Well the first stage of the animal cell was completed at 11:30pm last night. The first lesson for students in the map was started at 10:00am today. I really should not leave things to the last minute. However the lesson is going to take longer than I initially thought, probably another hour or so, then there will be the discussion to follow to further embed the knowledge the students need to gain.
So how did the first lesson go? The students were somewhat wary after their neurotransmitter experience, but were willing to give it a go. The issues we discussed after the neurotransmitter map were mostly centered around the technical issues we encountered (telling them we are 'testing' the software doesn't seem to help) and the lack of direction in the latter part of the lesson.
So for this map it was very 'restricted' in terms of where they could go, and they had a booklet with questions to fill out as they toured the cell. This way they could see the outcome of the lesson and 'walk away' with something. I think that most students were focused on the actual task, and gathering the information. What concerns me is probably the wording of some of the questions in the booklet, perhaps I didn't clearly explain to them what the question was asking when they needed to describe the organelle, most were just copying the information from the game to their booklets, but I wanted the physical description. I also wanted them to think about how they are going to be able to recognise this particular organelle from other pictures, as this particular representation is mine, and how I think a cell looks in my mind, there are many more ideas and pictures out there.
The thing that really blew my mind was some of the discussion students were having with one another, and with me about their thoughts and ideas. There were also a lot of 'lightbulb' moments where something just clicked with the students, which, lets be honest, is the best part of teaching. I even had one student tell me that using a translucent block for the cell membrane was not what she would have done, instead she would have used water or lava with a customised texture to represent it as when she thinks of the cell membrane she thinks of it as 'gooey'. Those sort of discussion just have never happened in my biology classes before, and I have taught cells quite a few times now.
Well there are my current thoughts on what just happened in my previous lesson, as I consider the implications from discussions and edit the footage I am sure more will come and I will update you as we continue to use this map next week to finish of the introduction stage, and then in future tracking energy, creating proteins or even zooming in on particular structures inside the cell to talk about what impact these have on the cell and the processes that occur.
As always all thoughts are welcomed and thanks for taking the time to read.