Marsha Chartrand

MHS innovative science teacher presents at conference

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MHS science teacher Brad Gerbe recently presented a session on utilizing technology in the science classroom at a statewide conference in Novi.

Fresh on the heels of his successful “Virtual Autopsy” project (see article here), Manchester High School science teacher Brad Gerbe recently presented a session at the Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) conference in Novi, on integrating technology into teaching.

The professional development session, titled “I’m NO Techie–But Even I Can Do This,” focused on incorporating technology into the classroom. “I was looking to share resources that are free and easy to utilize,” Gerbe explains. “I broke the session into four parts …curriculum/content distribution, communication with students and families, digital media resources, and assessment prep/assessment.”

For curriculum/content distribution, Gerbe shared his experience with Mancheter’s learning management system, Schoology, and also introduced attendees to, another system which is used at more than a dozen Michigan schools, as resources.

“Under the area of communication I shared how I utilize Edmodo, while also showing teachers how I use social media like Twitter … for educational purposes,” he said. “Digital resources I included were my own personal YouTube channel (GerbeMHS), where I’ve created approximately 150 videos of me teaching various topics, mostly Chemistry.

“Plus, I shared some of my favorites … Bozeman Science, Crash Course, Crash Course Kids and EdPuzzle. Lastly, I spent some time going over assessment resources such as Kahoot, Quizizz, Schoology again and Socrative.

The presentation, which helped Gerbe obtain free admission to the conference, was chosen after he applied to be a presenter and sent a description of his suggested panel. He was pleased that at least 50 attendees joined the session even though it was late in the day on Friday and he had anticipated people might want to leave early to beat traffic.

During the session, Gerbe, who has taught at MHS for 13 years now, emphasized that he’s not a technology expert, just someone who is willing to try new ideas. He was most interested in sharing some of the things he has learned along the way, with his fellow science teachers from across the state, but he also looked forward to receiving some ideas from colleagues who had also picked up some interesting teaching techniques.

“I have found MSTA to be an excellent professional development resource as well as a place for networking with other science teachers, along with seeing offerings from other vendors,” he explained. “I am grateful that I had this experience; it challenged me to give back. I think we should all try to do that from time to time.

“I hope that at least one person in the room was willing to try out at least one of the resources that I presented.”

In addition to conquering his fear of presenting, Gerbe also attended sessions on “Inquiry in Biology,” on Stoichiometry, and on other topics in Chemistry, at the MSTA Conference.

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