sdeighton on September 20, 2018

Here is the state of techonolgy that I experience at my school.   In my classroom there is a rather constant use of networked devices by me and my students.  I have a laptop attached to a projector that I use quite extensively.  On this I use powerpoints, show youtube videos or use other sites that give a good visual representation of concepts.  Students have access to laptops when needed.  I share a cart of 23 laptops with a teacher directly across the hallway from me.  If we need them at the same time we can have the kids share computers in small groups or let them use their phones.  Almost every single student I teach brings a phone to school.   We also have a Mac lab that is used for option classes but there is usually space for other students to use them .  As well we have a Learning Commons that can be signed out and that has desktops for at least 40 students.  In years past it was difficult to get a class set of computers.  Our school had a limited number and it seemed the Humanities teachers would use them more and as a Science teacher you would use them on occasion when they were available.  Now, with the increased number of computers and smartphones, getting a computer is not and issue anymore.  Students use google docs at times to complete projects, it is a good tool in my science class when students sometimes do group lab write-ups and other group projects.

sdeighton on September 16, 2018

Reading the article by Bates on the history of educational technology made me reflect on my own teaching history with regards to technology.  The changes in my educational practice over that past 25 years has been quite dramatic.  In the past to gather information on topics, students all had textbooks and used library books.  My lessons would have involved me lecturing and writing notes on a chalkboard and the occasional use of a tv and vcr for an educational video.  That was the extent of the technology in the classroom.  Now we have tablets replacing textbooks and students can research any topics in the palm of their hands with a smartphone.  The classroom has been completely transformed.  Topics that were complicated or boring are much more easily dealt with today with such things as virtual lessons, use of video and tablets.  Addressing a multitude of learning style and students with different learning needs is also much easier with todays tools.  From a personal standpoint my teaching has been enhanced with and ever expanding knowledge about the curriculum through a multitude of web based programs.

sdeighton on September 13, 2018

My name is Steve Deighton.  I am a grade 8 and 9 science teacher in Calgary.  I’ve been teaching for 24 years mostly in Calgary and am currently at Mountain Park School.  Just over a year ago I decided I needed to be more proficient with technology in the classroom so I ended up taking my first university class in a great many years.  The experience turned out to be quite positive so here I am again.  I look forward to this new learning experience and sharing in it with some like minded people.

sdeighton on April 4, 2018


I used the program Audacity to record my relaxation audio and used to get my soothing background music.  For this recording I wrote my own script.  It was challenging to find the right words to use, words that you hope will put someone else in a state where they can calm and quiet their mind.  I found some Tibetan Bowl music to accompany my words and to create a feeling of wellness and relaxation.  The challenge with the music was to try and match it to my words and for it not be too overpowering.  The reason why I chose to do a relaxation audio was because of the meditation component of my Yoga class.  My students loved spending the last 10 minutes of class listening and relaxing to a recording from youtube.  I thought it would be a challenge to make my own recording.  I would also like to upload it onto youtube at some point (but I’m not sure how just yet).  This seems like the story of my life for this course, figuring out how to use technology that I have never attempted before.



I used PowerPoint to create my graphics.  My goal was to create some visuals to put on the walls in my room when I teach the surface area unit.  It helps if the students have a visual in the room that they can reference when they are struggling.  In the past I would write steps on poster paper myself and post that in the room.  Now that I’m becoming more proficient with making graphics, I can easily do them on the computer.  I want to enlarge the graphics, print and laminate them before putting them on my wall.  I did one graphic for finding surface area of a rectangular prism and one for finding surface area of a cylinder.  The first two graphics go together and will make one poster, the same goes for the second two.




For my video I used a site called Powtoons which provides animation software.  I created an animated video to help in explaining the five parts of the Particle Model of Matter.  The challenging part of this was the fact that I had no experience using this site.  I watched a few youtube instructional videos and then through trial and error I managed to put together an educational video.  The site itself was fairly user friendly, however I put in many long hours to get a video that lasts about 2 minutes.  Overall it was a good experience, I could see myself using this site again or getting my students to make a video on this site.



sdeighton on March 24, 2018

Activity: To make, describe and determine the surface area of composite 3-D objects. (Grade 9 Math)

General Outcome:

Describe the characteristics of 3-D objects and 2-D shapes, and analyze the relationships among them.

Specific Outcome:

Determine the surface area of composite 3-D objects to solve problems.


Task 1: In a group of 2 or 3 students, your will create a composite surface area question using graphics on PowerPoint.  You will then answer the question.

a)  Choose two of the following shapes (cube, rectangular prism, triangular prism or cylinder)

b)  On PowerPoint you will create 3 slides.  Slide #1 will be a 3-D graphic of each shape separated.

c)  Slide #2 will show the composite shape.

c)  Slide #3 will show all 2-D faces for each shape in an organized manner highlighting  area of overlap.

d)  Label measurements on all three slides (length, width, height, radius or diameter)

e)  Find the area of each face and total surface area of composite 3-D shape.

f)  Show all calculations and final answer on paper.

g)  You will submit the entire powerpoint to teacher along with paper calculations

h)  You will submit slide #2 separately,  this will be the composite surface area question you will share with other groups.

Part 2:  In the same group you will pose the same composite area question, this time using audio.

a)  Using a program called Audacity, you will pose your surface area question.

b)  Describe the composite shape and give all necessary measurements.

c)  Be sure to carefully describe and give measurements for the area of overlap.

Part 3:  Working on questions from other groups.

a)  You will be provided with three PowerPoint questions and use the visuals to help solve each problem.

b)  You will be provided with three audio questions from Audacity and are required to solve each problem with the audio descriptions.


