may not have readily available. This also means that your school's technology coordinator needs to help set up videoconferencing that needs to be h.323 compatible with IP-based connections. The bottom line is having the ability to view, interact and learn, whether with an asynchronous or synchronous VFT, about places that the student would never have been able to "go" is a huge advantage over learning about it in a book.

Q1. Where does one find asynchronous and asynchronous VFTs?
A1. In the article, Zanetis lists the following of the asynchronous websites: - E-Field Trips hosts electronic field trips. These field trips consists of 4 parts: a Trip Journal, the Virtual Visit consisting of a streaming video, an Ask the Expert tool and a hosted Web chat. - The Access Excellence Resource Center focuses on science- and health-related VFTS with online labs. - Gail Lovely's site proed a hot-linked list which is organized into live journey, interactive environments, travelogues, e-museums, and more.

The following are the synchronous websites Zanetis lists and were the 2008-09 Award-winning VFTs:
Adventures in Medicine & Sicence (AIMS) Program of Saint Louis University (
Center for Puppetry Arts (
Cleveland Institue of Music (
Cleveland Museum of Natural History (
George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate (
Hank Fincken: A National Theatre Company of One (
HealthSpace (now part of Cleaveland Museum of Natural History) (
Life Science Education Center at Marian college (
Louisville Science Center (
Mote Marine Laboratory (
NASA Digital Learning Network (Kennedy Space Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Johnson Space Center, and Goddard Space Flight Center) (
The National WWII Museum (
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) (
The Paley Center for Media (
Reef HQ Aquarium in Australia (
Virent Boradcasting Company (

Q2. What if my school does not h.323 videoconferencing technology?
A2. Besides the usual fundraising and approaching your PTA group, Zanetis offers another suggestion. 30% of schools may already have installed large-group videoconferencing equipment. Check to see if your school is one of those schools. You may be one of the lucky ones.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NET-S Collaborative Powerpoint Presentation Rubric (NETS-T II, III, V)

This rubric was collaboratively created in RCampus to evaluate the NETS-S Presentation assignment. In RCampus, one can create educational tools such as rubrics, websites and e-portfolios and share with others with a RCampus account. In addition, RCampus provides embedding codes to post on websites and/or blogs for other ways to share the rubric with students, teachers and parents.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Journal #6: Classroom 2.0 - Collaborative Idea Maps (NETS-T I, II, III)

An idea map is a way to document the progression of one's ideas. This can be part of a brainstorming exercise or a well thought out plan. In the idea map, all ideas are place in a "box" of some sort. Any boxes that are related are connected, the boxes can be connected to more than one box or fall in a hierachy to one another. A collaborative idea map is one that more than one person works on together. What's great about this technology is that a collaborative idea map can be built upon by more than one person and as the idea grows it is documented along the way. This is a great way to share ideas in a group homework assignment and also allow for the Teacher to comment and make suggestions along the way. As you can see it can also be embedded in a classroom blog to be shared and perhaps even further collaborated.

I evaluated technology from I found the program intuitive. As my example, I used a current group project I'm doing for my Education 350 class. In I typed out some of the ideas that were part of our brainstorming exercise for our project idea. I can now share this with those in my group and they can add their ideas to it, correct anything I miss interpreted and place any new ideas on the idea map. If requested, I could share this with our professor so that he can give us feedback. We can use this as a way to divide up the work and figure out our time allotment for each section of our presentation. The ability to collaborate without having to be in the same room is a positive and negative. Positive because if group members are not able to get together physically, the work can still get done. Negative because communication is always key to a successful collobration. When technology is used in place of real conversation, gaps can occur in misinterpretations, misunderstandings and communication spurring on more ideas. In some of the discussion on Classroom 2.0, some teachers did not see how they could apply this to their own classroom. Ben Davis, started the Collaborative Idea Maps discussion, offers suggestions and examples to show the applications usefulness. He also walks through step by step instructions to setting up an account so that you can test out the software.

