I’m at that point in the semester when I really have to start planning for the next terms – both summer and fall – and that makes me dream big at the same time I’m addressing minutiae. Can I develop the summer test schedule at the same time I’m designing new assignments that will spur deeper learning? Why, yes – yes, I can. In fact, if I don’t start it now, I wont’ have time to get the long-range plans accomplished. I have to analyze now, while it’s still fresh,what doesn’t seem to be working in this semester’s initiatives, and tweak, or throw out and reinvent, for the brief summer term as well as the new students in the fall. My first step is to survey this semester’s students to see what resonated with them and what fell flat. They seem to appreciate videos more than text, and interactive assignments more than straight reading. Of course, those types of assignments take more time to develop, and I’m constantly looking for inspiration – a new angle, or a new application – along with new technology to record, post, and assess online lessons.
I’ve perused the new edition of the HAPS Educator – a very fine online journal with a variety of articles produced to help us as educators and as science enthusiasts. I’m particularly impressed with examples of HAPS members sharing their tips with their colleagues. I’ve also attended presentations given by HAPS members at our regional and national meetings, and I always get good ideas, not only from what they present, but also by how they present it. I’m pondering how we can leverage that into a shared resource, something that we can all tap into when we feel tapped out.
So, I’m looking forward to the HAPS annual meeting in San Antonio at the end of May. We’ll not only get insight into educational research from recognized experts, but also those teaching tips that just smooth our presentations and get our students in the zone. We’ll experience that electrifying synergy that energizes us all the way home. We’ll gain lasting resources that will enrich our classes and satisfy our creative sides. We might even find out what amazing app/software/website is the secret to our students’ success. I hope to see you there!