Monday, November 7, 2016

Exploring NASA Earth/Space Place

It is impossible to teach poorly nowadays! There are so many digital resources. Just open your mind and heart to discovery and enjoy exploring the content! To teach science from textbooks is borning. There are inventions discoveries every day! One of the most helpful and reliable resources for science teachers is NASA website.

Next Generation Science Standards: NASA Space Place

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Going Google For FYE

Each year I am unpleasantly surprised with the situation in every class when I see that most teacher candidates have no idea what they own on their gmail account. I spend the first week of the semester wowing them with the tools they have in Google Drive for researching, collaborating, interacting, exploring, drawing, and what not!

As a counselor of KDP chapter, I suggested running a tutorial for KDP members and the first year students on campus a Going Google 4 FYE presentation to enlighten them at the beginning of the academic year to actively use the tools. On September 19th, I conducted a workshop. We had a great turnout and witnessed a huge interest in how to use Google Drive and its apps.

I wish had read this article from Life Hacker 8 Clever Hacks To Get The Most Out of Google Drive to educate them mor about Google Drive's useful features.  Next time I will include this information in my presentation!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Off to a Strong Start!

The summer flew by so fast and I have already in the full swing of the new academic year. I will be teaching three courses: Methods of Social Studies, Methods of Science, and Nature of Schools in education for All Students (online). There are a number of students who were in my previous classes and it comforts me as I know they will be assisting me in the projects that will require technological skills and creative efforts. I enjoy introducing my courses through creative assignments on the first day of the class showing what is ahead and how my classes will be run. Teacher candidates have already used Moodle forum posting their responses, created personal pages on g-docs and interacted in groups to discuss insights on their learning to teach experience.
I have a positive feeling about both undergraduate classes. Teacher candidates seem to be focused and are ready to embark their learning to teach with technology adventures.
Tomorrow I will meet my Nature of Schools... class for the first and the last time face-to-face. Hopefully, this in-person session will help to ease some fears and anxiety about an online setting.
My students and I are off to a strong start!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Struggling with the Final Web of Wonders Projects

For the final project in my Teaching with Technology course teacher candidates were challenged to create final Web of Wonders projects, sharing something unique based on what they had been learning during 5 weeks of the intense summer course. It turned out to be a very difficult task in the beginning. Teacher candidates started asking me questions to specify the task and tell them what exactly was expected of them.  Of course, there was a description of the project in the syllabus, there was a rubric on eClass/Moodle course site. Most of the class needed more guidance.
I searched for examples of student creative multimedia projects on the Internet from all over the country and across the world and found quite a few. I shared the links with the class and posting them here:
In the end of the course, all students came up with their own solid ideas and designed impressive multimedia projects . They shared heir presentations with each other in our final virtual class and provided constructive feedback and recommendations for improvement.

Here are a few examples of the WoW projects from the summer 2016 course:

Friday, August 5, 2016

Together We Learn More: Creating Communities of Learners

I was presenting at the MoodleMoot Virtual Conference today  on my favorite topic: Creating learning communities in face--to-face and virtual classrooms. It was well received. I enjoyed sharing my experience with interested educators about designing and teaching courses where I spend the first two or three weeks of the semester creating the communities of learners. Here is the link to the webinar on WizIQ.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Less We Teach The More they Learn!

This logo reflects my philosophy of education of future teachers. Since the beginning of my career in the U.S., I designed my lessons focusing on the learners' engagement and active participation in different class events. It was hard to do as students are used to be told what to do and how to perform the task. My goal was and is to leave teacher candidates with some uncertainty, some room for exploration and creativity. Usually, learners feel uncomfortable and try to find out what exactly the professor wants them to do. They are thinking of ONE RIGHT answer to get a good grade. I was in trouble many times because of my approach to my courses and sessions' design. "The LESS we teach the MORE they learn" works in my classroom. I see fruitful results when I observe teacher candidates in the field or during their student teaching experience but mainly when I get thank you letters from my former students who graduated from the Mount. They thank me for preparing them well for the field and for equipping them with the tools for their successful teaching career.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Research Whirpool

This summer is very busy.  Together with my colleague and friend, Dr. Bojan Lazarevic I wrote a proposal for Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) and invited one of my most recently discovered talents, Veronica Malloy. She was in my spring Science methods class and showed mature attitude and thinking to learning how to learn to teach innovatively with technology. She excelled in the class in so many dimensions. She initiated projects, learned fast the new tools and immediately applied them to lesson plans' or projects' design. She accepted the challenge of going above and beyond what was in the school science textbook/curriculum and helped in implementing the Seeds of Science Roots of Reading /Aquatic Ecosystems unit with the fifth grade science class at Bishop Dunn Memorial School. She spent extra time to read the teaching/learning materials, for brining the living things ordered from the company to the students and kept an eye on the created tabletop ponds in the fifth grade classroom for the students to learn about the properties of Aquatic Ecosystems firsthand. Students were thrilled and engaged throughout the entire process!