In more discussions, there was mention of other Idea Map programs such as FreeMind and MindMeister, CMap and Moodle. However, FreeMind is not webbased and MindMeister is lacking in some features and better in others. CMap and Moodle look like very good programs but more time consuming to figure out than What gets me excited about the software is the level of interest that teachers observed their students had in using the program. Always a plus for me to find ways to engage my students. One drawback would be for those classrooms and students with limited access to computers and the internet. What I like about idea maps is the ability to record free thinking yet having some organization as well as the fact that I can't lose my idea, unless I forget my password....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Prezi NETS-Students Presentation (NETS-T I, II, III, IV, V)

This presentation describes an activity that will help students learn about a chemistry concept, research the concept through various media including but not exclusive of online information, and provide an opportunity to teach other students about that concept. The activity will help students meet the NETS-Students standards. This presentation utilizes a relatively new presentation tool called "Prezi."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Journal 5: Five Steps to an Accessible Classroom Website (NETS-T I, III, IV, V)

Amundson, L. (2009, November). Five steps to an accessible classroom website. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(3), Retrieved from

Creating a classroom website is a great way for a school or teacher to stay connected to students. However, navigating a website can be confusing and cumbersome especially for those with disabilities, limited knowledge of the Internet or a dysfunctional mouse. There are five steps to ensure that your classroom website is accessible. Step one is to organize your website for easier navigation by using headers, choosing colors that contrast well in gray scale and keeping the websites pages all uniform. Step two is to set up your website so that navigation can be done without a mouse by using the Tab key. In step three, use text explanations for images, sound and video. Step four is using text in your website links that makes sense. Finally, in step five, use a Web validator to evaluate your website.

Q. Why is it important to ensure accessibility of one’s website?
A. Not all users are familiar with the Internet and how most websites function. Following the five steps will allow users to easily navigate to the information they are looking for and access it more quickly. Students with disabilities may not be able to use a mouse or vision impaired (even color-blindness) can have difficulties navigating through some websites. Step two allows students unable to use a mouse to tab through headers and get to the items they need without a mouse. Even students who normally have no problems accessing the website may find they need improved accessibility when they break their arm or for some reason have only an iPhone to access the website. How many times have we gone to a website where the images are turned off? Ensuring that text is associated with the images will allow navigation even when the image is not viewable. In addition, by making following the five steps, the website is not only accessible to those with limitations (physical, temporary or technical) but it will also make the improve the utilization of the website for all students.

Q. What is a Web validator?
A. A web validator is a web validation tool that can evaluate the accessibility of your website. Tools such as Cynthia Says at, WAVE at, and Test Accesibilidad Web at are applications that you can use to assess the accessibility of your website. In addition, a Web validator can be a person you select such as someone with a disability to test how well they can navigate your website and provide you with feedback. And, of course, you can also test the website yourself by turning off the sound or images or use a gray-scale setting to see if navigation is still reasonable.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Social Bookmarking with (NETS-T I, II, III, V)

Eight educationally relevant websites have been included as social bookmarks on my account.  Each website is linked and described below.
#1 National Archives: “Looking Back on the American Century,” a photographic exhibit at the Harry S. Truman Museum and Library in Missouri

The 20th century is the century that the United States establishes itself as a preeminent world power. This exhibit brings to the student primary sources of a variety of photographs of events or people that made the 20th century so important. Access to these primary sources is much more important to students as a learning tool because seeing that actual items can relate the history to visual learners much easier than reading in a text book. It brings realism to the student learning about Eleanor Roosevelt, the dropping of the atomic bomb and the significance of Sputnik by reading a newspaper article. It shows not only the significance of the event but the person behind the name, the vastness and power of the detonation of the atomic bomb and the sentiments of the American public of the launch of Sputnik. For many students, it is easier to understand and retain a history from a picture than from text.

#2 National Education Association

The National Education Association website lists those students at highest risk for experiencing an achievement gap are students belonging to racial and ethnic minorities (such as American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos, and Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender people); English language learners; students with disabilities; boys in the early years and girls in high school math and science; and students from low-income families.
Coming from corporate America, I’m a true believer in mission statements and in making sure the mission statement of my employer or school is in sync with my own. Having a common goal that the whole community believes in and strives for brings it together and provides a common thread through it from which to build strength and unity. If my school has a weak or non-existent culturally competent mission statement only because it has not done so formally (otherwise why would I be teaching there), I would form a committee that would address that shortfall. This cultural competence committee would not only be a part of re-writing the school’s mission statement to include a cultural competence but also to insure that it is an integral component of all the school’s activities. In addition, have the mission stated to include cultural competence gives students structure for how to behave and model themselves in more ethnically difficult issues. Students look to the teachers and administrators to set the standards and students need to know the direction to follow.

