What an experience this has been! As I remember preparing for the first day of MSUrbanSTem Fellowship, I was excited, anxious and didn’t sleep very well the night before...a whole 3 hours. I didn’t know what to expect as I ventured downtown to Loyola University Campus to meet the members of the cohort for the next eleven days. I have to say, though, this has been the best professional development experience I have ever had.
On a daily basis, our schedule was so packed with activities movement, worktime, discussions, and collegiality. The articles that we read for homework were included in the activities, which made them “stick” with me. I made connections with what I read, and working them out in activities was the best modeling for me to deepen my understanding. Improvisation for Creative Pedagogy was also a professional development workshop I attended that integrated improvisation into the curriculum of any subject.
Through this experience, everything was new to me (except having a Facebook account)! I have learned many new applications with technologies such as Quickfires (activities to model a big idea or concept done in a short amount of time), i-Images (edit an image, add a quote, publish) i-Video (select images on-line, add music, create special effects to relay my ImageIt), creating a website, memes, gifs, StoryMotion of misconceptions, Storify of our day, Tweets, #hashtags, Worlds of Wonder (how do birds make a nest?), Tech Tips, Creative Commons, making a Youtube video, embedding videos into my website, creating a quick-guide for Cosmos by Carl Sagan, and being featured in a book-The Amazing STEM. I was also introduced to Google Apps and the Flipped Classroom.
“I appreciate the opportunity to work with such wonderful and intellectual professors and the tools to make me successful. My anxiety has subsided and I am looking forward to the rest of the program.” Day 1
“We had a group discussion on the article Disciplining the Mind by Veronica Boix Mansilla and Howard Gardner. I got the most out of the article and really the difference between subject matter and disciple with the skits that we created to represent subject matter. Other groups had subject matter and disciple and I was able to identify and know the difference. I have a better understanding of the two.” Day 2
“ Educational technology and repurposing - as teachers we are reusing technologies for our use with our students.” Day 3
“TPACK activity was very fun! It opened my eyes to making connections with technology, pedagogy, and content. We made our triplet work. The solutions we came up with were creative and brought us out of our comfort zone and open the possibilities of new, different ideas. I learned something new and how to make it interesting for my students. This is fun for me, this will be fun for the kids!” Day 3
“We were then asked to think about a big picture with the ImagingIT project that will last the entire year. I feel nervous about this big project. My idea is incorporating vocabulary in a meaningful way to all students. This is something that will be done the entire year. Will this project idea be the one, or will it change, like expected…” Day 4
“Our Amazing STEM lessons that we presented to each other in our groups were truly amazing. I see why we were all chosen in the program. We have such creative hands-on approaches that I feel privileged to be a part of.” Day 5
“Our quickfire for today was on making a still pictures to make into a movie using an app. We tied the quickfire to the article on misconceptions. Our misconception was on how people think that the sun rises from the east and sets on the west.” Day 5
“As I think about my ImagineIT project, I am thinking that vocabulary is a problem for students to comprehend and use in a meaningful way in their daily lives and interdisciplinary. Solution...using some form of technology to edit and present, work with the voc to create their own reference tool... just a thought.” Day 5
“I enjoyed the improv activities from Second City. It was nice to see how we can connect our discipline with movement and creativity to capture the attention of the students and help them understand topics through movement. Some of these activities will be great for Morning Meeting as students work together.” Day 6
“As I arrived at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) I had an idea for my year long project, but not sure how to capture images for vocabulary in mathematics. It was a big challenge, but I think I may have some images that can use.” Day 6
“Hey! I got to figure out how to complete the circuit and light up an LED light with a coin cell battery and copper tape!” Day 7
“We had our discussion on Understanding Understanding by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe and that knowing is not the same as understanding.” Day 9
“I have accomplished so much today!!! After the Worlds of Wonder we did a quickfire about all that we had learned these past 10 days into a theme song. We had Friends. We learned so much, we couldn’t include everything in our 15 second theme song. But it was awesome!” Day 10
“I had a lot of time today to work on my i-video, which I had no clue how to put together, but I was guided to install movie maker on Windows and that saved me. I tinkered with it today and I am almost done! I’ve accomplished so much with it. This is my first time making a video and calling it my own.” Day 10
“We met today in our Deep Play Groups to discuss what we are going to focus on to facilitate our execution of our Big Idea. I’m leaning towards flipped classroom for the background vocabulary that the students should already know prior to beginning a lesson.” Day 10
“I had such a fun day today. This whole experience has been inspiring. We looked at each member of our group’s i-Video, got together with our Deep Play Groups to discuss topics, and did a Quickfire of one of the days from the past 10 days. I can’t believe these two weeks have come to an end…” Day 11
With the amount of hands-on learning that I have gained, activities I participated in, projects I created, and professional networking that I’ve made, I am going to bring all of these back to my students. They deserve the opportunity to explore and tinker with various learning avenues. These tools that I have gained from the fellowship will allow me to continue to meet the learning needs of my students with innovative ways incorporating more technology and student created products.
I thought I knew what STEM was all about from how people described it and what I’ve read about it, but I didn’t fully understand what STEM was until I attended the cohort and was exposed to so much more. I have a better understanding of the connection between pedagogy, technology, and content. I can visualize my lessons being enhanced by all that I’ve learned this summer and it’s going to begin with the integration of my ImagineIt.