My last-minute #nurture1314 post :-)

Felix Felicis
Felix Felicis – also called “Liquid Luck”, is a magical potion that makes the drinker lucky for a period of time, during which everything they attempt will be successful.
Image from Rebekah Hughes via Flickr

This is my contribution to #Nurture1314 initiated by @ChocoTzar and pushed forward by @rlj1981 – it’s been a very busy, exciting and fast paced year and I’ve really enjoyed reflecting on it.

13 reflections from the past year and 14 to look forward to (in no particular order).

13 things from 2013:

  1. Dresden. We changed flats and we now live in the best city of the world: Dresden. A very important lesson: changing flats during the hottest days of the summer with a girlfriend pregnant at 6 month is NOT recommendable.

    Dresden, GER 2013

  2. Father. I became father of a little girl. As it is my first time, everyday is still a little adventure and she already knows perfectly how to twist me around her little finger.
  3. University. I finished my PhD about the use of IWB in physics. A very good feeling to close that chapter. 


  4. School. I started to work at school to complete my “Referendariat” (kind of 2 year practical period) and become a fully qualified teacher by summer 2015. 

    2013-06-20 09.55.19

  5. TeachMeet. It was the first time for me presenting some stuff at a TeachMeet – and not any TM, it was at BETT 2013 in front of a lot of teachers. This was definitely a highlight for me. 


  6. #ukedchat. Engaging with #ukedchat and presenting the first time at TeachTweet to show that I’m not just “taking ideas” but also can give something. 


  7. GDrive. Starting to experiment with student feedback using Google Drive forms – very easy and with surprising results. Helpful for reflecting on my teaching and astonishing to see how my students perceive their lessons with me. 
  8. Blogging. I wrote 17 posts in my blog this year, often with help from my friends who offer their time to correct the biggest mistakes.
  9. Twitter. It’s my second year on Twitter and I’m preferring it to Facebook. One important lesson was followers are NOT (automatically) your friends, nor does following mean that you agree or even support the message of the person you follow.
  10. Camera. I really love my Casio Exilim ZR 400, not only because it’s able to capture high-speed-videos – it also makes pretty good pictures. It has become a constant companion.CIMG0390
  11. High-Speed-Videos. They are cool, they are fascinating and they could be used in the science classroom. My posts about how to make them generated some positive reactions and I hope some readers will try it themselves.
  12. #EDchatDE. This hashtag is the German equivalent of #ukedchat with a fast growing community of German teachers. Answers are provided in English and German – so everybody is welcome to participate! It takes place weekly on Tuesday between 20.00 and 21.00 (German time, 19.00 till 20.00 UK time), you can find more details here.
  13. Sharing. I started sharing my materials via Flickr, this Blog and other resources (like Dropbox). I benefit from a lot of people who share their ideas on their Blogs or on Twitter, so I think it was just fair to give something back – even it is as little as what I can offer.

14 things I’d like to do or learn in 2014:

  1. PhD. Get my PhD published as a book to get the official doctoral certificate. Should be done by end of January at the latest.
  2. Student Feedback Systems. Write an article about the use of student feedback systems for a German physics education journal. I will also write about the usage of these in my own lessons in the second state exam thesis.
  3. Model Boats. Finish my biggest model ship and use some time to drive the two finished ones on the lake.

    2013-01-17 18.04.07

  4. Learning Platform. Introducing a learning platform to my school. The internal network to share material is fine, but there are more things I’d like to do!
  5. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Persuading our school leadership team that the use of smartphones in physics should be allowed – and if not, doing it anyway.
  6. Blogging. Keep on blogging. But definitely reduce the requests for help. One reflective post per week would be great.
  7. Arduino. I had already a first go on Arduino but I’d like to explore more possibilities – at the moment this kit is just lying around.2013-01-17 21.13.55
  8. Responsibility. Stop trying to feel responsible for everybody and everything.
  9. Focus. I’m interested in a broad spectrum of topics, but I need to force myself to focus on fewer things. Otherwise I’ll go crazy in 2014 🙂
  10. Time Management. Optimise my time management, especially in free hours at school. The goal is that I don’t take too much work home and can enjoy my little family.
  11. Latex. I used Latex to write my PhD and it doesn’t just look much more professional, the writing is a bit like coding.
  12. Friends. Due to the very exiting 2013 we didn’t have much time to meet our friends, this is something I’d like to work on in 2014.
  13. Spending less time with my smartphone. It’s tempting to check mails, read the news or check some apps. I’d like to use these little moments of spare time to interact with the people around me – this is a much better way of investing my time. And it’s a lot more polite.
  14. Reduce moaning. During the last few months, I spent a lot of time moaning about different things, mostly related to our educational system and the bureaucracy or stupidity within. It’s not worth the time.

