Ongoing blogging

Technology’s value to the science classroom

I started to ponder the value of technology to teaching when I was a high school teacher in China. The biggest finding of technology to education is the alignment between these two significant components. Teaching pedagogy should be aligned with and supported by technology transformation. Technology is usually pioneered the development of science. But their reciprocal relationship impact development of two components. Science teaching is enabled to be more engaging, more vivid and more intensive through the technological tools of science. For example, Datahub enables scientific data collection easier and more accurate. Online simulation of static electricity facilitate students’ understanding of the charge of electricity through friction of different objects. With the simulation, the reason behind scientific phenomenon is delivered in an concise and lucid fashion.

Affordances and Limitations to inquiry-based learning

Technology brings affordance to teaching in many aspects.

As I discussed before, one significant affordance of technology to the inquiry-based pedagogy is its potential to make scientific concepts visual, which provided access to an easier understanding as Flick and Bell (2000) puts, “appropriate educational technologies have the potential to make scientific concepts more accessible through visualization, modeling, and multiple representations. ” (p. 45)

I recalled my experience of using the digital game: the metamorphosis of butterflies to present life cycle of butterflies to 1st graders and how they navigate the game and be able to explain their understanding of life cycles easily. Compared to present the static four photos of life phases that I experienced to students, the digital modeling is much more vivid and intuitive.

Secondly, technology changed how people learn. In the inquiry-based discourse, technology allowed students to generate their inquiry and search myriads of resources to investigate their inquiries. When learners manage information they have gathered, they move from passive “finding” to the more robust acquisition processes of selecting, organizing, and evaluating (McTighe & March, 2015). ”Instead of waiting teachers to give them answer, they are able to pre-research the answer through wikipedia or post the question to online communities such as Facebook to seek friends’ help. Online technology accelerate students’ organization and collection of information in a broad communities to serve for their scientific inquiries.

Technology also refines modeling and represent data in an accessible manner. During camp, my team used infographic software to represented the model, data and stories. In the inquiry-based learning visuals make connection to students and allow them to have much voice in representation themselves. Campers collaborate to present data by using Pictochart. These digital citizens navigated this tool skillfully and represented their investigation stories, data in an attractive and lucid manner.     Limitations:

In terms of technology, one limitation is the access, which is relevant to social justice. Schools should ensure that students who can have the technology access at school although they might not be able to use at home. Because using digital technology is one of the 21-century skills and science practices can not live without the development of science.

Teachers should also be aware using technology to replace all conventional pedagogy, such as hands-on experience. From students’ interview, the hands-on experience, the way of doing science, usually, is the extract of science. Technology also causes trouble to the classroom teaching such as the technology failure and hence teachers should prepare back plans in teaching.

Another concern is the technology as distraction.  Teachers can view the combination of chatty students and ubiquitous communication technology as a distraction in the classroom that they must overcome-or they can harness that same technology to direct students’ social instincts toward academic discussion and thus improve engagement and achievement for all. (Carpenter, 2015, p. 4)

Incorporating technology into science teaching could bring a more inclusive classroom. “A more appropriate understanding of technology for inclusion is the concept of technology as knowledge (not necessarily scientific knowledge) applied to manipulate the natural world and emphasizes the interactions between science and technology. ” (Flick & Bell, 2000, p.46). Teaching science usually can not live without using tools to conduct investigation and collect evidence to affirm hypothesis. These tools are product of technology and constitutes as necessity of science reasoning. Also, the interaction between science and technology is the main theme of science teaching. It allows teachers to contemplate application of science into daily life as new technology.




Flick, L.,&Bell,R.(2000).Preparing tomorrow’s science teachers to use technology: Guidelines for

science educators.Contemporary Issues in Technology &Teacher Education,1(1), 39-60.

Carpenter, J. (2015). Digital Backchannels: Giving Every Student a Voice. Educational Leadership, 72(8), 54-58

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Day 6-What a pueh…….!

