Friday, March 17, 2017

I'm a Doctor

"Do you feel different?"

One of my colleagues stopped by my office, and after a quick word of congratulations, this was his question. It was interesting to think about this. I successfully defended my dissertation earlier in the week. I am now "Dr. Mulder." Do I feel different now that I have the title?

A photo of me with my committee immediately after my dissertation defense.
We were in three different cities for the defense meeting...ah, online learning!

I guess my honest answer is...a hesitant yes.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Why Science Education Is Essential

I stumbled onto this great image online earlier today...

Thanks, someecards...

As a former middle school science teacher, I heartily agree. In a society that relies more and more on science and technology, I find it fascinating (and disheartening) to see such an anti-science, and even anti-knowledge sentiment so prevalent in our culture. It's perfectly acceptable to be seen as ignorant, and in some cases it's even lauded.

Don't believe me?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Finishing Well

The end is in sight!

For regular readers, you will likely know that I am currently studying in the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program in Educational Technology at Boise State University. I cannot tell you what a phenomenal experience this has been for me over the past four years.

I recently submitted my dissertation to my committee, and my final defense meeting is scheduled. This is the culmination of my studies, and I can hardly believe that I am at this point! In fact, as I think about it, I'm now curious how many of my friends and relatives don't actually know the process I've been working through in my doctoral work. So, here it is in a nutshell, for those who are interested...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Learning from Students

My Twitterfriend, Maggie Bolado (@mrsbolado) shared this image the other day. I love it! She gave me permission to use it for this blog post. (Thanks a bunch, Maggie!)

Image by Maggie Bolado. Used with permission.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Feedback: Timely, Specific, and Actionable

It has been an incredibly busy season of writing for me lately. My dissertation is coming together, and in fact, I have finished writing all five chapters! That doesn't mean the work is complete, however. There are ongoing edits, and then the preparation for the defense when there is a "final" document ready. But it feels really, really good to be at this point.

The best part of being "finished" is that there now is THE THING that can be addressed for the edits. My advisor has been fantastic throughout this process: he gives me feedback that is timely, specific, and actionable, and the turn-around for his comments on each draft has been amazing. I am able to see the strengths and weaknesses of different sections of my writing, where the ideas are solid, and where I need to rethink things. Each draft I work through is a little better than the last, and I am confident that the next draft is going to be even better than the last one I submitted. (At this point, it feels like there is always a "next draft"...but I know the time is coming when it's going to be good enough.)

My writing's getting worse, but the writing is getting better...

This experience has me thinking about the way teachers provide feedback to their students.

Monday, February 6, 2017


I had a former student--who is now in graduate school herself, and serving as an instructor--message me today with a fascinating question:

Is there such a thing as a student that is unteachable?

My immediate, almost instinctive reaction was, "Of course not!"

But after thinking about it for a few moments...I wonder.

Here's my tentative, pretty-sure-for-now-but-open-to-revision response:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Truth and Facts

In my Science Methods class today, we spent much of our time discussing the difference between "facts" and "truth." This feels so germane to so many issues in culture today that it was really something I wanted to talk about--and, serendipitously, it was on the syllabus for today anyway.

I'm using a text by John Mays entitled Teaching Science so that Students Learn Science, and chapter 2 of the book is entitled "Truth and Facts." In this chapter, Mays is really talking about science as a way of knowing about the world. And there are definitely different ways of knowing! Mays emphasizes that science is about developing an empirical understanding of the world--the facts, we might say.

Here are his working definitions for "truth" and "facts": (from p. 17 of the book)

Truth: A proposition that is true for all times, all places, and all people. Truths never change. We know truths by revelation or first hand testimony.
Fact: A proposition that is supported by substantial experimental or observational evidence (data), and which is correct as far as we know. Facts can change as new data and information become known. We know facts by observation and experiment, or by making inferences from our observations and experimental results.

How does that sound to you? Are these helpful definitions?