Monday, January 16, 2012

Trailblazers Academy - Science Box!

(This is a double post, be sure to read the one before about e-books!)

My fieldwork has been a sort of strange experience thus far.  Mostly it comes from inexperience.  I've never had an internship or had to do fieldwork, and the wonderful people at Trailblazers Academy had never had a grad student popping in to help out with school related library science.  Timing was a bit confusing, as was what to do.  I found myself at first just throwing out suggestions and useful Web 2.0 technologies at Chris, the co-director of the school, hoping something would spark.  And it did.

Chris kept sending out my e-mails to his other staff until finally someone answered.  Her name was Katie and she was working with several 8th grade classes, starting their year long science projects.  She was curious about Museum Box and wanted to use it to help the kids organize their sources and information.

For those who are unfamiliar with Museum Box, look here:  Museum Box

It's a great program, when it works right.  You can add pictures, sound, video, files, links, and text to digital cubes which are all organized into a box.  This would give the kids plenty of opportunity to compile anything and everything they need for their projects both for data purposes and for visual references.

I had a project due in one of my classes that was all about introducing a new Web 2.0 Technology into a classroom.  It was a perfect match, and Katie and I got along great.  I got to talk with the kids through Skype and the experience overall was very new and exciting for me.  I had never addressed a class of kids before, but Katie helped out by silencing them when they became too loud and offered useful comments of her own.  I felt like I was a part of the class.

Did I mention Museum Box was a great program...WHEN IT WORKED RIGHT?

After my Skype chat Katie informed me that I did well, and that the kids were really excited about the program.  She did a few surveys for me and we found that most of the kids really liked using Museum Box rather than a pen and paper.  It made things much easier for them.

The only complaint was how often something wouldn't work, which was often.

The unfortunate thing about Museum box is that it breaks frequently.  A quick e-mail to the site supervisors usually fixed everything but it got a bit frustrating to deal with.  Still, the kids were learning and having fun and that was important.  Website bugs or no.

The projects are still going on.  The kids are not done with their research phase, and wont be done until mid February.  I have been sending reliable web sources to help them with their research, and next Monday I shall talk with the class again about how to tell what a reliable internet source is.

After that they will make their projects.  I will continue to help in any way I can until the end of the school year where they will present their projects to each other.  I'll be posting about this again soon.  It's my first time really working with a class.  I still feel nervous about it, like I'm not doing enough.  I plan on sending Chris an e-mail asking if there are other teachers who would like some aid as well.  I want to help as much as I can.

Or maybe I am just worrying.  I tend to do that.  Still it can never hurt to ask!

To be Continued!


Anonymous said...
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thanks for posting information about your fieldwork! I am glad you got to find a way to incorporate one of our IST 612 class in your fieldwork. I am sorry that Museum Box seems to glitch often. It sounds like a great project though! What are some of the topics they are covering in their science projects?

A.A.Van Fleet
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I know one student is working on social science and Facebook. She wants to do a comparison with people's Facebook profile pictures and how they portray themselves online. Not sure about the rest but it covers all kinds of sciences.

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