Only giving free IA topic checks to website subscribers
It's so important to get the start right in order to smoothly get to a 7 that I'm compelled to only do free IA checks for topics now instead of offering an option to do the full draft check. I will do full IA draft checks for my tuition students, but students need to realise it is the correct IA topic reseach and development before an experiment is even done that will lead to a 7, not having someone check a final draft.
Steel sharpens steel - competition makes for a healthy industry
I spend a certain number of hours going through the competition websites. Competition is definitely a healthy thing. I'm making some significant improvements to make sure I'm still ahead. With these particular upgrades - finished only for Topic 10 at the time of writing this, I am convinced my website is miles in front. I've added flash cards and PPTs with each of these extra functions more advanced in quality than other competitors who also have added this function.
Flash cards for memorisation
Thanks to the company that is outsourced here, this flash card software is amazing. You can swap cards, flip them, allocate them to different piles. This is an amazing tool and now you don't have to write them yourself - I am doing all that for you.
Of course I'm also looking at pricing. The best website I've ever used is Education Perfect - just for Australian syllabus. Unfortunately they are limited to PPTs/videos with below average quizzes, and only have the Australia syllabus (no IB when I last used it). There are many other IB websites also - I've priced the subscription at around the same fee as all the others - the difference is the website content quality of www.mrwengibchemistry.com is much higher than the competition at the time of writing this blog.
After teaching back in Australia for the last 3 years, I've resigned as Head of Science to come back to the YouTube channel and Website.
Copyright laws in Australia means you can't actually own your own YouTube channel or Website as a teacher in Australia - the school legally owns it even if it is your own money and holiday time!
Hence I've decided to take the break from teaching in 2020 order to come back. I will need of course to charge for the website as I can't do it for free - and I'll now take requests for tutoring - even help with IAs and EEs.
I'm planning on doing some live stream tutoring. Please click the notifications bell on my YouTube channel so you can know when I'm live in 2020. And feel free to support me (firstly by subscribing to my website) as I'll can only come back if it pays the bills!
PEDAGOGY and METACOGNITION
1. POGIL step 1 - grouping
Students are randomly put in roles. This allows students to gain different skill sets. How to be a leader, a follower, a supporter, a reflector, a presenter.
2. POGIL step 2 - the worksheet
Students ideally have a worksheet with raw scientific experimental data and create their own patterns. They then use these patterns to solve problems. This give students a much better understanding of the material as ideally they can see how the theories were formed and test them out. The group work is also active learning so it should have higher learning gains.
3. POGIL step 3 - conclusion
Students can be independent learners and still catch up (maybe watch a video!) that night before being tested on how much they have learnt individually - yet interdependently as they are competing for their group using the free Socrative online website.
Farrell, John J., Richard S. Moog, and James N. Spencer. "A guided-inquiry general chemistry course." J. Chem. Educ 76.4 (1999): 570.Livingston, Livingston, Jennifer A. "Metacognition: an overview. 1997." Download: http://www. gse. buffalo (2006).
Moog, Richard S., and James N. Spencer. "POGIL: An overview." Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) 994 (2008): 1-13.
Prince, Michael. "Does active learning work? A review of the research."Journal of engineering education 93.3 (2004): 223-231.
Reasons to start your own websites and YouTube channels
1. Websites and YouTube channels not buildings and phone numbers
Many of you are not going to go further with your IB Chemistry. You will however become business people, politicians, work in hospitality, trade, etc... You won't be found with the address of you building or in the telephone book (if you know what that is!). You will be found online - Google or YouTube are the top 2 search engines. And they will no doubt refer back to your website. Start now, get practice, learn how to do it! And research SEO before you start - wish I did!
2. Your best connections will be through the internet
With only 250 subscribers I've been contacted by a major publisher after writing a review video and asked and allowed to get a free text book - Pearson. I've had more communication with a lot more teachers in IB - especially with those that are established on YouTube and the internet. Some to even share resources such as unit tests to save teaching time. I've had errors picked up and ideas shared. All this would have been impossible in the days before the internet. I've been asked by an educational technology start up and helped them with their program to enable better use of videos with education - Enkato. I've been thanked by numerous IB Chemistry teachers and students for sharing. This all works both ways. They also share and everyone benefits. This will be the case for any industry you find yourselves working in.
3. Vocational calling
Whatever your mission is in life, the internet can make that possible. For a teacher the calling is to educating students for a better society.
