During the summer teachers take time to review lessons, collaborate with other educators, set up classrooms, buy supplies and review new curriculum and applications. And as such, I have been talking with the folks at Lifeliqe, an amazing ed-tech company focused on 3D STEM models.
We set up a skype call to discuss piloting Lifeliqe in my classroom this fall, discussing the benefits of utilizing 3D models and the augmented reality behind the models. During our conversation, we talked about the “light bulb moment” all teachers hope to occur in their classrooms. The moment when students begin to say “Ahh, I get it now” or “Ohh, that makes sense” which in turn makes their teachers smile brightly. We all want our students to succeed. So in asking ourselves how do we spark a light bulb moment, we must also ask;
* Do teachers create the initial spark?
* Do we have to first make a student connection and that is what causes the spark?
* Do we need to have fantastic lectures and applications to create a spark?
The questions made me think about my own student light bulb moments and the order of events necessary for these moments to grow to full content comprehension. I’m curious, what do other educators think about sparking a lightbulb moment? For me, in a middle school classroom, most students need to feel a connection to the teacher. Middle school years are most notably an emotional period of time, students need to feel connected and respected. Teachers need to create an environment that fosters connections and respect but also builds up high expectations and accountability to learn content, organization, and skills necessary to move forward to the next level of learning.
I imagine connections are made from the teacher’s passion and excitement to teach students their subject area. It makes me giggle when I tell adults I am a middle school science teacher they either respond with “Oh my, I REMEMBER what I was like back then” or “Oh, I LOVED science because I had a really great time.” Typically, adults remember their middle school experience rather than the content learned during those years. How cool would it be to remember the experience AND the learning? How do we create more lightbulb memories that stay lit over time?
The connections that are made in the classroom are the catalyst for learning. With technology at our fingertips, teachers have access to a multitude of cool applications and heaps of crazy knowledge curriculum. If fully utilized these applications and curriculum can be the switch of the lightbulb – the initial “Ah-ha” sparking moment that ignites student comprehension. So as I prepare for fall, I am looking forward to piloting new NGSS aligned curriculum, working on collaborating with other science and technology educators and trying out Lifeliqe’s 3D models. I am excited to the see the spark in my students’ eyes when they use their fingertips to spin a cell model on their screens and fully analyze the organelles. I wonder if they will feel an Ironman “Tony Stark” moment when they create an image on their laptop screen with their head inside an atom? Or will they exclaim in glee that they understand the how the knee works when they overlay the leg anatomy and motion over their own?
I hope in the future my students will tell me that they remember my class AND that they have never lost the bright glow of the lightbulb moment.