What did you want your students to know or understand?
I can talk to the … scientists who discovered the atom green screening project and putting them into that…
I really wanted kids to get a better understanding of how the process of science is a human endeavor. Often we teach science devoid of any personal narrative or story as part of it – when the people that made discovery in science are some of the most fascinating and weirdest people that have ever lived.
When you start looking at the discovery of the atom it is really neat because all of the stories intertwine – so all of the people knew each other – either like it was a professor at a university and the next person who made a major discovery was their student… others were mean or subversive – trying to keep everybody else discoveries out of things.
Student don’t generally get that kind of an interesting story. Why not look at major scientific context through the lens of storytelling.
What skills did you want your students to gain?
So …I wanted to give my kids some tech skills in terms of how to do green screening, how to do filming, how to develop a monologue and techniques like using the iPad along with some choice apps. to hold and slowly scroll through your script so that you can continue to maintain eye contact with the camera. I also wanted them to get the chance to play with lighting and then I wanted them to work on there research skills and to go out and find actual data facts and information in order to build this story around a particular scientist.
How did you teach this lesson in the past?
I always looked at this lesson – the history of the atomic structure – in a creative way because like I said, it’s a fun story. So in the past, I’ve had kids look at the whole history of the development of the atomic theory and do it like a graphic novel where they went out and researched. I found it better when the students focused on one person and then talk about how their discovery changed the whole idea. I felt like that gave students a better understanding of the process of science and how it looked like in reality.
Traditionally science teachers looked at communication in science as a lab report because that was the more academic preferred way to communicate. Now there are so many new ways and style people can articulate (scientific) information to the general public. We need to arm them with a new array of skills like how to present themselves in front of a camera. Someone like Neil De Grass Tyson is a great example of someone who has a deep understanding but also the ability communicate that understanding in an engaging way. He marries both of those important aspects of communication.
How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?
I borrowed a lot from other people who are really good at things that they do. I use a program called the night lab timeline that I was introduced to by the IT team from UWC Singapore when they came to visit to do a thirty minute presentation. And that was one of the tools that they showed. It wasn’t until I realized that the app could also be used to harvest videos from youtube that it became integral to this project.
In short, I problem solved by reaching out to other people who had used the tools I was trying to use, I looked online for tutorial and then talked to the students about what would make this easier or better for them.