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Brian's Class Materials- Fall 2010 - SEYS 753

Queens College/CUNY
Education Unit
Spring 2010


SEYS 753 - Computer Applications in Science Education


 Thursday 7:10 pm to 9:40 pm

 Kiely Hall Room 115

Week 1 Week
Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
Week 17


Brian Murfin, Ph.D.,
Office:  Powdermaker Hall Room 133C,

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 – 8/26/2010 – Introduction to technology use in science education


Readings and Extension activities:
Useful links:

Week 2 – 9/2/2010 – Cloud computing, Web 2.0 and Open Source Software


Readings and Extension activities:
Useful Links:

Week 3 – 9/9/2010 - NO CLASS

Week 4 – 9/16/2010 – Blogs and Science Education

Blogs and Science Education

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

In-Class Activities:

Readings and Extension activities:

Week 5 - 9/23/2010 - Digital Video and Science Education

In-Class activities:

Useful Links:

Readings and Extension activities:

Week 6 – 9/30/2010 – Audio, podcasts and science education


Extension activities:

Useful Links:

Sound and Science

How personal audio devices work

Assignment #2 due – post link to Blog assignment

Week 7 – 10/7/2010 -  Designing and creating web pages


Useful Links:
Readings and Extension Activities:
Advanced topics:

Week 8 – 10/14/2010 – Data and Science Teaching and Learning

Take the Educational Technology Poll

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 9 – 10/21/2010 – 

Web conferencing, Learning Management Software and Science Education

Today's big question:  Guess what is happening on October 23rd, from 6:02am to 6:02pm?

Brainstorm ideas for Halloween science activities and post on the discussion board in BlackBoard.  Check out the Halloween Science link for more information.


Useful links:

Week 10 – 10/28/2010 – Online Class - Linux -  (Click here to print out instructions for tonight's online class)

Tonight's class will take place in ScienceMOO and BigBlueButton

Introduction to tonight's online lesson: 

Make sure to read through the instructions on how to use ScienceMOO and BigBlueButton BEFORE class.  Also test the computer and web browser you will be using BEFORE our online class.  BigBlueButton tips:  Try to make sure that your computer can play sound, that way you will be able to hear me speaking.  You can use the speakers in your computer or plugin earphones or headphones.  If you have a microphone you will be able to ask questions and talk in BigBlueButton.

If you need to do a google search or visit another website, you can press CTRL T to open another tab.
  1. Part 1 - Login to ScienceMOO (Please use Firefox or Chrome).  If you need your ScienceMOO account information, email me at  If you cannot login with your account, you can login as a guest without a password.  Go to classroom 4.  Take a look at the seating plan.  Once you find your table use the command, sit table1, sit table2, sit table3, sit table4, depending on your group's table.  Remember, you should have the "Normal" radio button selected to enter commands like sit, stand, etc.  When you want to chat, select the "say" radio button.  When you want to chat with everyone in the room, either use the stand or speakup commands.   Complete the OS poll 

  2. For this activity, post your group's responses on the discussion board in BlackBoard.  Read and skim through the four links below:

The instructor will give a short introduction to tonight's topic using the MOO web projector.  After the presentation, work in your groups to answer the following questions 
What is linux?  How is it different from Windows and the Mac operating systems?

Who invented linux?
What is the most common distribution of linux?
  1. Part 2 - IMPORTANT:  Now we are going to use BigBlueButton for this part of our online lesson.  Leave your ScienceMOO session open in its own tab, just in case there is a problem with BigBlueButton. 
    • If you have not already done so, open up a new tab in your web browser.  One easy way to do this is to press the Ctrl T keys.  The reason we are opening a new tab is so that you can stay logged in to ScienceMOO and BigBlueButton at the same time.  To move back and forth you can just click on the tab you want.  
        • Visit the BigBlueButton link for our class.  Type your name in the white box next to "Full Name".
        • Select SEYS 753 from the "Course" menu.
        • Type in the password, student123 and click the "Join" button.
      • The instructor will now give a short presentation on the second topic, "How to use linux from the command line".  After the presentation will share his desktop with you in BigBlueButton so you can see the procedure to login to using Putty. 
      • Download putty.exe (Click on this link and save the file to the desktop), then double click the file putty.exe and use ssh to connect to
        • launch putty
        • hostname is and click open
        • login as:  INSTR\username (for students)(Note: this is case-sensitive)
        • or login as QC\username (for faculty) ( Note: this is case-sensitive)
        • enter your password:  (remember this is case sensitive)
      • Once you have logged into your account, you are now at the linux command line.  Notice that there is no graphical user interface.  Instead, you have to enter commands by typing them.  Try entering the following commands:  
        • ls
        • ls -al
        • ps -aux
        • pico (this is a simple text editor, you press the ctrl key with various letters to carry out commands)
        • help
        • man
        • exit
      • If you weren't able to see the procedure in BigBlueButton, you can check out the Using Putty screencast on Youtube or a higher resolution avi screencast
      • Here are some other useful linux commands
  2. Part 3 - Practical applications of Linux - Ubuntu
  3. Part 4 - Comparison of Online Lessons and Face to Face lessons
    • Take the online learning poll
    • Go back to ScienceMOO and meet with your group, discuss the following questions and post your group's responses on the discussion board in BlackBoard:
    • What technology tools were used in tonight's lesson?
    • Are there any technology tools that were not used that might enhance the online lesson?
    • How is an online lesson different from a face to face lesson?
    • What are the advantages and strengths of an online lesson?
    • What are the weaknesses and disadvantages of an online lesson?
  4. Part 5 - Work on group video project - Go back to ScienceMOO and meet with your group to discuss your group project.  Each group can sit at a table.  If you have questions let me know. 

