How One Science Teacher Uses CK-12
Today's guest blog post comes to us from CK-12 Champion, Arjan Harjani. Arjan is the Science Chair and Medical Program Director at Providence High School in Burbank, California.
I have been teaching at Providence HS, a Catholic private high school in Burbank for the past 22 years. The school has a unique four-year medical focus program with an emphasis on the health care industry. The program allows and encourages students to explore health care with a view to pursuing it as a major and eventually as a career choice.
I fell in love with CK-12's features in a matter of hours after being introduced to it (in the summer of 2013) by a first year chemistry teacher at Providence HS- her mother happens to be a teacher and she is the one who introduced CK-12 to her daughter.
As I navigated through the different sections (at that time), I found the content to be well organized with a good layout and format. The additional feature of creating Flexbooks was exciting so I went about doing that too. Later, I added class groups and study groups to my collection as a way to challenge my students with customized questions and essential questions directly addressing the main concepts.
My use of CK-12 is designed for my biology, health & disease, anatomy & physiology, and genetics courses. I have created my course "Flexbooks" and set aside a portion of time in my block period classes to have my students focus exclusively on CK-12 including reading of overviews and summaries, watching videos, and completing activities and self-assessments.
I also love the “Dashboard” with its assignments, reports and Q/A features- they allow me to keep track of class work assigned to keep students challenged with addressing the main ideas with each chunk of questions reflecting a major concept.
Although I am a (relatively) new user of CK-12 but in a short period of time, I have grown to enjoy its use in my classes. I continue to find ways to increase its use as an additional resource as well as a pilot program to (down the road) replace the traditional hard copy text. So far, the results are every positive as my students have declared.
Personally, I find the site very user friendly as do my students- it has all the major sections that a student can easily understand and master and has visual components which can keep the students engaged and well connected to the assigned topic.
As a science chair, I have tried to encourage other colleagues to embrace CK-12 but I guess it will take a while to get people comfortable with a new concept. I, on the other hand, am more of a “change” person so I brought it upon myself to see how CK-12 could become a valuable resource for myself as well as for my students.
I also have more flexibility in my curriculum scope and sequence because of the medical focus program which allows me to “play” with content. Ironically, my colleague who introduced me to CK-12 has put it on the back-burner and has plans to revisit it at a later date. This summer, I plan to widen my use of CK-12 features and see where the journey takes us… stay tuned.
I would highly recommend CK-12 for three main reasons- it can be used as a solid secondary resource for standards- based biology content. Second, it can be used as a full replacement in an e-book world. Thirdly, it is a great tool for individual paced material that can be given to a student struggling with content or who may have missed school for an extended period of time and needs a virtual teacher to fill-in.
I look forward to what my user colleagues have to say about CK-12. I am also fully invested in collaborating with others to create some kind of presentation to promote the variety and ease of use that it has to offer.
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