I would welcome the opportunity to either offer my room and/or time to gather and organize resource materials related to culturally diverse groups for use by school staff and student groups. In becoming a more culturally competent educator, having the resources readily available is very important for several reasons. The first is the need to educate others. Providing a resource to staff and students will invite them to learn more and propagate the message. In addition, as more teachers become proficient in becoming a culturally competent educator, they will discover new ways that work for them and sharing that knowledge by making it an available resource provides an opportunity to collaborate and improve materials. Lastly, it is so frustrating to someone new to a culturally competent philosophy to not know where to go to gather materials or discuss ideas. Designating a room/teacher allows me to take ownership so that can be that “go to” person.

As designated resource and gatherer of resources for my school, I would make sure my resources included a network of "natural helpers" at school and in the community as well as "experts" who have knowledge of the culturally, linguistically, racially, and ethnically diverse groups served by your school. In addition, having those resources of helpers and experts available to staff and students would play a huge role in the success of a culturally competent program. There are so many within our own community that can qualify for these roles. Natural helpers would be students from the ethnically diverse student population can be interviewed and play a role in activities. Parents and businesses could be utilized as experts about their culture and be asked to come in and speak to classes and answer questions from students. Things from home, such as artifacts used in everyday life, which are unique to one’s culture, can be easily brought in to tell about one’s culture. This can be done on a very small scale such as in individual classrooms or in larger venues such as an assembly for the whole school community.

#3 Stop Cyber Bullying

After reading about cyber bullying for the first time, I was appalled but not completely surprised about the occurrence of bullying of a person on the internet. As with the discovery of all new technology comes the responsibility to use it for the betterment and not detriment of mankind. The website not only defines cyber bullying but also goes into some strategies for teachers and schools to educate students, parents and teacher; resources such as; pointers on internet-related risk management; community programs; and recruiting students to help promote internet safety within their school. One recommendation for schools is to be proactive by outlining an acceptable use policy which reserves the right to discipline the student for actions taken off-campus if those actions are intended to adversely affect a student or the safety and well-being of a student while in school. In addition, when cyber bullying does occur keeping a level head and trying to involve parents, teachers and the student in the resolution is key in getting past the emotions of the defamatory behavior.

#4 Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators

Kathy Schrock’s website is a wealth of information on many subjects all available on one resource. Because I’ll be teaching high school chemistry, I of course, looked at her scientific/chemistry links. Although I found some of the links on her site were outdated and no longer worked, the list of resources was still useful. I was particularly interested in freeware and the site provided a variety of links from academia specifically useful to chemistry educators. There was also much more available from commercial sources if the cyber sleuth was willing to pay a price. I found the Teacher Helpers section not too helpful for high school chemistry teachers but there were a few interactive pages that had chemistry and scientific themes. Those pages can be used as part of a chemistry-technology exercise for students. It will be a site that I will use as a future resource as a first step in carrying out chemistry pedagogy research.

#5 Movie - Big Thinkers: Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner, the Harvard professor who first unveiled his eight multiple intelligences, speaks about understanding multiple intelligences and how that should influence teaching. His theory on multiple intelligence stated what many teachers already knew about students and learning; that all students do not learn in one way. Therefore, Gardner states that for students to retain what they are learning teachers need to teach in different ways. He goes on to say that he doesn’t believe that a teacher needs to teach eight different ways but that if there are students not learning, the teacher should make the proper adjustment to reach that child by teaching in another way. Gardner believes that there are too many subjects being taught and not much depth to those subjects. He would like to see more time spent in understanding the concept behind subjects. For instance, details of physics, biology and chemistry can wait until college but rather students should be taught to think “scientifically.” Gardner believes that school assessments should be more transparent for both teacher and students. Thereby, students will be able to carry-out their own self-assessments. They should be taking tests with known expectations just as how a football player always knows what his coach is expecting of him. On education reform, Gardner feels that four things need to be in place. First, the need for good examples of students to show it can work. Second, reform needs an administration supportive of teachers wanting to reform. Third, there needs to be a way to assess the progress of reforming (not the old multiple-choice option) and finally, a political commitment to reforming the educational structure.

#6 Teaching Tolerance

Relating tolerance to something as basic and well-liked as ice cream is a connection that I felt all my high school students could relate so I selected the topic, “What does ice cream have to do with controversy?” Students are given a list of a variety of items, concepts or titles (ice cream, boiled okra, professional, athletes, jazz, opera, rock 'n' roll, rap/hip hop, lawyers). They are to move to an area designated by the numbers 1-10 based on how much they like each one with 9-10 being love it and 1-2 being dislike it. They are to move with eyes open and no talking. In all cases, even ice cream, not everyone agrees. It is pointed out that specific issues may come up during the course or school year and as a class we should expect a diversity of opinion and experiences. The class is instructed to respect those differences in opinions. In the future when everyone cannot agree, the class is reminded that a discrepancy shouldn’t be surprising since the class can’t even agree on ice cream!