Week 11 – 11/4/2010 –  Virtual learning environments in Science Education

This week we are going to do the following:

We will start out using the same tools as last week.  It's a good idea to use Firefox or Chrome and to have a tab for each tool we are using. 

Activity 1 - Post title and author of book you are reviewing on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard

Activity 2 - A Collaborative learning activity in ScienceMOO - using Wikispaces for a group project
Activity 3  - Explore some educational MOO's - text based virtual reality learning environments
Activity 4 - Virtual Worlds and Science Education

1)  Browse through the following:

2)  Connect to ScienceSim@QC - After a short introduction, we will then all connect to ScienceSim@QC.  In order to connect to ScienceSim@QC you will need to download and install an OpenSim Client Viewer called Hippo.  Click here for instructions on how to do this

ScienceSim utilizes an open source software application that creates a virtual world similar to Second Life.  I have created an account for each of you and I will give you the password when we are in ScienceMOO and BigBlueButton.  Your username is your first and last name (With the first letter of each name capitalized.  I made a mistake with a couple of names and you may need to put 2 or 3 after your first name if you can't login.)

Activity 5 - Connect to

Activity 6 - Work in groups on your final project.  You should have created a Google group for your group project.  

Some other useful collaboration tools and VLE's

  • Other collaboration tools:

Readings and Extension Activities:

Assignment 3 due – Creation of a web site

 Week 12 – 11/11/2010 -  Social Media, Apps, and Science Education - We will meet in Kiely Hall 115 as usual.

Activity 1 - Social media and science education
Activity 2 - Apps and Science Education
Activity 3 - Work on group projects, help with QC websites

Week 13 – 11/18/2010 –  
Interactive multimedia development, Scratch and the scratchboard  Activities:
Useful Links:

Week 14 – 11/25/2010 –    Thanksgiving Recess - College is closed

Week 15 – 12/2/2010 –Squeakland, EToys

Assignment 4 due – Review of Educational Technology book


Readings and Extension activities:

 Week 16 – 12/9/2010 –  (Please continue working on your projects using all the tools at your disposal, e.g. google groups, ScienceMOO, DimDim, etc)

NSTA Student Club meeting 6:30pm to 7pm

Please complete the following survey:  Search Engines and Science Teaching

E-waste, other important topics related to educational technology, Work on projects,  Class activities:

Useful links:

Assignment 5 Due – Grant proposal for submission to

Please complete the course evaluation before the last week

 Week 17– 12/16/2010 – FINAL EXAMINATIONS - Presentations of group projects

If you did not do this last week, please complete the following survey:  Search Engines and Science Teaching

Please complete the course evaluation if you haven't done so already.

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

Check out and register as a teacher.

The QC Science Video Festival - groups present projects.


 Procedure for submitting assignments:

 1)  All assignments that include text:

  • Post a copy on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard
  • Submit an electronic version (a Word document) using the Assignments link in BlackBoard
  • Upload your document to and share with

2)  Video or podcast assignments:

  • Upload your video to (or other site) or podcast to Itunes.  Post the link to your video or podcast on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard.  Burn a copy of your video or ipod on a CD-ROM and hand in.

3)  Web site and blog

  • Post the URL to your blog and web site on the Discussion Board in BlackBoard

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.