Saturday, July 11, 2009

GCoS PD--Day 2

  1. We started by looking at Eddie's concept map of his 'values, mission and goals'. Our talk was split between the map and the use of the software, CmapTools. Considering that Eddie's been using CmapTools for over a year now and I've used it for better than 3, it's interesting to note that there's still much to refine in our practice.
  2. When James arrived we continued the discussion of developing scientific habits of mind. (Here's a map of some. Please don't be dismayed with the security warnings your browser will give when trying to see this map--we have not yet purchased one of those, 'security certificates' which causes the browser to not give these security warnings.)
  3. This was intertwined with our talk of Knowledge Building epistemology. I commented that a metaphor that comes to my mind when I think of knowledge building was a circle of people batting a beach ball around, each person adding their own spin to the 'knowledge object', seeking to improve it with each interaction. I said that this metaphor breaks down when you consider that the beach ball (ie the knowledge object) doesn't really change in important ways.
  4. Then Eddie came up with the idea that you could do this activity in class but each person would add a sticky note with one of his/her values written on it! That was cool! We batted this idea around a bit more, each improving the idea. Here's the final state of this knowledge object (class activity): Each person gets a piece of masking tape, writes what he/she would like to propose as a shared value for our class, and as the beach ball bounces between all class members, slaps it on the ball, improving the object. After this, as a class we would analyze the entries (the second half of this post) on the ball and decide which ones we wanted for our community.
  5. We practiced collaborative editing of concept maps. As we did this we discussed values and accomanying norms that follow from them while synchronously editing maps. James changed something on Eddies map of his values/mission/goals and we came up with the idea that one ought to be sensitive when changing another person's ideas! I shared ideas of the layout of bubbles on a concept map as I re-arranged the layout of Eddies map, though not changing what was written nor where the links were attached. Some of the principles of layout are: Group Clusters and have some white space around them, aim for palmate structure and not serial or 'chain' structure, avoid crossing lines...
  6. Thinking about the tools we had to master as well as teach our students (ie novice scientists) to master, Eddie mentioned the need for a basic set of instructional flow maps, such as this one, that would tell how to use these tools. I need to identify this set of basic instructions...
  7. Our homework was to create kid-friendly webs of the MN state science standards, converting each sub-standard into jargon-less questions such as this one on the nature of science that I made when I taught 8th grade.

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