In the color competition, I said at the first sign of lighting and thunder, we should all go bak to the pavilion. Pueh……, which I used as an onomatopoetic word, depicting the fast speed of lightning. And my feeling of day 6 is like a pueh…., too fast and too shiny! Day 6 is the presentation day that all campers will do a real presentation to freedom school communities. And it is last day we will see theses kids, as well and no doubt, I miss them. I was so amazed by them as different individuals with uniqueness inside. We made two stations, one is for infographic and one is for rapping. My infographic team explained to younger kids, including their brothers and sisters what they have done in the last week. The real challenge is not what you have done, it is how you communicate with others what you have been through. For my team, the awesome part is those kids learned how to adjust their style and interpret what is “bacteria” to younger ones.

-Marquan: Explain his design of team logo and highlight the tornado/hurricane to kids. (+)

-Amon: Link the pictures to beach closure and use academic language to interpret our scientific investigation. (+)

-Sumani: I found his inner side of leadership! He knew his voice is small and the surroundings are noisy. But he elevated his voice to evoke little kids :”Do you want to swim in a dirty are?” “Do you like playing in the dirty water?”. I witnessed his change to a strong young man! (+)

-De’naiziah: Definitely she is shy at the first sight. But she did not fail to challenge herself. She used her thoughtfulness to explain to kids patiently. (+)

We are proud to see these kids rock and change within a short time or just bring out their potentials. We made personal journals a souvenir to the whole windy team, with pictures to highlight their scientist experience they should be proud of, a team logo that impressed them scientists have ever collaborated as a team and three instructors, Dan, Ian and me left a comment to those kids to thank them and compliment their scientific practices! Education should be a delicate job. Some times, we are like earth, to culture students’ mind; sometimes we are like wind, to blow their mind and inspire them; some times, we should be water, to nourish them with soft love and care. So that is another reason why we should collaborate closely to create a real world for our future and hope!!

Cheers to science and to all amazing campers!

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Big booty booty booty

This game continue to linger in my mind…

Last day, Di’Naziah asked me: “Tomorrow is the last day of camp, what are we gonna do?” I was both excited and started to miss them. Today we worked mostly on our group presentation. What amazed me is our team’s synergy of working. We have two teams working on our rapping and visuals. Rapping team worked with Daniel. These kids really generate awesome ideas to write our whole investigation stories in their rhyme. The infographic team worked with me and Ian. Students unleash their imagination to make beach, team logo or graphic data. They are all designers when navigating the new technology. And because of its user-friendly function, students feel so comfortable making the infographics. The after noon activity also unleash campers’ potential speaking in public and advocate for what they have done. They just keep surprised me everyday by learning from others and learning how to challenge themselves. I like listen to their voice and their ideas of doing things.

It made me feel I have learned most working with these group of cohort, to achieve what we have never been. THe experience is awesome!!! The next step of my camp is to create something memorable for campers! Thanks my brilliant cohort!

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Chemical Reaction (Camp Day 3 & 4)

@Sharon, I was enlightened by your post again. If it is like you said, camp is about a feeling. So I have a good one for today!!

The tune is on….

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, sometimes I get a good feeling, yeah
I get a feeling that I never never never never had before, no no
I get a good feeling, yeah
Oh oh, sometimes I get a good feeling, yeah.

What makes me this good feeling? Day 3 & 4?

-Good planning: I am a person like being well-prepared so I could have my simultaneous performance and put more dramatic catalyzer to my elements. Day 3’s factor map station is a challenge for me since it is the real science based on scientific reasoning and I have to be clear that the causal relationship between factors. Thanks JoAnn to give me an explicit lesson. And I worked with Christa for planning our objectives and materials. So Day 3, although there is something that is our of control, such as the shifting of space, we still kept everything going. Day 4 is my day! I am a little nervous but a good planning, especially getting through all the details in my mind drives me feel wonderful when I implement my first activity. And super thanks to @Daniel and Ian, my dearest teamies, offering me some great ideas to make a carousel graffiti board. We met all objectives in Day 4 and I shone!!

