Dr. Liza Finkel is an Associate Professor of Education in the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling in the Department of Teacher Education. She is also the Faculty Fellow on the Collaborative Approaches to Undergraduate Science Education (CAUSE 2.0) grant, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and focusing on increasing participation in the sciences and math by students from under-represented groups. She earned her B.S. in geology from George Washington University, her M.S. in geology from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in science education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has also taught middle and high school science at a small private school in St. Louis and at a large public school in rural Maine.

Meet Dr. Liza Finkel, an Associate Professor of Education in the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling. Dr. Finkel uses Celly with her students, students who are learning to be educators themselves!

Tell us about yourself.
Although I never planned to be a teacher, I have been teaching in various settings since 1985; first as a TA in geology, then as a middle and high school science teacher, then as a university professor.  I think I am most inspired by a combination of my students and the natural world.  There is something magical about taking students out of the classroom and encouraging them to see the world in new ways, as well as about helping someone learn to teach others.

Tell us about your classroom.
Right now my classroom is at Lewis & Clark College in the Graduate School of Education and Counseling.  The class where I have been using Celly is a “methods” class for Masters degree students who are planning to become middle and high school science teachers.

How do you use Celly in your classroom?
I started using Celly to demonstrate new technologies for teaching.  One morning I was listening to the radio and heard this story: about a local teacher using Celly in her high school social studies class.  The story inspired me to explore using Celly with my own students; most of whom bring smart phones and/or laptops to class.

I have used polls, as well as what I guess you would call “response walls,” as a way to share ideas in class and to encourage my students to think about how they might incorporate classroom response systems like Celly in their middle and high school science classes as they begin teaching.  I have also used Celly to send reminders to students in between classes.

I have also used Celly in a colloquium with faculty in the Lewis & Clark College Law School.  In that presentation we modeled using Celly as a way to informally assess student learning in large classes.

How has Celly changed your classroom? Were there any unexpected benefits or fun surprises?

I am not sure Celly has changed my classroom as much as it has increased the number of ways I can find out what students are thinking and get them to share their ideas with others in the class.  I also like the way it encourages my students to think about the technology that their students bring with them to school as something other than a nuisance — in fact as an asset!

What do your students think of Celly?
My students enjoy using Celly in class. I haven’t checked yet, but I hope to hear that they like it enough to try it with their middle and high school classes.

We do too 🙂 Thanks Dr.Finkel!

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