WEEK NINE: Aug 19 - Aug 23


More plane fun. My flight was delayed then delayed again. I didn't get home to Atlanta until 9:00pm. So sleepy.


Well, classes at Georgia Tech have started so people are all over the place, Janet's at class, KK's at class, Jakita is in little kid's classrooms along with all the other scientists in the group, observing students taking part in the Apollo 13 project I think since it's the beginning of the school year, but I'll have to check with that.

I'm reading a bunch, found a really neat guy by the name of Howard Rheingold. He's big in Online Community study and other Sociology stuff that is related to science and technology. Very fun writer. See the articles I read of his in my bibliography list on the projects page.

I'm not really sure what the next two weeks will hold for me. I'm going to try to sit in on a couple of the Graduate courses here, see what that's all about, maybe even an undergrad class, see if the level is any different from UO.



Today was lots of fun. I went with Jackie and Paul (two research scientists in the LBD group) to a Middle School just outside of Atlanta. The class is an 8th grade Physical Science class. They are just starting the Learning By Design unit so we went to video tape. Unfortunately the teacher wasn't ready to start the unit so mostly today was an introduction.

Some of the kids in the class participated in the LBD Earth Science unit with the same teacher two years ago so were already familiar with LBD. Jackie had those kids sit in front of the class and we video taped them while they answered our questions. The kids told us what they remember from their 6th grade science class, and the LBD material. It was amazing how much they recalled. They could still remember the vocabulary that was used! They remember all the design challenges and even remember what it was they were supposed to be learning about from the challenges. The students unanimous agreed that LBD was the most fun way to learn about science, they really like the hands on approach to learning. Most of the kids were quite enthusiastic and happy that they would be doing more LBD projects this semester.

Then Jackie asked the kids who were not in the prior LBD group to recall what they remember from 6th grade science. Only two kids out of the eleven could recall what they did, and no one could remember why they did it. Most of the kids said they did a lot of book work, writing, and memorization of material that they soon forgot. Not very surprising!

The students will start the launcher unit next Tuesday so I will try to go to that as well. I'm not sure if they really need my help in the classroom, but it will be fun to observe and see the students' reaction from the material. I really like LBD, what they're trying to create here. I would highly recommend the program to any middle school science teacher.



This morning I sat in on Janet's Education Technology Class, although she wasn't there, Mark Guzdial came in her place (wearing, quite appropriately, a purple shirt). It was very enjoyable. I wanted to attend a Graduate level course to see what differences there were between it and undergrad courses I'd been in. The major difference that was immediately apparent was the amount of dialogue that occurred between the students themselves and with the professor. I guess the folks who make it to grad school know how to take their own initiative and the professor no longer needs to drag the words out of the students' mouths.

We discussed three papers; Pianos Not Stereos, Will Media Influence Learning? Reframing the Debate, and a NY Times article, OK, Schools Are Wired. Now What? Mark had an interesting lecture style which I quite enjoyed. For each paper he had students come up to the board and write down quotes they found interesting, from the quotes Mark guided a discussion about the papers. Very effective.



Here it is, the last Friday of my mentorship project. Seems amazing that the time has gone by so quickly. Although I must admit, I'm ready to go home. Today is a lazy day. I've been studying for the GRE and working on my website, but not much else.

I'm going over to Idris's (another grad student) office in a bit to play a Bach violin duet with him. It's actually a Violin and Oboe duet, I'll be playing the Oboe part, we'll see how it goes, I havn't done much more than read through most of it, but it should be fun. I love sight reading.

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