Author Archives: eewebber

Conceptual Challenges

In the video, “A Private Universe”, some of the challenges or scientific misconceptions that Heather holds are as follows:

  • She believes the earth travels in a curly orbit around the sun;
  • She cannot identify direct and indirect rays;
  • She misunderstands the shadow of the earth.

Heather’s theories were a result of what she had learned on her own in the past. Her misconception about the orbit, for example, was based on an illustration she had seen in a textbook. In an effort to explain her theories, Heather uses illustrations and objects. Direct instruction helps alter some of her personal theories. Probing questions from the classroom teacher, along with a model of the earth, the moon and the sun, help students overcome some of their misconceptions.

One of the challenging concepts that I had in math when I was in school was comprehending word problems. I lacked confidence in math, and I used to feel stressed out when I tried to tackle word problems. I would need to read the word problem multiple times, and would have difficulty comprehending what I was being asked to calculate. I could not seem to be able to figure out how to convert the problem to numbers or a mathematical equation. In an effort to try and figure out what I was trying to solve, I would draw pictures and charts. I had great difficulty connecting what I was reading to concrete mathematical concepts.

Driver et al (1994) and Cobb (1994) draw connections between constructivism and learning science and math. According to Driver et al (1994), individuals construct their own scientific theories as a result of the interactions they have in their personal lives. Students should be able to participate in classroom activities that challenge these prior misconceptions, so that students are able to modify their knowledge. Cobb (1994) describes the process of actively drawing upon your personal experiences in an effort to construct an understanding of mathematical principles. This personal knowledge can conflict with what is being taught by the classroom teacher. Cobb (1994) also presents the sociocultural perspective whereby an individual is influenced by the “participation in encompassing cultural practices” (Cobb, 1994, p. 13).

I think it is important to present concepts in math and science using a variety of mediums in an effort to better meet the needs of different learners, and help reinforce what is being presented in the classroom. It is important for students to be engaged and have the opportunity for reflection and practice. Some of the faculty members I worked with in the post-secondary system utilized the flipped classroom model, so that lectures were recorded, and viewed by students in advance of the lesson, and classroom time was spent working on interactive, engaging activities that reinforced the concepts presented in the lecture. Khan Academy is also utilized by many teachers as an opportunity to reinforce what is being taught in the classroom. Another approach I have seen in an online learning environment is to have students create instructional videos that highlight specific mathematical or scientific concepts. These videos are added to an online resource database within the learning management system for current and future students.


Cobb, P. (1994). Where is the mind? Constructivist and sociocultural perspectives on mathematical development. Educational Researcher, 23 (7), 13-20.

Driver, R., Asoko, H., Leach, J., Mortimer, E. & Scott, P. Constructing scientific knowledge in the classroom. Educational Researcher, 23 (5), 5-11.

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Producer).  (1987).  A Private Universe [online video].  Retrieved 6 January, 2017, from:

Commodore 64

My parents bought our first computer, a Commodore 64, when I was 16 years old. My time on the computer was limited because I shared it with my three siblings and my parents. The computer took up most of the space on our desk in the basement. I remember the floppy disk drive and the joystick, as well as the clunky keys and the monitor that looked like our television set. I spent my time on the computer playing games like Pong, Pacman and Frogger. Prior to the Commodore 64, my only experience using a computer was over a couple of months in grade nine when we were introduced to coding while I was taking a business course. I remember sitting in a small area at the back of a classroom, and three of us sharing one computer for a limited time period each class. I had very limited access to the computer, and did not learn anything about coding in that class. When I reflect on my experience as a student trying to learn coding, I remember my students faced the same accessibility and technical issues when I taught at an inner city school. How can schools effectively incorporate technology into the curriculum if they do not have the means to support the students?

Happy New Year!

My name is Elizabeth, and I currently live in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada where I work as the coordinator of the NCME (Northern Continuing Medical Education) program within the local health authority. I primarily work with physicians to support them with accreditation and planning educational events/courses. I previously worked in the public school system in the lower mainland before transitioning to the post-secondary system where I worked for ten years. Prior to my current job, I worked at a college in Alberta for several years as their Educational Technology Services Facilitator. I implemented and maintained the college’s learning management system, worked with faculty on developing best practices as it related to incorporating technology in their courses, and collaborated with faculty to design their online/blended courses. I am really interested in course development and hope to return to work in post-secondary education this year as an instructional designer. This is my 9th course in the MET program. I have taken the following courses: ETEC 500, 510, 511, 512, 532,  540, 565A and 565G. I am looking forward to examining current research and exploring technology-enhanced learning experiences in math and science this semester.