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Brian's Class Materials- FALL 2009 - SEYS 753

SEYS 753 Home

Queens College/CUNY
Education Unit
Fall 2009


SEYS 753 - Computer Applications in Science Education

Section:  E7R3

 Thursday 7:10 pm to 9:40 pm

 Kiely Hall Room 115

Please complete the course evaluation before the last week

Week 1 Week
Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16


Brian Murfin, Ph.D.,
Office:  Powdermaker Hall Room 150P,

Office Hours: 

Wednesday 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Thursday 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
And by appointment

Please send me email to to arrange an online appointment using either:

Phone:  631 223-8311



 SEYS 753. Computer Applications in Science Education. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: Matriculation into the MS in secondary science education, an introductory course in computers, and/or permission of instructor. Science teacher candidates enrolled in this course will examine the fundamental issues, concepts, and best practices surrounding the use of multimedia computer systems in science education. They will learn how to use a multimedia computer system, courseware and Internet resources to support science instruction at the secondary level. Some of the teaching and learning activities will take place online.

Education Unit Conceptual Framework:

This course is being offered by the Secondary Education department which is part of the Education Unit at Queens College. The Education Unit seeks to promote equity, excellence, and ethics in urban education and is committed to preparing teachers and other education professionals who will:

This course is aligned with the Education Unit’s commitment to preparing educational professionals to work in diverse urban and suburban communities. Specifically, the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that candidates will development/demonstrate at the successful completion of this course are directly linked to the Education Unit’s seven principles: 1) discipline specific competencies, 2) learning and development, 3) families and urban communities, 4) diversity, inclusion, democracy and social justice, 5) language and literacy, 6) curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and 7) technology.


  1. Students will acquire basic levels of technology and information literacy. Excellence
  2. Students will become acquainted with the history of computing, and the history of technology use in education. Excellence, Equity
  3. Students will have a basic understanding of how computer hardware and software work. Excellence
  4. Students will be able to critically review educational software and web resources. Excellence
  5. Students will be able to teach students important ideas related to the safe use of computers, including cybersafety and RSI. Excellence, EthicsStudents will learn techniques to assess the credibility resources on the Internet and World Wide Web. Excellence, Ethics
  6. Students will be familiar with the different types of technology tools and how they can be used to enhance the teaching and learning of science. Excellence
  7. Students will be able to design and create a web site. Excellence, Ethics, Equity
  8. Students will be able to design and create a video or podcast that can be used to enhance science learning. Excellence
  9. Students will be able to set up and maintain a blog that will be used to enhance science teaching. Excellence
  10. Students will be able to locate and install open source software. Excellence, Equity
  11. Students will understand strategies for using technology to help reduce the “digital divide”. Equity
  12. Students will become familiar with the educational technology literature, especially with relation to science teaching and learning. Excellence, Equity, Ethics
  13. Students will become familiar with virtual learning environments such as Second Life and Croquet. Excellence
  14. Students will become familiar with open source course management software and other educational software. Excellence
  15. Students will learn basic principles of programming using Scratch and Squeak. Excellence


     1.  Textbook (required): None  You will not be required to purchase a textbook for this course.  Instead, each student will review a different educational technology book from a list provided by the instructor.  Most of these books are available in the Queens College library.  

     2.  Textbook (recommended): None

     3.  Supplies and/or tools: None


Week 1 – 9/3/2009 – Introduction to technology use in science education


Readings and Extension activities:
Useful links:

Week 2 – 9/10/2009 – Cloud computing, Web 2.0 and Open Source Software


Readings and Extension activities:
Useful Links:

Week 3 – 9/17/2009 – Blogs and Science Education

Assignment #1 due – Web 2.0 app or Open Source app review

In-Class Activities:

Readings and Extension activities:

Week 4 – 9/24/2009 – Videos, webcams, and science education

Assignment #2 due – post link to Blog assignment

In-Class activities:

Useful Links:

Readings and Extension activities:

 Week 5 – 10/1/2009 – Audio, podcasts and science education


Extension activities:

Useful Links:

Sound and Science

How personal audio devices work

Week 6 – 10/8/2009 – Data and Science Teaching and Learning

Brief discussion of the following:

Browse through the information below and then complete the 4 Main tasks for today's class:
View the Google Earth video
Here are some examples of possible tours
Today's 4 Main Tasks:

Work in small groups and carry out the following:
  1. Create a spreadsheet in Google docs and a form associated with it.  Test out your form.  You can gather data from your colleagues.
  2. List at least three ways you could use a Google spreadsheet and form in your science classes
  3. Come up with an idea for a science activity that uses authentic scientific data from the web.  Download a dataset and try transfering the data from a spreadsheet to a database such as OpenOffice Base.  Write a brief description of the activity that the students could carry out.  Include examples of questions students could use to guide their exploration.  All software used should be free.  Post your groups Data Exploration activity on the Discussion Board.  
  4. Create a brief Google Earth Tour related to a science topic you teach.  Post the link to your tour on the discussion board in BlackBoard.
  5. Continue planning of your group project.

