Archives for July 6, 2012

Day 4- Teacher Pedagogy First Week

Today, we’ve started out the day by starting the first of our teacher pedagogy settings.  It reminds me of the technology class that I took in graduate school with Ruth-Ellen Verock-O’laughlin.  We spent the morning talking about different types of technology tools, and demonstrating how we use technology in each of our classrooms.  It was awesome to learn about some tools that I have never heard of, including Turn It In plagiarism checker, Socrative Student Response System (which is sort of like Poll Everywhere that I use), and Glogster, an online poster making website.

There are guiding questions that we have now as we try to finish up this session blogging about different responsibilities.  I didn’t realize we only have to do a blog post a week, but I’ll keep posting daily so the entire experience is well document.

The first question is to describe my process of assimilation into the laboratory.  I have had a fantastic week getting to know Fjodor, my lab partner, as well as Jonah and Pete, the undergraduates that work in the lab.  It’s also been great working with Project Manager Nate to go over the entire program.

The next question about the environment of the laboratory.  I like to think that our laboratory is very laid back, but in a productive way.  We have been receiving our equipment, so it’s always fun to see new cardboard boxes appear on our desk every day.  Really, I’m having a fantastic time.

I am working (as you know) with BUSAT to develop a series of laboratories for middle and high school students, incorporating science and technology with engineering.  My partner is Fjodor, who works at Somerville High School.  We’re working with a bunch of Undergraduate and Graduate students to accomplish our ultimate goal of testing equipment with a balloon launch from Mt. Greylock.

The essence of our research is how to teach students about near space experiences.  One facet is teaching the students about near space through a variety of labs, and the second facet is making meaningful labs that can be used for a variety of settings.

We haven’t really run into many challenges during week 1.  I had expected that it would be difficult to jump into the program, but Fjodor and I have been doing a fantastic job, and we’re ahead of the timeline that we had established at the beginning of the program. 

We’re planning on heading to lunch, and continuing work this afternoon on finishing up two projects- hacking our cameras with CHDK, so that they will take pictures every 30 seconds, and finishing up our supply inventory so we can place the order. 

Tonight I go back to Western Massachusetts- it’ll be nice to get out of the city for a break, as much as I love it here!

Day 3- Supplies and Camera Hacking

Fjodor and I started the day a little slow, as we were both exhausted from the Fourth of July.  We started out today like we have started out the last couple of days; planning on what to cover over the day.

The first thing we started to work on was to continue editing our first laboratory.  We had a starting template from BUSAT, but it seemed very technical.  We were working on making electronics accessible to any middle or high school teacher in the sciences or engineering.

We edited the laboratory until lunch time, and actually finished both the teacher and student editions.  We are going to perform that lab in two weeks, building the components to see exactly how the laboratory works out.

We went to lunch with some of the other teachers, and saw colleagues we haven’t seen much since the start of training.  It was great to catch up and find out what other people were studying.

We then went to an afternoon meeting with Nate, and reviewed our progress for the week.  We would have had our typical meeting date of Wednesday at 1pm, but we had Wednesday off to celebrate the Fourth of July.  We went over supplies, and started talking about our next important task: hacking cameras.

We bought Canon cameras for our balloon launch, but the camera’s features don’t offer continuous shooting for as long as the battery permits.  Therefore, we need to load the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK- and hack the camera so it provided the features that we needed.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have any SD cards, so we researched the process but were unable to complete it.

The last two tasks we did were 1. assemble a final supply list, and 2. find out if we can run the labs with the other teachers.  We decided we wanted to build temperature sensors with the other teachers and plot possible balloon launch landing zones, to test these labs and receive feedback on them. 

We finally set up a time for July 27th, for the labs to work with the other teachers.  The last thing Fjodor and I need to do in regards to this session is register a laboratory and receive the supplies.

Speaking of supplies, we found the inventory for last year, so we started our purchase order spreadsheet.  We will continue hacking the camera’s after borrowing Nate’s SD card and finish up our order spreadsheet.