Currently with about 6000 minutes being watched every 28 days that's over 200 minutes per day. That's over a lesson per day. So so far I've added an extra student to my class. Actually there are 37 school weeks a year with 360 minutes of class time a week. This works out to 13,320 minutes per year. So for every 13,000 minutes I've taught another student for a whole year. So I've added perhaps another 6 students and I'm teaching effectively 10% more efficiently or in effect have an increased teaching load of 10%. And I'm paid about $0.01 for it. I guess teachers will always be underpaid!
Rationale for selection
It is difficult to believe but there isn't a graphing software program that can actually do everything. Microsoft Excel is currently the best program to do graphs for IB Chemistry, but until a few years ago it was LoggerPro. OpenOffice Calc also gets a mention because it is very similar to Microsoft but free. I have used all three for over a decade both personally and teaching students for their science reports. You can make any program work to give you what you need, but some require more creativity and effort than others. That's why the preference is Excel. All three graphs drawn are exemplars I've done in the past as the best I can do on the program.
Microsoft Excel graphing software
Microsoft Excel recently updated the way it added error bars which made it significantly easier. They have the best settings for allowing significant figures for the axis values. Their biggest plus are settings with fine grid lines, but really they could do better and have finer ones still. On top of that this setting doesn't allow the labels to have any lowercase! The axis value marks are also not as clear as they could be. These can be fixed by overlaying text boxes etc. as is sometimes necessary.
OpenOffice Calc graphing software
Open office is basically just a free imitation of Microsoft Office Suite. Their Calc is the imitation of Excel. They fall a short on an important point of having grid lines and error bars. The error bars could be skipped but certainly not the grid lines. The fix for this is to overlay a grid line by downloading and inserting a picture of a grid in png format (not jpeg etc...). I've made a video showing how to do that here:
Vernier LoggerPro graphing software
The fact that they have never updated or improved their program and were the best up until a few years ago is very sad. They could have easily dominated the market with minimal effort. They have a huge advantage in that the data is inserted directly into tables and even the graph in real time while you are doing the experiment right from the data loggers. For this reason they will always have the potential to crush Excel for use in science. They have the same issue with grid lines - I've tweaked this graph to make it the best it can be besides doing the png picture overlay trick as with OpenOffice Calc. The other problem is making the axis values the correct number of significant figures and increasing the size of the labeling text. Again problems that are fixed with overlaying text boxes etc. Their strongest point is for some IB complicated graphing analysis you need several lines of best fit in a single graph (energetics for one). LoggerPro does this so easily. You have to be creative with Excel and copy and split the table to get the same effect.
Excel is always going to be a major player as formulas, calculations etc mean you can't possibly find a better program for doing tables. However, their graphing functions now have taken them also to the top. It seems amazing that LoggerPro haven't done any significant updating in decades as by simply allowing more text editing, grid lines on their graphs and significant figures on the axis they would automatically be number one for graphs again...
For a full list of videos on details taking you through how to make specific tables and graphs please go the Science Report tab on this website or my YouTube playlist on How to write Science Reports.
Walk outside these days and you might find over half the people have their phone out and are playing Pokemon. Clearly from the Pokemon gyms around where I live, with Pokemon only released 2 days ago, some people have literally been playing for 2 days non-stop this weekend. I don't see how they could have such high ranking Pokemon otherwise!
Pokemon disrupting achievement in school
How Pokemon and Youtube can improve our world
According to the research conducted by Durham University, IB Chemistry is second in difficulty only to IB Maths (CEM 2009).
That being said, it is an awesome subject. Completely empowering if you are going into the sciences, or eye opening on what science really is if you are not. It is the central science as one of the AP textbooks labels itself. If you are doing Medicine you need Chemistry and Biology, if you are doing Engineering you need Chemistry and Physics.
So should you do IB Chemistry HL? Well actually, if you are going into the sciences, it should be mandatory, if you are not, sorry please don't! It is hard! That's my advi
1. CEM Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring 2009, 'Are some IB diploma subjects more difficult than others?' CEMConnect, Issue no. 2, p. 2, accessed 12 July 2016, <http://www.cem.org/attachments/CEM%20Connect%20International%20Issue%2002.pdf>.
Reflection on the types of students
I decided just under a year ago to open up my website to the public and release what I do to others outside my classroom. As a part of entering myself into the public I have been uploading videos to YouTube I took this screenshot of my analytics.