Last year a new feature was added to Google Forms which allows users to submit a file (picture,
video, document, etc.) when completing a form. Today in class I leveraged this feature to facilitate
the curation of a student generated study guide for an upcoming chemistry assessment. Because
chemistry assessments usually involve the production of a handwritten graph, diagram or chemical structure, I had students submit a question in text, then upload a written answer using the file
upload feature. Click here to see the live form. Below is a screenshot of the form.
When all groups completed their question and answer an associated, organized spreadsheet was
created that, when made available to students, contains a question and link to a clear, handwritten answer from each group. Students used their phones to capture the image, and either accessed the form directly from their phone and uploaded via the photo library, or emailed the image to their
computer to be uploaded. Click here to see the live form. Below is a screenshot of the form and a submitted picture.
If you are planning on implementing this, or a similar activity, please play close attention to the
sharing settings in the folder that collects uploaded documents.
If you do not adjust the settings to "public" in the folder (that is automatically created when you
publish a form with a file upload feature) students will not be able to access the links generated
that point to this folder. In the case of the activity described, the ability to access the files is
necessary for students to view the document. Additionally, the "file upload" feature does not work unless the user submitting the form is part of the same domain.
Last week, in an effort to keep both my sections of Honors Chemistry moving at the same pace, I found myself with a day to spare in one section. With a unit on lab techniques, specifically titration, quickly approaching, my thought was to pre train this section on the specifics of the laboratory procedure.
Simultaneously, a more playful side of me wanted to bust out the MakeyMakeys from summer science camp and give students some time to explore conductivity, and tinker around a bit repurposing everyday materials to build something just for fun. Then it hit me: Why couldn't we do both?
Back to titration. Digital Drop Counters used to measure the precise volume titrant added to a flask are nearly $100 with the need for more complex software companions for reading data. This it hit me: Could we recreate a Drop Counter using MakeyMakey (along with the pH probes we already have) to simulate the tools we needed for a successful titration? Yes. Sort of! But super fun.
With the help of a few students we devised a simple workflow: First, students wrote a simple program using Scratch that counted clicks when the space bar was pressed. Then, using some fancy graduated cylinder action measured the approximate volume of 1 drop from our Burets, and added a variable to their program that also counted the volume (in mL) of liquid added along with drop number.
Then for the MakeyMakey! By positioning two wires (one connected to ground and the other to the space button on the MakeyMakey) above the Erlenmyer flask with just enough room for a single drop to complete the circuit, and adding some code to delay the click function for any drops that "stick" to the wires, we were able to accurately measure drops added! Finally something more than a video game controller or banana piano!
On page 91 of George Loewenstein's Literature Review, Psychology of Curiosity: A Review and Reinterpretation, he discusses research on a construct referred to as "Involuntary Curiosity". Loewenstein notes that understanding, and being able to leverage, this form of curiosity is useful for educators, specifically at the elementary and secondary levels, as it is the direct result of an unintentional exposure to a curiosity-inducing stimuli.
While many students come into our classrooms naturally curious, I find beginning class each day with a video clip that uses one, or a combination of, an Involuntary Curiosity "spark" to be a very engaging way to begin class and carve out cognitive space for subsequent moments of direct instruction. Moreover, from an pedagogical perspective, I find the challenge of sparking Involuntary Curiosity to be a rewarding and creative part of lesson planning.
Loewesntein notes five Involuntary Curiosity sparks, with three of them being of particular interest to educators:
Exposing students to quick, edited video clips, as noted above, can be an effective way of sparking Involuntary Curiosity. While downloading a video directly, and using editing software to capture the spark is useful, times to do arise when editing and sharing a video directly online is desired. Specifically, when challenging students to spark curiosity in their peers, or asking colleagues to share curiosity sparks with one another, creating an online archive of clips that can be shared without directly downloading the video is desirable.
In the past, I used TubeChop to trim videos for Involuntary Curiosity online. While simple to use, TubeChop lacks the ability to view the trimmed clip in full screen, does not allow for trimming of multiple parts of the video into one single video clip, and does not allow for archiving and sharing of clips within their system. Enter VIbby! Vibby allows you to do all of the tasks mentions above, with the additional ability to create "Collections" within in your profile that can allow for sorting of sparks by content domain.
Below is a screencast of me surfing the site, and experimenting with the trimming and archiving features of Vibby.
Experimenting this year with very organized student blogging. With respect to assessment, at the conclusion of every learning cycle students take a quiz and then produce a "cycle blog" where they discuss what they did during that cycle include pictures and videos of their activities and reflect on what they understood and didn't understand on both summative and formative assessments.
This blog will take the place of any formal lab reporting (except in AP chemistry where students will still be required to produce lab reportsa) and also will take the place of formally checking off homework as students will be required to reflect on their learning.required to reflect on their learning. Thus, with respect to summative assessments, the year will be filled with rotations of quiz then blog, quiz then blog, quiz then blog. I really struggle with assessment, and I'm hopeful that the structure will both make grading more organized and meaningful for students, and help me keep track of what students are lacking with respect to skills and reflection.
Below is a screenshot of the instruction students received tonight as they work on their first blog post of the year.