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Brian's Class Materials- Fall 2013 -

SEYS 753 Home

Queens College/CUNY
Education Unit
  Fall 2013


SEYS 753-01 (20373) - Computer Applications in Science Education


 Wednesday 4:35 pm to 7:05 pm

 Kiely Hall, Room 220A

If I am online, I will be be glad to answer your questions.  Type your  name and your question in the chat box below. 

Week 1
Week 2


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 135C,

Office Hours: 

Wednesday 2 to 4 pm
Thursday 11 am to 1 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 cyber safety and RSI. Excellence, Ethics
  6. Students will learn techniques to assess the credibility resources on the Internet and World Wide Web. Excellence, Ethics
  7. 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
  8. Students will be able to design and create a web site. Excellence, Ethics, Equity
  9. Students will be able to design and create a video or podcast that can be used to enhance science learning. Excellence
  10. Students will be able to set up and maintain a blog that will be used to enhance science teaching. Excellence
  11. Students will be able to locate and install open source software. Excellence, Equity
  12. Students will understand strategies for using technology to help reduce the “digital divide”. Equity
  13. Students will become familiar with the educational technology literature, especially with relation to science teaching and learning. Excellence, Equity, Ethics
  14. Students will become familiar with virtual learning environments such as Second Life and Croquet. Excellence
  15. Students will become familiar with open source course management software and other educational software. Excellence
  16. 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

Supplies and/or tools, hardware: You will need access to a computer with an Internet connection to do the online assignments.  You should have ear phones that you can connect to your computer in order to listen to webcasts and podcasts.

Computer labs available on campus:  Every other week we will meet in a computer lab in Powdermaker Hall Room 151.  If you need to use a computer on campus, here are links to information on the computer labs on campus with the days and hours they are available. 

Software needed:  All you need for this course is access to a web browser.  I highly recommend that you use Firefox and Google Chrome.  Any other software needed will be available for free, either as open source software that you can download and install, or free Web 2.0 applications. 
Accounts needed:  You must have the following accounts:  Your Queens College CAMS account, a CUNY Portal account, a CUNYFirst account, a Google account, and a Science Moodle account. 
Optional supplies - digital microphone, digital video camera, smartphone, webcam.  These will all be available for use during face to face class meetings.  I recommend that you have a USB drive to store backups of your work. 

How to get help:  I will try to answer all email requests for help sent to within 24 hours.  If you don't hear from me by then, please resend your request.  It is helpful if you put a short description of the question in the subject header of the email message.  Another way to get help is from your peers by posting a message to our Google group or in the Discussion area of Blackboard.  If you have problems with your Queens College, CUNY Portal, or CUNY First accounts you should contact the OCT Help desk.  Here are some places you can get help.

What to do if BlackBoard and the QC website are down:  If BlackBoard is down, please check our QC course website and also check your QC email  If all of these are down, go to our Google group and check your gmail email for announcements about alternative arrangements.  

Tips and Advice for Students Taking an Online or Hybrid Course 


Week 1 – 8/28/2013 – Introduction to technology use in science education, A Taste of Raspberry Pi - FTF in Kiely Hall, Room 220A

Overview:  In this first class, you should make sure that you can access the course outline, BlackBoard and all of your QC and CUNY accounts.  After we go over the goals of the course and required assignments, we will discuss what you believe about the use of technology in science education.  Then we will discuss some important concepts, e.g. what is technology, a computer, etc.  You will take part in an online scavenger hunt to learn about the history of computing and we will finish with a slice of Raspberry Pi, an innovative, new inexpensive computer that has many interesting possible uses in science education. 

Topic 1:  MOOC's
Topic 2:  Khan Academy and the flipped classroom
Topic 3:  Robotics
Topic 4:  Digital textbooks and tablets
Topic 5:  Digital games, e.g.
Topic 6:  Social media and education
Readings and Extension activities:
Useful links:

Week 2 – 9/4/2013 – NO CLASS

Week 3 – 9/11/2013 – FTF in Kiely Hall, Room 220A - Cloud computing, Web 2.0, Open Source Software, and Apps

Technology news:

Science news:

Education news:


Readings and Extension activities:
Useful Links:

Week 4 – 9/18/2013 – ONLINE - Blogs and Science Education

This week we will begin exploring the use of blogs in science teaching and learning.  Skim through the links below to see some examples of different types of blogs and how they can be used in science teaching.  After that, you can start on assignment 2, creating your own blog using Blogger.  You can find the instructions for Assignment #2 below. 

