Operations and Concepts: Engaging Our Students

My Research Reviews:
Elementary Science
Middle School Science

Action Research Project Proposal

Project Title
“Structure and Division of an Animal Cell: A Webquest”
Description of Project
I plan on making a webquest that students could use to better understand the anatomy and division of an animal cell. Studying animal cells can be very difficult for students because they are unable to see them with the naked eye. They have to look at cells under a microscope. When looking under a microscope, students often do not know what they are looking at or what stage of the cycle the cell is in. Doing a webquest to help students understand what they are looking for would help them feel more confident when undertaking the microscope on their own. I would implement this activity at the beginning of the unit. This way students will be able to understand what they are looking at and looking for before we jump into the animal cell unit. This activity will allow students to check out websites that have pictures of animal cells, diagrams and videos on cell division. The whole class would be in the computer lab during this class. Students would work by themselves on a computer to investigate the whole animal cell. I plan on using this activity with middle school science students at Meadow Park Middle School.
This project meets NETS standards by showing students how to use a webquest and also by teaching students new uses of technology for education. It shows new ways to look at knowledge and to help them understand the animal cell better. It also meets the standards because this activity is planned to assist with a unit study on animal cells and to help students feel more comfortable in the use of different types of resources, like technology to help them understand a concept more concretely.
Data Collection
I plan on implementing this activity with a middle school science course at Meadow Park Middle School. I will be starting my field experience in a week, so I will ask the teacher when she will be teaching about animal cells. If they have not learned about animal cells and division, I will go through this activity with at least one of the classes. If they have already gone through the unit, I will need to perform a pilot study with our classroom. I am hoping to create a link to a online quiz the students could take on the webquest that would help with my evaluation on how effective the activity was.
Data Analysis
To analyze the data, I plan on creating an online quiz over animal cell structure and division that students can access through the webquest. From this I should be able to see if students are getting information from the webquest activity.
From the results of the quiz, I could create a chart of student’s responses. I believe this will show effectively it meet the TCPK standards.
Plan of Action
After implementing this activity in a classroom and receiving data, I will have a better understanding of the ways students learn. I am expecting students to respond well to this activity because it is web-based.

Title: “Making Sense of Emerging Technologies”
Date of Live Event: March 7th, 2008
Revisited archive?
I listened to the first part of the presentation without sound before I realized I needed to call in to connect to the audio. I had to go back and listen to the beginning of the Webinar after they sent me the link. So I have watched the seminar a couple of times through in order to see all of the content.

What did you learn?
I learned that this is a much more complicated topic of research than I previously thought possible. There was a lot of information given, and a lot of it went over my head. But I feel that I learned a lot about the technology that is already out there and available for teachers to use and the new up and coming technology that teachers will some day get to use in their classrooms. So, in that way it was a very beneficial learning experience.

Discuss your impression of the:
The presentation covered a lot of the technologies that we have explored in class, including the use of Wikispaces and Webquests in the classroom, they also talked a little about second life. I thought that it was pretty interesting that they have a second life type room that you can meet in and post and talk about ideas you have about technology and the uses of it, called the ET Idea Library. They talked about other technologies, even some that I had never heard of, like supercomputing.

The technology of the Webinar was not very good. It took me a little while at first to figure out that I had to call in, so I missed the first half of the presentation. It was helpful that on the screen of the website that we went on for the PowerPoint there was a spot where you could ask questions. So I asked them how to get sound and they gave me the number and code to use when I call in. The PowerPoint they used was okay. I would have liked if they would have used some video or more interactive stuff going on. Something that maybe I couldn’t create.
It was really neat that they could involve so many people in one presentation. It is amazing that technology can allow us to do these things and bring people from all over together in one place. I don’t think that I would like to do something like this myself for a class, it seems too impersonal for what I like.

They explained many of the technologies that are available now for educators and then technologies that are going to be coming soon in the future. It scares me the things they were talking about coming. And then when they showed the second life idea library, I couldn’t believe it. Yeah, technology is amazing, but it is making our students socially inept.

Here is the link to my cell webquest:
Cell Webquest