1. Virtual Labs
For classes where you would like to have a laboratory component but lack the equipment or space, virtual laboratories can substitute. There are many sites that have virtual lab activities and you would want to start by searching for the topic or type of lab activity you are interested in. Below are some good sites to start with.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Virtual Lab Site
Chem Collective for virtual chemistry labs
Virtual Labs in Chemistry and Physics (supported by the National Science Foundation)
NCBI Databases for Protein, Genomic, Bioinformatic labs
2. Online Videos or Demonstrations
Just about any demonstration or process you want to visually show to your class has been videotaped and loaded online. Searching for your specific topic is the best way to start, but below are a few good places to look. To use many of these videos in your classroom you will need an internet connection, as you cannot easily save the videos off of sites like Teacher Tube or You Tube. There are online sites that will convert You Tube videos to a format that you can directly save (avi, mov, etc.), though depending on the size and original format this may not work perfectly (try www.gazzump.com or benderconverter.com).
Modeled after youtube.com (also a good place to find videos), Teacher Tube is an online repository of videos on a wide range of topics. You can also share any video content that you develop for your course with other instructors on Teacher Tube.
HHMI's Cool Science Site
Click the 'for educators' button and search your area of interest to get lab protocols, animations, etc.
Podcasting provides additional information that students can download and listen to anywhere. You can make your own podcasts or use ones already created by another professor or professional group (example sites listed below). Podcasts can be subscribed to so that students can have lectures or additional information automatically downloaded to the computer and then synced onto an MP3 player. Podcasting would be useful for supplemental instruction, supplemental information, and as a repository for the audio from lectures.
Sites to Find Premade Podcasts:
iTunesU requires that you download the free iTunes software. You can browse over 350,000 podcasts or videos created by a variety of institutions. You can also upload your own podcasts
Also using iTunes software or individual program or radio websites you can download podcasts on a variety of subjects—for example: NPR’s Science Friday podcast.
Many professional societies also have their own podcasts that are released regularly. For example, the American Physiological Society releases a monthly LifeLines podcast on topics in physiology, often featuring interviews with scientists doing the work they are describing.
Developing your own Podcasts:
The simplest podcasts are audio podcasts and can be as easy as using a USB connected microphone to record what was said in class. Additionally, you can create an enhanced podcast by adding pictures or powerpoint slides to a audio podcast. In addition to hearing what you are talking about, the students can see diagrams or pictures that match the audio material.
The most sophisticated podcast is a video podcast. Like an enhanced pod-cast, video podcasting has images that go along with the audio content. This could be an animation or a demonstration. Video podcasting could be useful for supplementary information, pre-laboratory exercises, or a guest speaker.
Devloping both enhanced and video podcasts is a time consuming process. You should estimate about 1 hour of work for every minute of video. To reduce the amount of work, it is critical to story board and then to write a script.
Tip Sheets on Making Enhanced Podcasts:
4. Digital Storytelling
Digital storytelling is essentially an enhanced podcast using the same technology and techniques. What sets it apart is that digital storytelling is in the first person using audio and images to tell a story. Digital storytelling can be used for introductions to a course, for specific content, or to provide the students with information about themselves and why they care about what they will teach.
Digital Storytelling Resources:
5. Teleconferencing in Guest Speakers
There are many free and easy to use programs that allow video conferencing. This technology can be used to bring in guest speakers to your class without having to pay for travel. Additionally, teleconferencing can allow your students to hear seminars or other talks or classes anywhere around the world. For most of the video conferencing programs you just need computers, microphones, and web cameras. Two of the most popular sites are shown below.
Skype offers free video calling and screen sharing between two Skype accounts. Video calling with 3 or more people requires an $8.99/month subscription. Skype can also be used to call landlines and cell phones on a per minute charge basis (starting at 2.3 cents per minute). Skype can also be used on mobile devices, like cell phones or iPads that have internet capabilities.
ooVoo is similar to Skype and also offers free 2-way video calling. Video calling with 3 or more people and desktop sharing requires a monthly plan or a per use charge.
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