Yesterday I was in search of some new "kitchen chemistry" labs (100% distance learning) for my students to perform in my Honors Chemistry class as we begin relating covalent bonding and molecular geometry to Intermolecular Forces.
Tired of the same activities used during my distance learning course last semester (pepper, soap, water, etc.) I was drawing a blank as to a safe, exciting, and simple activity students could do that would not require a trip to the store for parents.
SERENDIPITOUSLY, the exact same day, my 3rd grade daughter had this Kiwi Crate activity delivered as part of her subscription (gift from the Grandparents!). Boom! Parchment paper, food coloring, and it as on! I then created this activity on the spot, which led to this Padlet 24 hours later. Thanks Kiwico!
This is a short post/journal entry about something that has been on my mind, and nagging at me since the beginning of distance learning.
I have noticed a shift in my teaching that occurs when I minimize student cameras while teaching in Zoom. That is, they can see me, and the screen I am sharing, but I cannot see them.
Paradoxically, I have noticed that my instruction, and ability to connect with them increases. I feel more comfortable, free, and open to share knowledge in clear and structured ways.
This realization has been strange, in that I depend heavily on my relationships with students during face-to-face instruction, however in the Zoom setting, seeing their faces while teaching particularly complex information seems to decrease my ability to connect via the content.
My working hypothesis is that, while face-to-face instructions offers a true, human connection, a Zoom window places emphasis on facial expression. Perhaps my empathetic side is overly drawn to student facial expressions, inhibiting me from pushing through complex concepts, while I am pulled into looks of frustration, confusion, etc?
When I do not see them (gallery minimized) I can push through this moment better, allowing time for students to negotiate the complexity before I jump in and "rescue" them from their perplexity, something I do naturally.
In the face-to-face setting, this perplexity exists in the context of a myriad of other variables that make the relationship more simple, meaningful, and real. With only a confused face I almost feel paralyzed at times.
Thus, I have been exposing the entire class during discussion/Q&A and minimizing their visibility during direct instruction. I'm not sure what I'm saying here, but I felt a need to put it into writing. I am very much looking forward to being with my students in the classroom once again.
Side note, this came back to bite me once when, in the middle of a lecture where I was sharing my screen and had their cameras minimized, the students surprised me with the below. I was not responding and kind student said "Um...Ramsey, can you see us?". Ha! awkwardly caught red-handed!
This is third of a three-part blog post series on the use of Padlet during distance learning. This post DEFINITELY represents something I am very excited about and I sense is working very well: capturing student work during an engineering design cycle in the distance learning format.
Using the "Shelf" option in Padlet, I set up various columns for students to post evidence of progress as they iterate on projects in my engineering class. For example, two weeks ago students worked on a cycle called "Olga" where they imagined and the designed (via CAD) solutions for a character, Olga, from a Little House on the Prairie episode who was born with one leg longer than the other. Click here for the edited video clip I provided students which served as the prompt for the project.
Before students began the project I set up "Shelfs", one for each phase of the cycle. For this cycle, the four phases were as follows:
Following the above project, students transitioned to a similar workflow using the "Shelf" feature in Padlet to outline the design of a carrying case for my father's cochlear implant. Given the 100% distance learning format, often a CAD final product is the project deliverable. Click here for the complete Padlet engineering design cycle for this project. A screenshot of the process is included below as well.
Currently students are in the middle of an engineering design cycle where they are, from a distance, leveraging the MakeyMakey circuit (ordered and delivered to their homes) to build out assistive technology controllers for individuals suffering from severe physical disabilities. We are in the middle of this project, and given the hands-on nature (not simply CAD) of this work, the cycle is more involved and the thus, more "Shelfs" are added in Padlet to capture work. Click here for student progress thus far and see a screenshot of one student's progress below as well.
This is second of a three-part blog post series on the use of Padlet during distance learning. Today's post is short, but discusses something I have found to be VERY useful when facilitating distance learning "labs" with my chemistry students: Time-lapse videos!
I have been struggling with capturing student work from a distance when it involves simple labs I have students do at home. To increase student accountability, and to create a powerful visual of their observations, I am having students record time-lapse videos of their experiments so that we can all quickly review and discuss their observations via a common Padlet board without having to deal with sharing Zoom screens, digging through an ugly form output sheet, or opening up myriad of various websites or folders wheres students catalog their work.
Click here for an example of a Padlet board where students uploaded time-lapse videos of an experiment where students were challenged to determine the general effect of adding sodium chloride to water. As you can see, not only is the board a very aesthetic and clear place to view one another's work, the commenting feature allows for collaboration without having to awkwardly talk in Zoom constantly. Moreover, and perhaps most powerful, because a time-lapse video is a condenses video created from image snapshots in time, the video file is small, and thus can easily be uploaded to the common Padlet board were I, and all students, can see the ENTIRE lab process unfold for complete analysis and observation. Simple and powerful. At least in my eyes :)
This is first of a three-part blog post series on the use of Padlet during distance learning. I have written about Padlet extensively in the past and these posts continue on from my past success in leveraging the tool for online instruction. Keeping this in mind, Padlet has proved to be an invaluable resource in my formative assessment toolbox.
While Zoom provides a central place for relaying task instructions, providing individualized assistance, and general live communication, a class period rarely goes by where I do not push out a link to a Padlet board in the chat and ask students to submit images of their work, videos they have created or found, links to documents they have created, and and a myriad of other artifacts they create during class that help me better understand their progress.
Moreover, by sharing a Padlet board during a live class Zoom, all student work is easily visible in a clean, accessible way, and students can speak about their work without having to share their individual screen, while I, and other students comment and provide feedback live on the Padlet board.
Click here for board where students uploaded examples of static electricity during chemistry class. Click here for a board where students uploaded examples of molecular geometry created using household products. Click here for a board where students uploaded drawn images of protein chains.
These aboeve examples are just a few of the many ways Padlet allows me, and more importantly, all of the class, the opportunity to quickly view work as it is being created from a distance in a fashion that is easy to view, and powerful in its ability to provided immediate feedback.
Click here for screencast of a Padlet board as submission of molecular models are arriving in real time. I can immediately provide feedback, address common errors, and quickly visualize all students work before moving on to the next class activity.