#7 Multicultural Education Equity Awareness Quiz on Ed Change Website

I discovered that I know very little about multicultural education equity as I received only 5 correct answers out of a total of fifteen questions. In some of the questions, I had answered close to the correct answer but two of my answers were surprisingly wrong. The answer that African American women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than White women due to inaccessibility to prenatal services. Why should that be? There are programs (such as Women, Infants and Children, WIC) in place for women in low-income families to receive prenatal services. There shouldn’t be this high statistic and I am curious as to why it is so high. Closely related is the surprising statistic on the United States and the United Kingdom rates as the two worst countries for treatment of children of the 23 wealthiest countries in the world. I believed that the U.S. treated its children well and to find out we are the worst of the 23 wealthiest countries make me question where do we spend our money? Perhaps question six (we spend the most of any country in the world on our military) can shed some light on that answer.

#8 Netiquette Guidelines :{}

Although I scored perfectly on the Nettiquette Quiz, it was only because I had read about the core rules as well as other pages on the website prior to taking the test. 8-] I would not have done so well prior. I could have benefitted by knowing some of the core rules in my previously career in corporate America. Thinking about a human at the other end of the email or “taking 5” before sending would have avoided a lot of unnecessary conflicts. :@ Damage control is so much more time consuming that proactive training. Students have an advantage today to learn from the mistakes my generation has made on the internet as there was not Netiquette Guidelines when I first started using the internet. :^D Being cognizant of the recipient’s time and using the technology with respect for the human(s) on the other end is reflective upon oneself. Perhaps the Netiquette Guidelines will soon expand to include chewing with one’s mouth closed when utilizing the web cams that currently comes standard on most computers. :->

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Classroom Newsletter (NETS-T I, II, III)

This is a mock up of a potential classroom newsletter created with Microsoft Word. The newsletter will focus on chemistry factoids that may not make it into my classroom lecture but are fun and interesting enough to teenagers worth the mention in a supplemental communication. The newsletter will also act as a way to communicate with the students and parents about my classroom activities, news and reminders.

Mz. W's Periodical

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Journal 4: Finding Students Who Learn with Media (NETS-T I, II, III, V)

Bull, G. (2010, February). Finding students who learn with media. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(5), Retrieved from

Summary: By accessing primary source documents such as those found at the Smithsonian and Library Congress websites, a teacher, utilizing free web-based authoring tools, can incorporate that media into his or her curriculum to enhance a student’s learning. A pilot study using PrimaryAccess Storyboard was carried out by teachers. The researchers: Bull, Alexander and Ferster gained a better understanding of how teachers can best integrate software such as PrimaryAccess with their curriculum to enhance a student’s learning. Two free authoring tools: PrimaryAccess Movie Maker ( and PrimaryAccess Story Board ( allows students to create an historical movie in three class periods and a visual narrative in one class period, respectively. The storyboard version was developed to provide teachers access to similar, yet restricted, media because their students will have less time to devote to the project. The results of student engagement varied from engagement to both the historical content and storyboarding activity to engagement in neither.

Q1: Why were the results for engaged students so varied?
A1: Students in a classroom are made up of different types of learners. What the researchers found was that 40% of the students who were engaged in both the storyboard technology and the historical content of the assignment showed more higher-order thinking and creativity. Students who showed higher affinity for the historical content of the assignment are those students who preferred a more traditional task such as writing an essay. Students who were found to be more engaged in the technology and not the history lesson needed more assistance in content mastery. Finally, 15% of the students who were disengaged will need another technique for learning the history material.