I’d like to thank Dughall and Emma, who generously offered their time to proofread this last-minute post. All left mistakes are my fault 🙂

So this is my list with 13 things I think I did well in 2013 and 14 I would like to do during 2014. I’m curious to read your #nurture1314 list 🙂

Connecting Smart Notebook 11 with Dropbox

If you’re using the the Smart Notebook Software you are surly aware of the possibility to organise your content in the Gallery. If you’d like to share objects you created you can use the Smart Exchange platform – but be honest: How often are you doing this?

A few days ago I discovered a nice and easy way to share your gallery with other people. The biggest advantage: Set up once, it will automatically synchronize the gallery between all the people using it – without the need to upload/download something manually.

What you need to do:

  1. Create a folder in your Dropbox where all the files will be stored, like “Gallerie” in my case.
  2. Connect your Smart Notebook Software with Dropbox. Open the galleries tab, click the toolbox and choose “Connect to Team Content”. Chose the folder you created in step 1.!smart_notebook_1smart_notebook_2
  3. Reorganize your gallery, if needed. For example, I decided to drag all personal created content in the shared gallery while the “standard” content, coming with the software, stays where it was.smart_notebook_3
  4. Share your Dropbox folder with other persons or simple use it as a backup, everywhere and every time available. Another person (or yourself, if you use more than one PC) just need to open Smart Notebook and add team content the same way.

I think this could be very useful for this scenarios:

  • Using a gallery collaborative between different teachers and/or schools
  • Backup and everywhere available access to the gallery if needed.

Unterrichtsfeedback – ein Experiment

Veritaserum – Ein Zaubertrank der einen dazu zwingt die Wahrheit zu sagen …
Image: Gretchen P. (Flickr)

Nach den ersten beiden Unterrichtsbesuchen (siehe Teil I und Teil II) blieb teilweise etwas Ratlosigkeit und die Erkenntnis, dass es noch viele Baustellen gibt.

Was mich jedoch irgendwie am meisten wurmte war die Tatsache, dass die Protagonisten die mich zweifellos am öftesten sehen und beurteilen können bisher keine Möglichkeit erhalten haben ihre Einschätzung und Kritik loszuwerden – meine Schüler.

Also was tun? Nach kurzem googeln fand ich zwei Ansätze für kurze Fragebögen die zum Unterrichtsfeedback genutzt werden können (siehe hier und hier). Was mich an Fragebögen jedoch stört: Wie kritisch und ehrlich wird so ein Fragebogen ausgefüllt, wenn die Mentorin und ich anwesend sind und einem der Banknachbar im Nacken sitzt? Da die Schrift leicht identifiziert werden kann, ist eine Anonymität auch nicht wirklich gegeben.

Die Lösung erschien relativ simpel: Mein schulischer Google-Account bietet die Möglichkeit über GDrive sogenannte “Formulare”, im Prinzip einen Online-Fragebogen, zu gestalten und allen Schülern zugänglich zu machen. Die Vorteile liegen auf der Hand:

  • Die Schüler können ihn freiwillig, allein und bei freier Zeiteinteilung daheim ausfüllen
  • Kein Druck oder Beobachtung
  • Anonymität

Also habe ich am Freitag in einer Freistunde schnell einen kleinen Fragebogen gestrickt und diesen den Schülern zur Verfügung gestellt, freiwillig und völlig anonym. Sie waren offensichtlich etwas verblüfft. Die ersten Antworten sind inzwischen eingetroffen – und die machen neugierig auf mehr!

Ein Demo-Formular findet ihr hier, das Passwort lautet “Twitter”.

Fortsetzung folgt.