Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thing 7

Think of ways you may be able to use Flickr in the classroom or in your work and share your ideas. What issues might you face?

The first idea that comes to mind is a sort of physics photo contest. The AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers) sponsors a physics photo contest that encourages students to capture live physics in action and explain the phenomenon in simple terms. I could use Flickr to do much the same thing and give the students a common place to view and comment on the work of their peers.

Copyright issues are the biggest obstacle to dealing with putting pictures on the internet. For starters, how could I be sure that pictures being submitted by students were taken by them? Privacy issues are another concern. If students take pictures of other students, how do I check that proper authorization was given to publish those photos online?

As with any new technology, it is my job to ensure that I don't simply rush headfirst into something I might not understand. I have to make sure that any assignment utilizing Flickr is valid and enhances the students' education while also weighing the privacy concerns and copyright considerations involved. It's something to think about for the spring when I have time for students to fill after AP exams.

Thing 6

Why did you choose a particular photo? What is it about the photo that you found interesting?

I searched for photos tagged 'physics' and it returned a wide variety of results. I chose the picture I did because it's indicative of how a lot of physics students feel about the subject. A dizzying array of equations to memorize and not much understanding going on. If I used that picture on a flier to recuit students into my class, I'd be downsized due to lack of interest.

Presumably, this picture was taken in a college physics course. I say that because of the complexity of some of the equations and my own personal experience with the nature of college physics. A lot of knowing, not much understanding.

Originally, I told people I wanted to teach physics because it meant I got to deal with the oldest students in a high school (physics is usually an 11th or 12th grade course), but as I finish my first year teaching, I realize that's not the case. In hindsight, it might be more fun to teach younger students and get the chance to excite them about science in stark contrast to the physics this picture represents.

Thing 5

RSS can be a difficult concept for some to grasp right away - what questions do you have? What didn't work or doesn't make sense? How might you use RSS in your personal or professional life? Find anything in your searching that you'd recommend to others?

I've been using Bloglines for a few weeks now and I think it's finally grown on me. The biggest gripe I have is that not every site I read regularly uses RSS, and even some that do only provide links to the updates (the updates themselves do not get fed into an aggregator like Bloglines).

Professionally, I could use RSS to keep me up to date on education related blogs I read. Or, I could have the students use RSS to follow the newsletter blog on the class website. It's a fairly simple and straightforward technology to use, so I'm confident the students could manage it. Bloglines is a good choice because it's not something that needs to be downloaded, so students that use a public computer like at the library can still take advantage of it.

I haven't found anything of great value yet, mostly just comics and entertainment sites I read, but I would readily share anything I found if I felt others could use it.