When determining what online community I wanted to join I had to do some self-reflection to determine my strengths and weaknesses for designing an inquiry-based, technologically relevant lesson for my MMP (and for my future students). It didn’t take long for me to realize my biggest weakness is experience! I haven’t taught in high school, I’ve tutored 3 biology students and 2 of them where very bright honors students who were very motivated to learn. I was a TA at Rutgers for a senior pre-med course, but it is not the same as high school. I’m not convinced my experiences will transfer. I have learned a lot of great techniques for designing inquiry lessons for my classes and my job. However, I struggle with what level of difficulty is appropriate, how long a lesson will take, and if it is feasible.
This is why I am joining the thinkfinity community named “All things science.” Aside from the fact that it is science focused and I am planning on being a Biology teacher, it is full of experienced teachers who I hope can help me with some of my weaknesses due to lack of experience. In addition to the experience of its members, the community is active. There have been posts as recent as a few hours ago. Sometimes specialised online communities don;t have many members or the members don’t participate so the discussions are very poor. I clicked though this community and found that this is not the case. Although, on first glance I was a bit disappointed with the suggestions some of the teachers offered to help with particular subjects. It was mostly “here is a place you can get a video of it” while videos are useful there are better ways of using technology in the classroom. Maybe I can share some of what I will learn in this class and what I have learned in previous classes.
I’m very excited about my MMP project, especially after reading Walker’s article on skills and participatory culture. I am very inquiry focused and the participatory skills students are learning are inquiry skills! I just learned them as forming questions, developing models, linking evidence to models, evidence evaluation, revising models. The only inquiry skill that isn’t mentioned on page 9 of the article is argumentation, but in the article he suggested they are building that skill as well. Using an online inquiry environment will help students transfer their existing participatory skills to a more formal academic setting and continue to refine those skills. Hopefully this will result it students with strong reasoning skills and a greater appreciation of the nature of science!