Resources to use: 

A) PowerPoint

Video to help with making 3-D graphics:


B)  Audacity

Video to help with voice recording:



Since I am currently working on surface area of composite shapes with my grade 9s, I was trying to come up with an activity that I could could put to work in the classroom immediately.  Students typically find it hard to look at a 2-D drawing of a 3-D shape and see all of the faces.  I do an activity where students use nets of prisms and cylinders to create the shapes, fold them together, find area of overlap and then find total surface area.  This definitely helps with area of overlap, they can physically put the shapes together and also look at them separately.  I thought if the students could build the shapes using graphics and manipulate them on a computer, this would be an equally valid activity.

After experiencing a number of different programs for making graphics, I decided on using PowerPoint.  The reason was the ease of making  3-D shapes and being able to manipulate them without many problems.  Word was totally frustrating when it came to moving multiple shapes around the screen.  I found another program called SketchUp, which at first seemed very promising, however there was many functions and it seemed too complicated to learn in a short period of time.  I want this lesson to last a maximum of 3 class periods.

Using graphics is a great way to stimulate the visual learners in the class where it is important for them be able to picture what they are using in their heads.  Clark and Lyons talk about for learning to occur all instructional methods, including graphics must support several critical psychological events.  The two I see at work in this lesson are building new or expanding mental models in memory and managing mental loads to free resources for learning.  (Clark, R.C & Lyons, C., 2010)

For the second part of my activity I thought it would be interesting for the students to make an audio recording where they have to describe a process in great detail as well as listen to a recording and try to answer a question.  This is not a method I would use very often so I am interested to see how it will work.  Having students answer surface area question that are so visual by nature with purely auditory clues seemed like good way to reinforce the learning for all students while at the same time appealing to those students who were auditory learners.  Sometimes I forget that there are students who have an easier time storing information by the way it sounds and don’t necessarily always need a visual medium. Research has shown us that the brain processes information using two channels—visual and auditory. By taking advantage of the auditory processing capability and technology-based tools, we can dramatically enhance student learning through auditory instruction. (Brady-Myerov, 2017)  

Part 3 of my activity involves the students answering other groups questions.  The groups will answer some questions with graphics and some with only auditory clues.  I will be doing this activity after spring break and I am interested to see how it will work and am hopeful that it will be a rich learning task.



Clark, R.C & Lyons, C. (2010). Three views of instructional visuals, In Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials. San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 15-28.

Brady-Myerov, Monica:


sdeighton on March 9, 2018

Class: Grade 6 Math

Task: Changing mixed numbers to improper fractions and improper fractions back to mixed numbers.

General Outcome – Develop number sense.

Specific Outcome – Relate improper fractions to mixed numbers and mixed numbers to improper fractions.

Part 1 – Changing Improper Fraction to Mixed Number

Introduction – Students will watch video on how to change an improper fraction to a mixed number.

Activity – Work on following questions with guidance from graphic:

Part 2 – Changing Mixed Number to Improper Fraction

Introduction – Students will watch video on how to change a mixed number to an improper fraction.

Activity – Work on following questions with guidance from graphic:


I have created a lesson on changing between mixed and improper fractions.  It is a straightforward skill to teach so I decided to use videos to give the students an explanation of all the steps involved in the process and  simple graphics which they can refer to when working on the practice questions.  I used representational graphics to help the students with the actual content they need know.  The key to representational graphics is that they are intended to faithfully represent the “real” object. (Clark, R.C & Lyons, C. 2010) In this case the “real” object is the mathematical process.

I used two separate videos to break up the two concepts so the students can focus and master each skill individually.  I could have taught both concepts on one video clip, however it wouldn’t have been as effective and may have confused some students giving them too much information at once.  You can make videos on specific topics, sections, or other logical subsets of your lecture material. You can even record lessons on the topics that you notice students struggle with again and again. (Amboy, Dayna, 2017)  I could see students replaying the video to learn the concept and to review before a testing situation.


Clark, R.C & Lyons, C. (2010). Three views of instructional visuals, In Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials. San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 15-28.

Amboy, Dayna, (2017),

sdeighton on February 19, 2018

Digital story telling has not ever been part of my teaching practice.  I remember many assignments I’ve given over the years that involved students making a comic strip with  pencil and paper.  I’ve usually done one at the beginning of the year in science where each kid has a lab rule they have to depict in a comic strip format.  I had no knowledge of any online sites and definitely no experience using an online format.  I looked at Abbi’s blog and decided just to use the same site she had used (thanks for that).  I see some merit in this story telling platform, students can be creative, have a chance to show off their knowledge as well as showing off a sense of humour (which often comes out in students comic strips).  I would like to play around with this site a bit more and come up with a lesson where my students can do some digital story telling.



sdeighton on February 13, 2018

I found a clip on the Internet Archive on the topic of GMO foods.  They clip was a debate that lasted around 50 minutes.  I wanted just the introduction to the pro side and the introduction to the con side of the debate.  This is the part that I removed from the original clip.

sdeighton on February 8, 2018

I chose to make an audio clip a relaxation exercise.  I am teaching a yoga option (I am not anywhere near qualified to be doing this) however, we always do at least 10 minutes of relaxation at the end of class.  I always just go onto youtube and use a clip, there are many to choose from.

For this activity, I found a script on the internet for mindful meditation and I went to free sound to get the relaxation music.  I made a short sample clip but I will make a full version and try it out on my class.

sdeighton on February 1, 2018

I chose an image showing Mutualism to create my thumbnail.