About

I was first employed as a teacher in the fall of 2007. I teach various physics classes in a high school in the western suburbs of Chicago. I also advise our Science Olympiad team on physics and building events, mentor our Robotics Team as they compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition, and keep an eye on our Physics Club.

Before becoming a high school physics teacher, I was a software engineer for ten years at National Instruments, a measurement and automation company. I worked on a wide variety of projects and those probably of most interest to an education-focused audience would be the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT. When I returned to school to become a teacher, I started Sugar Maple Software to consult and develop consumer applications for Mac OS X and the iPhone and iPad. I continue to develop software as time permits during the summer. In the summer of 2011, I was a Teacher Research Associate at Fermilab and contributed to the Holometer Experiment.

In the fall of 2009, my colleague and I decided to restructure our honors-level, algebra-based physics course based on our emerging interest in mastery learning and standards-based grading. Based on our experiences and successes, our physics team restructured our regular-level physics course, in the fall of 2010, to reflect our standards-based grading philosophy. In addition, in the fall of 2010, I implemented the Modeling Methodology for teaching Physics to a much greater degree in my regular-level physics courses. In the fall of 2011, I’m hoping to tweak and refine.

This blog is titled Pedagogue Padawan to emphasize that I am learning how to effectively help others learn. Pedagogue is defined as:

a teacher, esp. a strict or pedantic one.

ORIGIN late Middle English : via Latin from Greek paidagōgos, denoting a slave who accompanied a child to school (from pais, paid- ‘boy’ + agōgos ‘guide’ ).

I find the etymology interesting. Padawan is a reference to a Jedi apprentice in the Star Wars universe.

I created Pedagogue Padawan since I hope that, by sharing my reflections on learning to help others learn, others with similar interests will find some insight or at least chuckle. I will focus on various topics in which I am interested: assessment, engineering, mastery learning, modeling, physics, standards-based grading, and technology.

I’m on Twitter as @gcschmit.

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