Q2: Why are there two types of Web-based authoring tools?
A2: There are two types of Web-based authoring tools: PrimaryAccess Movie Maker and PrimaryAccess Story Board to allow the teacher two options to best integrate into their curriculum as part of the formal school setting. The first, PrimaryAccess Movie Maker, is used over three periods to create a short historical documentary: one period is dedicated to creating the outline, storyboard and script; the second period to put together the media and edit and the third period to add in the narration, text and music. The second tool, PrimaryAccess Storyboard is used in a single period to create a visual historical narrative. It contains fewer features to create the more specific narrative. An advantage for utilizing either tool is that both eliminate overhead that is usually associated with conventional editor of digital video and reduce class time to learn how to master movie-making software. Some teachers may already devote three classes to a particular curriculum and so adding on an addition three classes to create a documentary may not be a realistic option. However, the shorter version can still give the student the opportunity and experience to author the simpler narrative.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jounal 3: Keeping the Peace (NETS-T II, IV, V)

Levinson, M. (2010, February). Keeping the Peace. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(5), Retrieved from

Summary: The article discusses a lesson learned from Nueva Middle School in Hillsborough, California which launched a one-to-one program (one laptop for every child) in 2007. An issue arose on instant messaging splitting the school into two camps of students and parents. After teachers found students abused the use of video chatting (iChat) during class time and some parents became concerned about the appropriateness of the technology at home, the school blocked iChatting on the school laptops. There was a severe outcry from the students and some parents against the ban. Levinson’s lesson to his readers is to better prepare the community (students about the new technology) with open communication between all. Opportunities for communication have been put in place some of which include a boot camp for incoming sixth graders, a partnership with Common Sense Media, and parent education workshops. Avoiding having to take away the technology prior to implementation of the one-to-one initiative would have also avoided an unnecessary uproar of opposing concerns from the community.

Q1: Why did the school decide to have video chatting at the get-go? Most new laptops come standard with web cams—to give user the ability to carry out web chatting. There are several free on-line web chatting options available. The problem wasn’t with having the feature it was that the Nueva Middle School community (teachers, administrators, parents and students) did not research or discuss the ramifications of having such technology available to the students. Having the ability to chat visually in real time between students can create powerful communication. The avoidable backlash from the lack of communication within the school community prior to releasing the technology to the students is the lesson that the author Levinson is trying to convey.

Q2: What has the school put in place to avoid such problems in the future? Nueva Middle School has formed a partnership with Common Sense Media, a not-for-profit organization that provides information and tools that allow families to make informed choices and an opportunity to voice their concerns. Leaders, from Common Sense Media, and teachers work together with students to introduce them to the creative possibilities of the new technology and the ethics of having access to such technology. In addition, the school has put in other safeguards in place such as a boot camp for incoming sixth graders, training sessions for online research, faculty training, parent education workshops, an acceptable-use policy, a limited use IM program and a dynamic and open approach to handling future issues.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jounal 2: Constructing Learning (NETS-T I, II, III)

(Note:  This is a replacement article to "Using Podcasts to Develop a Global Perspective")

Klopfer, E. (2010, February). Constructing Learning. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(5), Retrieved from Klopfer, E. (2010). Constructing Learning. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(5), Retrieved from

Summary: This article described using free modeling software from StarLogoTNG (The Next Generation) that allows teachers and students to easily program their own computer simulations and games. Starlogo TNG is created by the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP). The article gives several examples to show how very complex concepts can be simulated on a computer through a program that allows the teacher or student to do the actual programming of its various variables. The programming is done using a graphical programming language represented as shapes that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle in a drag-and-drop manner. This technology would not only teach students and teachers programming but would also show how the programming outcomes has applications into other areas such as chemistry, biology and physics. The program demonstration can simulate the lesson, thereby enhancing what is read or written.

Q1: The program takes some training to learn, why not just show a simulation of an ecosystem with different variables hard-wired into the program?
A1: The beauty of using this program is to show the importance of knowing how to program when studying a particular problem. As a scientist in the industry, there will be many computer programs that the scientist will use. Simulations are great programs for scientists because they allow the scientist to formulate theories and to as “What if?” questions which can then formulate an experiment to find the answer. Simulation programs that can also be predictive are in high demand as they focus finances to lower risk projects. This program will not only allow a student to see the value of the scientist but also the value of a programmer working in the industry. There is collaborative effort that’s needed to solve our world’s problems.

Q2: So, why not replace all hands-on experiments with simulations to save some money on experimental supplies and classroom space?
A2: The article states that this is a very powerful tool to studying scientific phenomenon but it cannot replace hands-on immersion, lab experiences and especially designing one’s own experiments. Real understanding can only come from those experiences of actually doing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Journal 1: Computing in the Clouds (NETS-T I, III, V)

Johnson, D. (2009, December/January). Computing in the Clouds. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(4), Retrieved from

Summary: In the current economy with school budgets decreasing and cost cutting rampant, the author writes about a cheaper, flexible and equitable solution to making more technology accessible to the student by utilizing cloud computing. Cloud computing makes use of technology (e.g. applications and file storage) that reside on a network, not on the computer you’re using. Many web-based applications use this technology already—as when you’ve uploaded pictures to a website for sharing or ordering prints. When cloud computing is coupled to one of the most economical computers on the market—the Netbook—a student/school now has access to applications and storage with minimal investment of money.