Veronica accepted a challenge to participate in the SURE project. AND... accepted the position of the President of the KDP local chapter that I am a counselor of. I will see Veronica a lot!

So -- I am working with Veronica and Bojan on the project "Transforming Classrooms with Emerging Technologies." Bojan and I also writing an article to share our views on the process of changing the paradigm forced by emerging technologies . Our plan to later write a book for a potential online Masters program in Learning Technologies. We agreed to write at least two paragraphs each day. I keep the promise!

I submitted three proposals for two summer conferences. They are both in Canada!
The first one is in Vancouver:
My friend and colleague from Canada, Nellie Deutsch and I are giving a workshop on how to use Moodle to engage learners in authentic learning.

The second is a paper presentation based on the experience my husband, Michael Edelstein, Nellie Deutsch and I had in 2014 running Healthy and Sustainable Living MOOC.

From Vancouver Mike and I will drive to Calgary where I will run a workshop "Going Double Digital: The Synergy of Technology and Pedagogy."

Besides that, I start teaching two course in summer semester II, beginning on June 28th, Psychology of Learning and teaching with Technology.  All in one time! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Power of Connection

The Internet provides an opportunity for educators passionate about teaching to get connected, exchange ideas and collaborate. I received a message today from the Community Outreach Specialist of the Fusion Yearbooks Team, Danny Rabara Jr. in regards with my blog post about Project-based learning.
I was excited to find out that my blog is visited and read not only by my students and learners from the technology workshops I run regularly for teachers and educators but a wider audience. Here is an article and the resources that Danny shared with me
I am a big fan and passionate about project-based learning. All my methods courses have projects and creative tasks that help students connect, collaborate and express themselves creatively.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Happy International Women's Day

Today, 8th of March, is  the International Women's Day! A nice beginning of the day  - flowers from my husband and a poem from Ayka, our international student! I always share this tradition, the celebration of women on March 8th, in Russia with all my classes. It is a National holiday in Russia and is very loved by all. Women are showered with flowers, presents, surprises, and love. Mothers, sisters, girl-friends, grand-mothers - all are celebrated and worshiped. Teachers are probably the most. Because most teachers at schools are women. I remember the days when I was dean of the school of Foreign languages. The door to my office could not be closed for hours, days, almost a month. Students, faculty, parents, fiends were coming to wish Happy Women's Day! 
The International Women's Day was followed by my birthday that here, in the U.S., I usually spend in my favorite place Mohonk Mountain House.  The birthday cake below is from the chef of the Mohonk exquisite kitchen!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

I am Ready! I Love Challenges!

Tomorrow a new semester begins. I will be teaching four courses: methods of teaching science and social studies for elementary school children. I am always anxious to know what teacher candidates will be in my new classes: adventurous, curious, creative, open to new ideas and ways of teaching, or those who just want to slide through the course and get a grade. I am inspired by those who want to learn to teach and go above and beyond in exploring the are of teaching.

I have just found out that one of my best students, Lindsay Roe, who I wrote a recommendations, was accepted to Vanderbitt University with a merit scholarship. She thanked me in her Thank you card for helping her achieve her goal and "setting her on the path of looking for different opportunities and she called me "a guiding light." Such moments make my sleepless nights, hard work on the courses' design and improvements, worthwhile.

It is always challenging to start teaching a new course. Science attracts me, I am excited to learn new and revisit topics I studied long ago, but at the same time, I understand, science is not my field of expertise! I have already spent and will probably do more on exploring the science concepts and ways of teaching them in order to feel comfortable to share my insights with the learners in my classes.
I am ready! I love challenges!

I will be taking notes of my experience this semester to keep record of my discoveries and things I would not use again in the future.