Readings and Extension activities:

  Week 5 – 9/25/2013 – FTF in Kiely Hall, Room 220A  - Videos, webcams, and science education

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

In-Class activities:

Baby boomers
(born between 1946 and 1964)
(born between 1965 and 1979)
(Born in the 1980's and early 1990's)
Generation Y, Generation M)

Draw the table above on a sheet of paper.  Place the preferred technology uses under each generation in the table.  (Exercise from Rewired by Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D.)

1) text message, IM, Facebook;
2) Face-to-face or telephone;
3) text message, Twitter, Skype, Myspace, Facebook, iPhone."
4)  email or cell phone

Useful Links:

  • for the iPhone
    • iMovie
    • Reel Director
    • Animoto videos
    • Vintage Video maker
    • Camera Plus Pro
    • Cute CUT
  • for Android phones
    • Magical Video Editor
    • VidTrim Pro
    • HighlightCam Social
    • AndroVid Video Trimmer
    • AndroMedia Video Editor
    • Snip Video Trimmer
    • Clesh Video Editor
    • Video Slide Show Maker
    • Ultimate Special FX
    • Lapse It
    • VideoCam Illusion
    • Stock Camcorder
  • cute cut Apple iOS

Readings and Extension activities:

Week 6 – 10/2/2013 – ONLINE - Data and Science Teaching and Learning

This is a new activity that we will be doing every week for the first 30 minutes of each class.  First of all you need to sign up for a free account at

  1. Once you have signed in, click on "Learn" at the top of the page. 
  2. Click on "Web fundamentals" and start completing the online courses. 
  3. You can move through these at your own pace and you can also work on them outside of class.  By the end of this course, you should finish the web fundamentals lessons, although please feel free to complete as many as you can.  This will not count as part of your grade but it will help you learn how to code, an extremely valuable skill in the 21st century. 

Consider the following questions:

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 form that stores data in a spreadsheet in Google docs. Test out your form.  You can gather data from your colleagues, friends or family.  Post the link to your form on the discussion board. 
  2. List at least three ways you could use a Google spreadsheet and form in your science classes.  Post your ideas on the discussion board. 
  3. Come up with an idea for a science activity that uses authentic scientific data from the web.  Download a dataset from one of the sources listed in this week's materials, and try transferring the data from a spreadsheet to a database such as Microsoft Access, These are both freeOpenOffice Base, or LibreOffice 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 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. Start thinking about what you might want to do for your group project.

Assignment #2 due – post link to Blog assignment

Week 7 – 10/9/2013 - Audio, podcasts and science education -
FTF in Kiely Hall, Room 220A


  • Binary and decimal prefixes
  • Binary
    Value JEDEC IEC
    1024 K kilo Ki kibi
    10242 M mega Mi mebi
    10243 G giga Gi gibi
    10244 T tera Ti tebi

    Pi pebi

    Ei exbi

    Zi zebi

    Yi yob
    Value Metric
    1000 k kilo
    10002 M mega
    10003 G giga
    10004 T tera
    10005 P peta
    10006 E exa
    10007 Z zetta
    10008 Y yotta

  • Science news:
  • Technology news:
    • Discuss possible science activities that use Audacity and podcasting

    Extension activities:

    Useful Links:

    Sound and Science

    How personal audio devices work

    Week 8 – 10/16/2013  - ONLINE - Linux, Android apps - Learn about Linux and Build your First App!

    Science news:
    Introduction to Linux


    Class activities:

    • This week you are going to explore another operating system called Linux.  An operating system is the interface between the hardware and software on a computer.  Examples of operating systems are the various versions of Windows and Mac OS's.  Linux is a free, open source operating system that is becoming more and more popular.  There are several reasons that Linux is important:
      • It can help to reduce the digital divide so that all students, teachers and schools can have access to up to date, high quality software.
      • It can be installed on old computers and make them usable again. 
      • It can be used to easily set up servers to run useful educational software such as Moodle, a popular, free open source learning management system.  
      • It is a free alternative to Windows and Mac operating systems and software.
      • I can be installed on any computer, Mac or Windows. 
    • Please post your answers to the following questions on the discussion board in BlackBoard using the links below:
    • Download putty.exe (Click on this link and save the file to the desktop) and use ssh to connect to (This is a server running a version of Linux.  It is also where you will upload your personal website for this course).
      • 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

    2)  Android is a new operating system developed by Google for mobile phones and tablets.  Go through the beginner's tutorials for  MIT App Inventor

    3)  Use MIT App Inventor to build the helloPurr app

    Read the following:

    As a class, we will install a common version of Linux on an old, discarded PC (We will do this next week in class.  If you have an old computer, you can install Ubuntu on it.)
    Week 9 – 10/23/2013 –Designing and creating web pages -
    FTF in Kiely Hall, Room 220A

    Science news:


    Useful Links:
    Readings and Extension Activities:
    Advanced topics:

    Week 10 – 10/30/2013 – ONLINE - Learning Management Software and Science Education


    Useful links:

    Week 11 – 11/6/2013 –  CLASS IS CANCELLED THIS WEEK

    During this course you will have access to a Moodle Learning Management System named Science Moodle.  This is a free web-based course management system and I have set up a Moodle for our course. 

