Online Experience

Being a teacher in an alternative school, with classes containing students from several subjects at a time, it sometimes seems overwhelming when I am trying to figure out how to incorporate activities like labs into the curriculum. Hands on is by far the best way to learn some science concepts, but with the use of Online Simulations, as outlined in the Michigan Online Experience Guideline, there are some better options than just watching a video.

Using online simulations could be a great asset in science specifically through virtual labs. With virtual labs, students would be able to dissect a particular animal, mix different chemicals and observe the reaction, and even create their own physics experiment on acceleration. This would greatly increase the amount if inquiry that was present within the classroom. With the varied spots of students within each classroom, I am grateful that I have two computers in my classroom at all times for students to utilize online simulations, because the odds of more than a few students being at the same spot in the material are low. For times when an online simulation is appropriate for all subjects covered within a classroom (or in my case for forensics), the computer lab could be reserved and used in a more class or group based way.

Even though the Michigan Online Experience Guideline has many good options for use within my classroom, there are some experiences that would be challenging to facilitate with my students. Because I work at a court school, communication with outside persons is very limited. Many of my students are also experts at gaining communication with persons that they are prohibited from even with school blocks in place. Because of this, it would be a challenge to open up interactive discussions with experts or between students. If this was done in a highly supervised scenario, or with only one or two students participating in this at a time, I think that it would be possible to integrate, but sufficient resources would need to be given in order to ensure proper use of the technologies.

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