An interesting example of 21st century technology

In the video above, a third grader gets to use a rather striking example of 21st century technology to talk about some common topics in science, namely earthquakes and volcanoes.

I didn’t get the feeling that Duncan thinks we should not teach about dinosaurs and volcanoes, but instead teach about them and then beyond them. Frankly, if kids could grasp the actual science behind dinosaurs and volcanoes, they would be far ahead given all of the amazing science associated with volcanoes and dinosaurs. Sadly, most lessons in these areas usually focus on lower level (knowledge, comprehension, etc.) “facts” which are easy to assess with multiple choice instruments, yet allow little knowledge power beyond pointing and naming.

“..a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science.”

– Henri Poincar

As I watched the video, I was encouraged by the pauses as the student studied the imagery on the globe. He is not reciting anything, but interpreting what he sees which in my book is at the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In other words, complex scientific images are presented in a spherical (authentic) representation of the earth which in turn are then cognitively analyzed (separated into pieces) by the student, then reassembled (synthesis) into a reasonably coherent explanation of the relationship between the pieces (remember, this student is only 9 years old) .

A few things to keep in mind: 1) the sea floor is visible here, but in real life it is not; 2) the images are in false color; 3) his sister is selecting and moving different images of which the student does not always know what is next; 4) the globe is bigger (60-inch diameter) than the student so he cannot even see half the globe from his perspective; 5) the colors change and the oceans and continents switch between positive and negative space projections; and 6) the student is able to adapt to the images “on the fly” meaning he understands not only the individual concepts but their relationship to each other.

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  1. Ashley Blystone
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Watching this video of a nine year old child studying the Omni Globe was interesting. He was using all of the stages of Bloom’s taxonomy especially the synthesis and evaluation stages. He would study the globe and identifies ages of mountains, faults, plates, the ring of Fire, volcanoes, earthquakes and much more. He did not have notecards or someone holding up cue cards, rather he did it all by studying the globe and telling what he could identify.
    As the blog stated, I think it is important for students to learn beyond the facts. I think it is important for student to creative and able to make decisions based on supporting data, as Lukas did in this video. He used higher levels of thinking while connecting science and technology. In my classroom, I focus a lot on connecting all subjects with technology; this video was an excellent way of doing so. This video could be an introduction to many topics, such as what an Omni Globe is, how to determine where earthquakes or volcanoes have occurred, even up to the current event that happen in Japan.

  2. Mandy Jockel
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    As a current third grade teacher, I think it’s remarkable to see such a young child experimenting with such complex technology. The video displays the knowledge that a child can learn about a particilar topic, and then apply that knowledge to real life situations. I would love to have access to an Omni Globe to supplement the science curriculum at my school. I think students would really be motivated to apply their learning and present their own ideas, as Lukas did in the video. Implementing technology in all areas of education is important for helping students achieve all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, as was shown in the video as well. I can only hope that such technologies will be available in my district someday. (I’m still waiting patiently to at least have a Smartboard in my classroom!)

  3. Meghan K
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I must agree with your quote that “if kids could grasp the actual science behind dinosaurs and volcanoes, they would be far ahead given all of the amazing science associated with volcanoes and dinosaurs.” As I watched this video, I was very impressed with this child’s knowledge of the plates and fault lines. Most children when asked about volcanoes or earthquakes, they can usually mention some facts about magma, lava, and plates “rubbing together”, but it is not often that children have a great understanding of the tectonic plates and the fault lines like the child in this video does. I think it is important that as science teachers, we are sure to teach beyond mere facts so that our students are able to reach those high levels of synthesis and evaluation.
    I was also amazed by the technology in this video. What a wonderful tool the Omni Globe is to not only present that information, but also to allow children to explore and evaluate what is going on below the surface. These are the types of tools to which teachers need greater access.

  4. Michelle F
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    I found this video interesting on several levels. Not only was the student comfortable with the understanding he was sharing, but also with the process. Neither the video camera nor the Omniglobe (a tool new to me) phased him. To me this shows that he is fluid with both the scientific information and with the technology, which is so important when working towards true STEM education. Here the technology was definitely not an after thought, but truly integrated into the material. This was also reflected by his sister’s use of the Omniglobe software. I want to encourage this kind of exploration in both science and technology in my classroom. These students’ confidence is an inspiration to me as well as their comprehension.

  5. Craig Kubiak
    Posted April 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I honestly have to say that when I watched this video the first time, I was focusing more on what specifically he was talking about to try and understand and balance the things that he knew and the things he did not know throughout the presentation. I was impressed with the student for having deep knowledge about the subject material. After reading your blog and re-watching the video again, I focused more on Bloom’s Taxonomy-related areas. This time around, I was even more impressed with the levels that the student achieved. It got me thinking about various ways that earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate tectonics could be taught to get many more students to these higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. With tools such as interactive white boards and the like, surely it is easier than with a simple globe; however, I am still not convinced that a tool like this is enough. Perhaps a mixture of this mixed with a video (or even THIS video) would suffice. What I think would really work well is some sort of manipulative like this student had, although perhaps not quite as large. However, it is not quite as easy as just “having a manipulative,” since interactive globes or spheres are not readily available to educators.

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