Posts written by Chase Fordtran

Jaron Lanier

Speaker Series: Virtual Reality: Dawn of the New Everything

March 19, 2019

On Tuesday, March 19th TELA teachers and guests attended the first installment of the 2019 Mind Science Foundation Speaker Series. Jaron Lanier, one of the fathers of Virtual Reality (VR), shared his experiences about the development of VR. He provided insight into the development of motion capture bodysuits, used in the ’80s and ’90s. These suits enabled coders to create avatars of all shapes and sizes that could then be input into VR worlds. Lanier shared the serendipitous discovery that allowed the scaling of avatars without losing the ability to interact with their environment. It is amazing the difference an incorrectly placed decimal can make when coding for an avatar! Lanier reminded us that some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs resulted from happy accidents.

Teaching Mojo

A Unique Way to get your Teaching Mojo Back!

January 28, 2019

Ever feeling like it is the same old routine in your class or campus? Well, attending our TELA/VBTA supported Science Nights might be a way to get your teaching chops a shot in the arm.

Over the last year, I have attending and been a part of science nights at campuses all over the San Antonio area. It is a fresh aspect of what we do as teachers. We get stuck in a rut with our day in and day out routine at our own campus. But, going to these different campuses and seeing the excitement and wonder of the students that come by our booth is invigorating. I get to meet fellow teachers from that campus and a different set of students with such unique perspectives on science. There is a level of engagement that brings what we do to the greater community and you see firsthand parents and kids engaging together and it is in a positive light.

Using Data to Track Student Progress in the Inclusive Classroom

January 10, 2019

It is no secret that teachers are pressured to consistently raise student test scores from year to year. Teachers may have previously identified students in their classroom that require special services, or specific accommodations in accordance with an individual education plan. In addition to these students, teachers may also have an at-risk student population that has been identified by past performance on standardized assessments. All of our special education students, at-risk students, and the remainder of the general education population in the classroom is held to the same accountability standards. Although teachers regularly formatively assess their students learning on a daily basis, there are special tools out there that allow for better documentation of student progress.

EYE-ing ideas from our TEI web page when cooped in class during testing

December 4, 2018

It is an issue that comes up for some special education classes when your campus is locked down for testing and you need to keep your students engaged and quiet. Trying to find an activity that is engaging and relevant to my student was a little difficult. I had the opportunity to carry material from one of our science night activities that involved eye health. Using that as a stepping stone, I was able to create a short lesson that blossoms into a three-week activity for my special needs students.

Seesaw: Not just a childhood memory!

November 15, 2018

If you’re like me, you are constantly trying to find new ways to use less paper in the classroom, and still be able to document student learning! I have accepted that technology advances every day and my students will forever be within arm’s length of a mobile device. I recently attended a session at our district’s Tech Camp and discovered Seesaw, and it can be used at any K-12 level.

Make Money for Your Classroom

October 4, 2018

Have you ever thought, “You know it would be really nice to be able to get that app for my classroom,” or “I wish our department could afford that equipment.”? Grants allow teachers to be able to secure funds for their wish list of apps, equipment, supplies or other materials needed for that department or school funds are not able to be allocated for.

Juliana Berry at NASA

Prepare For “LiftOff” 2018

July 18, 2018

Besides it being some of the best professional development (PD) I have ever done here is some information along with my experience.

Beginning in the summer of 1990, NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium initiated a week-long professional development training for teachers. This aerospace workshop, called LiftOff, emphasizes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning experiences by incorporating a space science theme supported by NASA missions. Teacher participants are provided with information and experiences through speakers, hands-on activities and field investigations that promote space science and enrichment activities for themselves and others.