Week 7 – 10/15/2009 - Introduction to Linux

Class activities:

Read the following:

Download putty.exe (Click on this link and save the file to the desktop) and use ssh to connect to
Discuss as a small group and post answers on the discussion board in BlackBoard: As a class, we will install a common version of Linux on an old, discarded PC

Week 8 – 10/22/2009 – Designing and creating web pages


Useful Links:
Readings and Extension Activities:
Advanced topics:

 Week 9 – 10/29/2009 –  Virtual learning environments in Science Education (We will do this lesson near the end of the semester on a date to be accounced)

Assignment 3 due – Creation of a web site

Before class, please try and do the following:

Our class is online in the old ScienceMOO 10/29.  You can attend
from anywhere as long as you have a computer and compatible web
browser.  Please make sure to try and do the following BEFORE tomorrow's

1)  Look through the following:

Beginner's Guide

Quick Start

User's Guide for ScienceMOO

2)  Make sure that you can login to the old ScienceMOO using the
computer and web browser you will use tomorrow during class.  Some
versions of Internet Explorer and Safari have problems.  You can
always download and install Firefox for free and use it.

Here is the link for ScienceMOO and to download Firefox:

3)  If you have a problem with your ScienceMOO account, please let me
know as soon as possible.  You can always login as a guest without a
password but you will not be able to do as much.

4)  I will send out the instructions and seating chart later on today,
so please check your email before class starts.  You will be working
on tomorrow's activities in groups by sitting at virtual tables.  I
will give each group a virtual tape recorder so you can record your
groups discussions.  We will be putting the results of our night's
work on a wiki and I'll send out the procedure soon.

If you have questions or problems, please email me at before class starts.  I will also set up a
live video and audio stream at and record it.

I am looking forward to having an interesting, fun and productive
lesson tomorrow night in cyberspace!  See you there!


Browse through the following:

Other useful collaboration tools and VLE's

Readings and Extension Activities:

Week 10 – 11/5/2009 – Web conferencing, Course Management Software and Science Education, Science Education in Second Life

Before class, please try to do the following:


Useful links:

Week 11 – 11/12/2009 –  Interactive multimedia development, Scratch and the scratchboard 


Useful Links:

 Week 12 – 11/19/2009 -  Squeakland, EToys

Assignment 4 due – Review of Educational Technology book

Activities: (You can install this at home.  Unfortunately we do not have the new version installed on the computers in the lab yet.)

Readings and Extension activities:


 Week 14 – 12/3/2009 –    (Please continue working on your projects using all the tools at your disposal, e.g. google groups, ScienceMOO, DimDim, etc)

 Week 15 – 12/10/2009 – E-waste, other important topics related to educational technology, Work on projects, 

 Assignment 5 Due – Grant proposal for submission to

Class activities:

Useful links:

 Week 16 – 12/17/2009 – FINAL EXAMINATIONS


Please complete the course evaluation before the last week

Presentations of group projects 

 Assignment 6 Due – Science video or podcast along with lesson plan and web page


 Procedure for submitting assignments:

 1)  All assignments that include text:

2)  Video or podcast assignments:

3)  Web site and blog

Assignment Description

Due Date

Possible Points

Assignment 1 – Review of a web 2.0 application OR Review of an open source software application for possible use in science education



Assignment 2 – Create and maintain a blog related to an aspect of science or science education



Assignment 3 – Creation of an individual web site to serve as an electronic portfolio to display all work in this class



Assignment 4 – Critical review of an educational technology book from the list of recommended books



Assignment 5 – Grant proposal to fund a project that makes innovative use of technology in science education,



Assignment 6 – Group project 1) Create, edit and post an educational science video on and OR Group project - Create, edit and post an educational science podcast on itunes,

2) web page with a lesson plan and,

3) explanation should also be provided.

4) Presentation

(10 points each)


40 points

Participation – Active participation in all class activities. 




Academic Dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion as provided at:

 H. ADA Statement
Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should:  (1) register with and provide documentation to the Special Services Office, Kiely 171; (2) bring a letter to the
instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type.  This should be done
during the first week of class.  For more information about services available to Queens students contact:  Dr. Mirian Detres-Hickey, Special Services Office; 171 Kiely Hall; 718 997-5870 (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).  E-mail address: or to

All teacher education programs in New York State undergo periodic reviews by accreditation agencies and the state education department.  For these purposes, samples of students’ work  are made available to those professionals conducting the review.  Student anonymity is 
assured under these circumstances.  If you do not wish to have your work made available for these purposes, please let the professor know before the start of the second class.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.