-Show yourself and be true: One thing that touches me most is when my team of students coming in the factor station, they all get excited and call me name! I am the one mostly worried about getting connected to those kids who have totally culture background, but I make it!!I felt sooooo great! First, I love and respect those kids and I have faith in them to bring their potential. Honestly speaking, I sometimes can not hear them clearly because I did get used to their English accent when they speak very fast and the use of AAVE and verse versa. They could not understand me using English sometimes. I did not hide it, and I tell them the truth. “Yes, I am from China and I speak English in Asian accent so I sometimes can not understand well when you speak English. Please correct me if I am wrong. “And the amazing effect of this, is someone will help me translate and start to be interested in my culture. ” Yes, because of this, I feel so good! Also, I was so touched by Day4’s  morning activity, the language/symbol shock. Marquan translate every sentence of mine when I speak Chinese and use gestures. He rocks it! Everybody else also try to understand Chinese. They did phenomenon job and finish all graffiti board beautifully!! Teaching is a bond. When you use your passion to energize them, to approach them, to love them. They will pay you back.

-Team work: I would not reserve any of my recognition to my GRS cohort, because this is the best team I have worked!! Your energy, imagination and workethic enhanced me within a short time. In my wind team, yes, we have some collaboration or communication rub in the first two days, but we are getting better and better during Day 3 & day 4 and we totally rock it!

I am thankful for both my team members. You are so versatile and so adorable. I could see everybody’s potential and feel I was surprised by you everyday. Thanks you, to give me the best summer!!!!!

Rock Friday!!


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Camp day-2 Getting fame

Link to the class blog here:

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Camp Day1

Wanna know more about what happened today?

Click click click the link here. I am sure you will get amazed…hahahahah


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Earth’s cousin-Another habitat?

Count down time to our science camp! I am so excited but also feel tired. And there are tons of things ahead to be ready! Doing science and teaching is a big commitment and the drive is so strong. When I sit down to take a break during writing, I read a piece of thrilling news about a new discovery of the Earth’s cousin, the exoplanet, Kepler-452b. The mass of this newly found planet is larger than the Earth but the orbit is nearly the identical to Earth’s. See what the infographic tells us:



What did I read?

  1. Why “Cousin?”

The word cousin hinted the intimate relationship between Earth and Kepler-452b. So what are evidences? The comparison between Earth and Kepler-452b indicated the similarity of these two planets.

  1. Why those data?

Mass, Diameter, Surface gravity, age, parent star, etc are important features of planets.

  1. How did we get the data?

Through New technology-Kepler space telescope, which means the development of science discovery is aligning with the advancement of technology.

  1. How does it matter to human beings?

It would be a great hypothesis for another motherland that human being can live on. There might be a thick atmosphere, liquid water or volcanoes. But these are all guesses.

  1. What is the implication for us?

What is the next step to do?

Whether there would be a possibility for life?

How fascinating the earth is to be a perfect habitat for human beings, what could we do to ameliorate the current living environment via human’s activity?

What could teachers incorporate the news into teaching?

  1. Reading activity for scientific literacy.
  2. Free and creating writing: If there is life on Kepler-452B…
  3. The magic of earth as a habit of life
  4. The nature of science is through unceasing discovery and inquiries.
  5. Examples of advertisement based on this new discovery.






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APK report

1) Culture: Freedom school’s morning harambee impressed me deeply of the culture of freedom school and the culture of black communities. It is such a energy, excitement and optimism that provoke students’ inner power and I can not stop interacting with them. The morning rap, dance and all atmosphere inspired my thinking to build connection with them via access to their culture. I was so excited to be with these kids and surprised by their talent in music. But as a teacher who have not much experience immersed in such kind of culture, which is dominant in the whole classroom, how could I build relationship with these kids with trust and engage them in learning?

2) Who do you think most like a scientist?

Honestly speaking, the result totally blows my mind. Barton and Yang (2000) pointed out that the image of scientist frequently projected in science curricula is that of the western-assured, technologically powerful manipulator and controller, a white male wearing a lab coat and glasses. If that is the case, Ian will be the ideal scientist image in student’s mind; however, something that is beyond my expectation is students’ keen observation of us and multiple ways of understanding scientist, not simply through appearance, but also through way of doing science. Students mentioned words such as, doing hands-on work, taking samples, clipboard, which means writing record and speaking like scientist, from students answers, sound like scientist. And also, students answered the impression of scientist are professional and smart. There is one student written, a girl. All these answers challenge the predominant image of white dominant scientist image.

