EducationPedagogySecondary EducationTechnology

Use Microsoft Excel to be More Data Driven (Part II)

This is Part 2 of a piece about visualizing assessment data, designed to help teachers see more information about an assessment than just the class average.  If you missed Part 1, stop now and go read it first.  I will assume that you have assessment data in a tidy format …

Excel Example of filtering at work
EducationPedagogySecondary EducationTechnologyUncategorized

Use Microsoft Excel to be More Data Driven (Part I)

As a teacher, one of my tasks is to assess how well students are comprehending the material I am teaching. There are many ways to assess student comprehension, but this post will focus on using Microsoft Excel to extract meaningful information from formal assessment data.  I am defining a formal …

Batman and Robin meme: Excuse me Mr... / Doctor!
EducationHigher EducationSecondary Education

It Takes a Village to Make a Doctor

I defended my dissertation Wednesday, which now makes me technically-officially Dr. Dan. Please update your Rolodexes accordingly. It also got me thinking about the long, meandering, and sometimes arduous path followed by those of us who do end up receiving doctorates, and just how many mentors are required along the …

EducationInformal EducationPrimary EducationSecondary Education

So You Want to Teach about Comets?

Last week, humanity took a huge leap forward in solar system exploration. If you’re a science teacher wanting to talk about comet science in your class, there are some great resources out there for doing that. First of all, if you can get your (gloved) hands on some dry ice, …

EducationHigher EducationPedagogySecondary EducationTechnologyUncategorized

MOOCs, A High School Teacher’s Perspective

If you haven’t heard of MOOCs yet, welcome to the education blogosphere, it’s nice to have you here!  The New Yorker recently wrote an article challenging the mission and execution of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) offered at places like Coursera, Udacity, EdX, and Khan Academy.  It so happens that …

A really rather creepy clown.
Pop QuizSecondary Education

Pop Quiz: They All Float Down Here

This week I might have accidentally made a pupil have a nervous breakdown.   It was near the end of a period with one of my younger classes and they had completed all of their work. We’d been reading a novel which features characters who play various pranks on each …

A Prison Cell
EducationSecondary Education

Be Careful What You Wish For (Especially When It Involves Prison)

It’s something many teachers will have said or though at some point, often in the aftermath of a confrontation with a particularly difficult or aggressive student. Once they leave here, they’ll be in prison within a year. There are some students who go beyond “normal” misbehaviour. The ones who radiate …

Dorchester High School Science
Higher EducationPedagogyPrimary EducationSecondary Education

Is there a difference between teaching and having an impact?

I just finished doing a guest lecture in a class on animal behavior. It went well. The class was attentive and I got through all my planned material clearly, with enough humor tossed in to keep people from falling asleep. The format, however, was very “old school”. Indeed, looking more …

Shaking hands awkwardly
Pop QuizPrimary EducationSecondary Education

Pop Quiz: Back to School Night

I dress to the nines.  There is not a single dog hair on me, there are no wrinkles in my clothes (which if you ever met me you’d realize how big a deal that is), my shoes are professional, but not as practical as I normally wear. This is my …

EducationHigher EducationPedagogyScienceSecondary Education

Introduction to Astronomy Survey

Warning: This post is Northern Hemisphere-centric! Also, keep in mind I did not do an exhaustive statistical analysis of this survey so take it as you wish. Every semester at the beginning of my Introduction to Astronomy course I give a variation of the survey from The Collaboration for Astronomy Education …