Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Who are the Creatures in Your Neighborhood? - Section 4: Wrap Up- Organizing Data and Reflection


I've made a definite shift towards going digital this year.  What I mean by this is that I am more likely to ask students to type their work, but also less interested in receiving a printed hardcopy of their work.  For one, a hardcopy is more or less an unnecessary waste of precious resources (paper involves tress, water, land use, etc.) and it would seem somewhat hypocritical as an environmental science teacher to require its use if it isn't necessary.  Perhaps more important to our work as educators, however, is that asking students to submit digital work allows us both to have permanent copies of their work, it still allows us to make comments and give constructive feedback, and it makes the task of revision that much easier than asking a student to redo an entire handwritten assignment.

The trick that I found, however, is that students are less comfortable with computers and more comfortable with their mobile devices.  In that case, I have had many students submit work that they typed on their smartphone, tablet, or mp3 player.  For some reason, students tend to look at this as less work than handwritten or traditional "typed essay" assignments.  Whenever it's possible to capitalize on students' interests and existing skill sets to improve the quality of their work, I think it's in our best interests as educators to allow them to do so.  And that, in short, is why I had several students complete this assignment on phones and email rather than pen and paper.

I expand on this in much more detail at the end of the year during the biodiversity survey project that asks students to use their smartphones to make a virtual map of their local environment. 

  Digital Natives: When "typed" is no longer a dirty word
  Adjustments to Practice: Digital Natives: When "typed" is no longer a dirty word
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Who are the Creatures in Your Neighborhood?

Unit 3: Ecology
Lesson 3 of 8

Objective: Students will be able to observe and identify specific examples of organisms and ecological relationships on school grounds and reflect on the ways those organisms interact with each other and with humans.

Big Idea: You don't have to go far to study ecology... nature's byzantine machinations are always at work around us.

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