links to tags

Filter by: LS     MS     US     Tech in the Classroom     Launch Projects

Monday, February 26, 2018

Launch Grant: The Bible and Bookmaking Technology

Upper School teacher Zoe Balaconis did an interesting launch grant with her Sophomore English class:

In Sophomore year, students are required to read excerpts from The Hebrew Bible so that they gain a foundational understanding of a canonical text. While The Bible is exciting for literary and religious reasons, the language often fails to hook students' imaginations and they lose out on the historical weight of the document itself. I plan to use the Tech Launch Grant to create a unit exploring the ancient technology of our first books and compare it to modern technological advances. Not only would we be able to visit the Harvard Library's copy of the Gutenberg Bible, but we'd compare that printing technology to other cultures' oldest texts. Furthermore, we'd be able to use laser-cutting technology to create letterpress blocks to print our own original texts. It is my hope that this more experiential exploration of the physical nature of books will give students more of an appreciation of the trajectory—both from the past and forward in time—of the written word.

 In addition to reading The Hebrew Bible, the Sophomores delved into the history of printing, translating, and disseminating the text—but didn't stop at a survey of its historical timeline. With the expert guidance of Ms. Tangusso and Dr. Patel, groups of students chose passages they wanted to try their hand at mass producing, and, using a variety of printing methods, set about to putting them on paper. Some experimented with letterpress while others made stamps while others researched digital font design. At the end of our unit we had a more interdisciplinary understanding not only of the text's significance, but also the significance of the technology it galvanized. The way that we consume media continues to evolve, and it was eye-opening to examine and attempt to recreate a moment of that story.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Launch Grant: Peer Feedback in Upper School Biology Class

Upper School science teacher Amanda Borking did a launch grant this year to explore the use of peer feedback through the PowerSchool class website. Students used the wiki-pages feature of PowerSchool to post content. They uploaded work there (such as this drawing of a chemistry example) and then used discussion boards to discuss their work. They also recorded and uploaded videos to add a more personal means of communication asynchronously.

In this example, students made a cartoon strip to illustrate chemical bonding.  

A few examples of peer feedback comments posted to the discussion board:

"When looking at their fairytale I really like how they represented the loss and gain of electrons by using shoes, I thought that was a really smart way to show this action. One part that was a little unclear was which atoms were bonding was which ones, I didn't figure it out until the end when you drew the final solution/equation. So in the future I would just write which atoms each ones are just to clarify. Secondly, another way to improve your fairytale might be to use more of the scientific words we learned such as ionic bond, valance electrons, intramolecular bonds, etc to relate your fairytale more to what we have been learning in class."

"I really liked their representation of how the two Chlorine atoms get the one needed magnesium electron. I think that perhaps they could have used more vocabulary such as non-metals and metals, or ionic or other words to describe what kind of reaction is taking place. I think that they could have also added a more scientific picture of what the atoms would looks like when they had shared them. I'm  a visual learner and it would help me understand the movement of atoms a little more. However, this group did an excellent job and I truly loved what they put on their story board."

Creating Online Resources for US Chem Course

During the 2017-2018 school year Upper School chemistry teacher Jake Nagy used a launch grant to create supplemental informational resources "chemistry online notes" for his students. He wrote,
The concept of Chemistry Online Notes (CON) is inspired by the BACON program currently employed by Prof. Neil Garg of UCLA. Garg's BACON program is an interactive and digital program that assesses and reinforces the learning of students taking his introductory organic chemistry course. I would like to explore the creation and implementation of a similar program designed for the BB&N high school chemistry curriculum. Link to BACON website:
Mr. Nagy put together PowerPoint files and uploaded them to the class website for each unit. His goal was to create notes not just for use in class, but more so as a stand alone resource for students to access when they've missed class or if they would like to review topics discussed in class. He says the students have gotten used to using them as a supplement and they've really gotten a lot of use out of it. He includes some questions on the slides that allow them to test their understanding as they look through the slides. He plans to continue to refine and improve this new resource for students.

Creating Latin American Website at the Middle School

Seventh grade students create an interactive Latin American Country website using Weebly. Their country pages include an historical overview with a photo collage of images set to music, an embedded map, an interactive map with “hot-spots” to provide more information about specific points of interests, and a game designed to teach and test others about their country. Here are a few examples:

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Middle School drama class video chats with school in Tanzania

Ms. Crewdson's class is starting a collaborative project with a school in Tanzania. Students met and chatted with their counterparts and even shared some songs.

US STEM fair

Girls in Dr. Gatti's GAINS club put together a STEM fair for Upper School with many student exhibits. One exhibit used the school's VR system to let students experience VR apps like Google Earth and Tilt Brush.