Update to Classroom Pets (part one)

At the end of the school year, I was not sure what to do with my moth eggs.  None of them had hatched yet.  I was pretty sure I didn’t want to take them home, since the idea of having stinging caterpillars crawling all over my patio sounded like a bad idea.  I thought about propping the door of the habitat open and setting it underneath one of the trees outside my classroom.  However, I figured when the mowing crew came through, that would be the end of both the habitat AND any residents.  Instead, I carefully picked all the moth eggs out of the habitat and set them at the base of a tree along the back fence at school.  If nothing else, I will be increasing the local population of Automeris io lilith.

The pillbugs came home with me.  Right now, the tank is sitting on my patio, awaiting transfer to a new habitat.  I need to transfer them because apparently the ants and cockroaches in my classroom (EWWWWWWW!) decided that they would like to share the tank with the pillbugs.  Transferring the pillbugs means I have to make a new habitat in a clean tank, then individually pick out the pillbugs and put them in the new tank.  Fun times.


It’s a steep learning curve

Don’t you just hate it when you’re all gung-ho for a project, and hurdles keep jumping up in your way?  I’m very enthusiastic about flipping my AP Environmental Science class this year.  With that class, there’s so much material to cover that the pacing is brutal, and I feel like I don’t have enough time to cover it in the depth my students need.  I love the idea of posting lectures online so students have the baseline information coming in to class.  This will let me use class time to discuss, to do labs, and let them develop their critical thinking skills.

The first lecture topic I picked to flip is The Tragedy of the Commons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons  TOC is a very common theme in environmental science.  In a nutshell, TOC says that if we rely on human conscience to not overexploit limited resources, then we will run out of those resources.  Basically, humans can’t be trusted to preserve assets that they want to use.  Thus, the only way to protect common assets is to either allow private ownership, create voluntary agreements to limit use, or to designate the government the authority to limit use and penalize those who overuse.

What I want to do is make a PowerPoint presentation that I can annotate with my Mobi interactive tablet, record video of me expanding on the topics on the slides (because the slides are very sparse in terms of text), combine those two things and make a vodcast.  The vodcast will be uploaded to a website (Youtube, or maybe my school district’s server) so students can view the video and take notes on it.

Made the PowerPoint (on my Windows laptop).  Wrote the script (by hand.  I’m such a Luddite.).  Tried to download the software so I can use the Mobi pad with my Mac laptop.  Nope.  My school-district-issued Mac won’t play nice with the software.  Crap.  Look at downloading the Screencast-O-Matic software onto my Mac laptop.  Nope.  The free version apparently isn’t available for Mac.

There’s got to be a way!  I gave up in frustration yesterday, but got a lead to check out today.  I have to see if my version of iMovie has the picture-in-picture function.  If so, I can use my Windows laptop with the Mobi pad to annotate my PowerPoint and do a screen capture (possibly with a trial version of Camtasia Studio).  I can record my video with my handy-dandy Flip camera, then cobble the two together.  Seems like an indirect way of getting to my goal.

Crossing my fingers.