    Visit the following link:

    If this is your first time to visit Science Moodle, click on the "Create new account" button on the lower right side of the screen.  Follow the instructions to set up your account and then select our course and enroll using the following enrollment key "seys753" (without the quotes, all lower case).

    Assignment 3 due – Creation of a web site

    Week 12 – 11/13/2013 - Panel discussions on hot topics in educational technology - FTF in KIELY 220a

    Topic 1:  MOOC's
    Topic 2:  Khan Academy
    Topic 3:  Robotics
    Topic 4:  Digital textbooks and tablets
    Topic 5:  Digital games
    Topic 6:  Social media and education
    Topic 7:  Teaching science online

    Cal Newport's views on Facebook

    Virtual learning environments in Science Education, Science Education in Second Life, Virtual and Augmented Reality - Implications for Science Education

    Tonight we are going to explore some different types of virtual learning environments.  Normally we would start by exploring a text-based virtual reality environment called a Multi User Dimension Object Oriented, or MOO.  Unfortunately, due to a recent Java web exploit, many web browsers make it more difficult to run java applets so won't be using ScienceMOO this week.  In our next face to face class we can try and use it in the computer lab. 

    This week we are going to look at some 3D virtual environments.  The first 3D world, Second Life, is a commercial venture although they eventually made their code open source.  You will need to join Second Life and then download the Second Life viewer.  Once you login to Second life and get oriented, you can do a search for science and visit some of the sites that come up. 


    Browse through the following:

    Readings and Extension Activities:

    Week 13 – 11/20/2013 –  Interactive multimedia development, Scratch and the scratchboard  - FTF in Kiely Hall, Room 220A

    Useful Links:

     Week 14 – 11/27/2013 –  NO CLASS

    ONLINE - Squeakland, EToys

    Activities: (You can install Squeak at home.  Unfortunately we do not have the new version installed on the computers in the lab yet.)  Squeak is another interesting, free tool that allows students to build interactive multimedia.  Visit the website below and download Squeak.

    Readings and Extension activities:

    Week 15 – 12/4/2013 – FTF in Kiely Hall, Room 220A  -

    Squeakland, EToys

    Activities: (You can install Squeak at home.  Unfortunately we do not have the new version installed on the computers in the lab yet.)  Squeak is another interesting, free tool that allows students to build interactive multimedia.  Visit the website below and download Squeak.

    Readings and Extension activities:

    Please complete the course evaluation before the last week

     Week 16 – 12/11/2013– Discussion of how to design and teach an online science course, E-waste, other important topics related to educational technology, Work on projects  ONLINE

    Assignment 4 due – Review of Educational Technology book


    Science news:

    Read the following article and then discuss in small groups.  Before MOOCs, ‘Colleges of the Air’

    Discussion of how to design and teach online science courses:

    Practice creating content in an online course using Science Moodle

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

    • Carry out a personal E-waste inventory
    • Work in small groups to develop E-waste plans
    • The Digital Divide
    • Cybersafety - How can we keep students safe on the web?
    • Student misbehavior and technology - What can teachers and parents do?
    • Health aspects of technology use
      • RSI, eye strain, Internet addiction, obesity and others

    Useful links:

    Work on group projects

    Assignment 5 Due – Grant proposal for submission to

     Week 17– 12/18/2013 –FINAL EXAMS - Presentations of group projects - Please note:  the time has changed, we meet from 2pm to 4pm. (If enough people arrive by 6pm we can start early)
    FTF in Kiely Hall, Room 220A

    Science news:

    If you are interested:  Submit your video, lesson plan and website to the TED-Ed website - TED Education Wants Your Help Bringing Cool Science to the Classroom

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


     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 Digital Dropbox 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 app, a web 2.0 application OR of an open source software application for possible use in science education

    Week 5


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

    Week 11


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

    Week 13


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

    Week 16


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

    Week 16


    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, OR Create, edit and post an educational science Android app,

    2) web page with a lesson plan and,

    3) explanation should also be provided.

    4) Presentation

    (10 points each)

    Week 17

    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.