Q1:  Sounds too good to be true….what are the problems?
A1: Well, for one, since you don’t own the hardware or the applications, what happens if the website goes down? You’re out of luck until it is back on line—although websites claim this is a rare occurrence. The other problem is how secure can the website be? Most websites say your data is secure and the data is owned by you and not the website. Still, I wouldn’t put anything confidential or sensitive on the site. The other problem is that even though a Netbook is one of the cheapest computers one can buy; it still comes with a price tag just under $300. Some households still would not be able to afford the technology. In the case where you had more than one child needing to use the technology is one computer sufficient or would each child need their own Netbook because of in-class usage required by the Teacher? If that is the case, then the cost will be on a per child basis. If that is not the case, how convenient and realistic is sharing a Netbook between siblings. I guess the answer to that will be dependent on how the Teacher uses Cloud computing and Netbooks in his/her classroom. As with all new technology there are still a lot of unknowns to be worked out. All-in-all, as a techie, I believe it’s worth a shot.

Q2:  Do I believe that Cloud computing can decrease the digital divide between those in opposing economical classes?
A2:  I believe that yes it can. Although I stated some arguments above as to Netbooks still costing a significant amount, the bottom line is that is it more affordable. I have seen families, who are at or just above the poverty line, sacrifice so that their child/children can get a computer. What happens is that once the purchase of a computer is made, the family is at a loss of how to set up the computer, what to do when there is a problem and once it’s up and running, don’t know how to navigate through the system to do some of the most basic tasks. With a NetBook, the student can bring to class and with the help of teacher and staff, get their computer functioning to carry out the assignments and access the wealth of knowledge the internet holds without the help of parents who may not understand any of that computer mumbo-jumbo. To have the Cloud computing available to this type of student, means that even less of an investment on the part of the family needs to be made to have a functioning and up-to-date system.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Meet Michele Weinhouse (NETS-T III, V)

Hello All! I'm Michele Weinhouse, student teacher-in-training. For the past 17 years I've been Michele M. Ramirez-Weinhouse and for the last 22 years I've been a chemist. Recent down turns in the economy and job market are forcefully telling me its time to transition to a different career. I have attended different K-12 schools because my dad worked for the military. Kindergarten was over 40 years ago and beyond the capacity of my brain to recall the name of the school. I attended St. Basil's Catholic School in Vallejo from 1st through 4th grades. In the 5th grade, my family moved to San Diego where I attended St. Charles' Catholic School. I spent 6th grade at Lanai Elementary living with my grandmother. My 7th grade was started at Bonita Vista Junior High but finished in Subic Bay Naval Base at George Dewey Junior and Senior High School. I stayed at George Dewey until I graduated in 1982. I attended Southwestern College for 3 years and then finished up my B.S. degree at UCLA in 1988. It's been over 20 years since I was in school and the transition back doesn't seem to be coming to me easily.

I learned early on in my career that I wasn't satisfied in my job unless I was learning something new. Technology at work provided me a way to satisfy that need and I found that the newer the technology the more fun I was having. At Pfizer, I became an expert in many of the new programs being launched through an endless supply provided by our computational chemists. It seemed that I was always the first to learn, test and train other scientists (mostly those scientists with no patience for beta testing). However, I don't know a single line of code. I started out using Macs in college and then in my first few years of my career. However, in working for start-ups, cost was an issue and PCs were much more economical. For that reason, my personal computers were also PCs. We do have a Mac at home that we use mainly for its iMovie software. Just recently, I bought my very own laptop and loaded Windows 7 on it. I'm still learning how/where everything is but for the most part I'm fully functioning on my computer. I know that the chemistry classes I teach will have a strong element of technology. I can't wait to see what and how I will use it.

I had read the Mission Statement after talking with a counselor at the College of Education and until tonight after you shared examples of how CSUSM fulfills its mission, to tell you the truth, I wasn't sure what all the words meant. It wasn't the mission that drew me to CSUSM, it was the living and owning of that statement by the counselors and employees with whom I first interacted that drew me in. I liked what I heard and how everyone made me feel. That those actions coincide with the mission now make sense.