3) Observations of water

Most students noticed the “dirt” or “mud” in the water, through the direct observation. Several students do observation through sense of smell. Other students noticed the difference between lake water and river water. The biggest implication of this activity in our camp, is to help students understand what is “observation”. In terms of content knowledge, what is “dirty” or “polluted” water? How to measure the water is “dirty” or clean?

4) Questions of water

Most students are wondering what is in the water and if the water is clean. But students have some wrong understanding of a scientific question and non-scientific question. So it is our objective to help them understand scientific question and formulate scientific questions. (Contd)




APK Data Report-DZ EW IP

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July 17, 2015 · 12:25 pm

A hundred languages

From the book The hundred languages of children, I was inspired by the Reggio Emilio’s approach about children’s multiple ways of expression. How many languages that students could use in the science classroom to express themselves? How many chances they have to express their ideas in multiple ways? And how did they gain their identity in expressing themselves?


Every student

Is made of one hundred.

The student has a

Hundred hands,

A hundred thoughts,

A hundred ways of thinking

Of playing, of speaking.

Or even,

They are silent, they are inconfident,

They are worrying about speaking,

But they have a hundred ways of


Of marveling, of loving,

Of hundred joys

Of singing and understanding,

A hundred worlds to discover,

To invent,

A hundred worlds

To dream.

Science is a special language,

For kids to learn.

But please do not

Steal my other nighty-nine languages.


The work and play,

Reality and fantasy,

Science and imagination,

Sky and earth

Reason and ream

Are things

That belong together.


Science does not conflict

With beauty,

with humanity,

with imagination,

with emotion,

and with faith.

In a pure science world,

I received a cruel fact.

A cruel fact is you,

My dearest grandma,


Just like all leaves,

Fade away,

Cease metabolism

And fall off from trees,

Down to earth,

And decompose.

But to me,

You turn to another lotus,

A lotus floating on the water,

In front of the Buddhist temple,

Peaceful and tranquil,

Blissful and contented.

No tears shed down,

As you said farewell to me,

Two years ago.

No worries about

You will never see me again.

When the lotus blooms in summer,

I know,

You are smiling to me,

In another world, in this world.

In a world, with science and beauty.



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Q&A (To be Cont.d)

What would the Camp be? As a novice, I have never been to a Science Camp so I have plenty of  trajectories about the exciting camp. Would it be like this?




Or this?

unknown-1To be better prepared to embrace the camp, I start to think about what kind of activities I have learned could be used in the Camp and how can I use?


  1. What could you steal from JoAnn’s class and how do you adapt it to Camp?

I would steal “As you enter” and “Closure” part and use it as warm-up or engagement and reflection part in every-day class, which could also be 5E models-Engagement and Evaluation.

As you enter-Warm up and set the mood:

1) Graffiti board: The topic of the day

2) Temperature check: Check students’ level of special event

3) Lie and Truth: Write three pieces of information, including two pieces of truth and one lie. (Variation: It also could be tell one piece of truth about science and one lie of science fact).

4) Give a piece of shape and students make them to explain a scientific concept.

Is there more?

5)Treasure Hunt: Put one object or a piece of picture that lying down students’ seats and have them what they could use this object for or what could they do to make the picture making sense to him or her.

I will include these questions:

Closure-What did you learn today?

What are you wondering about?

What did you find?

What do you want to improve?

The followings are variation of activities I could use for this part:

  1. Padlet Share (If limited time)

1) 3-2-1: 3 mainpoints, 2 questions and 1 controversial problem or claim.

2) Three key words: Jot down three key words to summarize what you learned.

  1. Oral share (Could throw ball or blind-pick name tag)
  2. Think-Pair-Share: Students share with partner (1. Oral share; 2. Write one thing you have learned; 3. Draw something to represent you have learned today without any word)
  3. Quick Survey: If you think you learned a lot about….Thumbs up
  4. Think aloud: Give students a specific question, ask him or her using what we learned today to jot down answers to the question.
  5. Follow the direction: Give a specific direction and two partners together think and jot down steps to finish the task. For example: Formulate an investigable question.
  6. Poem share: Write a poem using to represent why you have learned today.








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