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Scenario #2: 8th Grade Science Teacher

In partnership with Cal Tech (California Institute of Technology), we are able to communicate directly via videoconferencing with scientists who helped our students learn more about earthquakes, how seismographs works and understand the difference between S and P waves. I feel this helps my students better understand the content that I am teaching them.

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Technology spectrum: There's no doubt that the ability to videoconference with working scientists is going to make this lesson for memorable for the students, but without more information about the actual setup of the conference, I'm not prepared to assign this scenario to the Transforming Uses scenario. The same effect could be achieved through a face-to-face meeting with the scientist.

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Learning spectrum: Again, although it's tempting to be impressed by the videoconferencing with working scientists, I can't truly assign this scenario to more than Adapting Uses on the learning spectrum. While it might be more interesting for the students to talk to a live scientist rather then reading about the subject in a textbook, there's no real transformative learning here.

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Rigor/relevance: Although it might be exciting for students to have a conversation with a working scientist, the information they're receiving sits fairly low on the rigor/relevance scale. Students are asked to understand information, but not apply it to new situations. I give it the benefit of the doubt as far as "cross-discipline" goes, in that the scientific method -- if not P and S waves -- is cross-discipline.

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Recommendation: For better use of technology, allow students to follow real-time seismographic readings from a site such as http://www.iris.edu/seismon/ or http://realtimetools.de/.

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