Category Archives: Teacher Spotlights

Teacher Spotlight: Brie Benjamin-Baker

Teacher Spotlight - Brie Benjamin-Baker

Brie Benjamin-Baker
Science Educator
Primavera Online High School
Chandler, Arizona

One of the most common questions I get when I tell people that I am an online science teacher is, “How do you do lab projects?”  A joy of teaching science is having students do hands-on labs.  Since Primavera is a fully accredited high school it means that our students are doing hands-on projects in all lab science classes.

The simple answer to how we do labs is that students use basic materials to create experiments right in their home.  In my first semester biology class, students will make yogurt at home and determine if yogurt is best made at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  My general science students will explore Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion by making balloon rockets.

Providing hands-on labs is one thing, getting student to do the labs is another.  While some students can read the lab directions and jump right in, most need more help.  Here is where I use Adobe Connect meeting room. Since I am not sitting in front of my students, Adobe Connect allows me to teach live and get real time feedback from them on class concepts. It also helps to personalize the class for my students.  Finally, they are taking a class from a real person, not just scrolling through activities.

Adobe Connect is a web-based platform for meetings and/or teaching live to student that may be living hundreds of miles away.  Some of the features I use most often include:

  • Real time chat and video – I have to make sure that I am not teaching in my pajamas on live session days.
  • Screen share – This allows both the student and myself to share our screens.
  • Whiteboard – An endless amount of whiteboards are available that can be accessed by both instructor and student.  Instructors can also limit access to select students. They can also be saved and reused later too.
  • Polling – Create unique poll questions to check student comprehension throughout a lesson
  • Share documents and videos – Capability to upload and share PowerPoint presentations, .pdf files and also Youtube videos.

More information for Adobe connect at

Looking for ideas that have similar features, but not the cost associated with Adobe Connect?

As more and more schools and districts bring in an online component for teaching students, it is helpful to stay abreast of ways that you could interact with students that may access your class from miles away.



Teacher Spotlight: Mary C. Palasi, M.Ed.


Mary C. Palasi, M.Ed.
Science Educator
Tucson Magnet High School
Tucson, Arizona

This year I am teaching two topics: STEM Science & Sustainability to freshmen and Earth/Space to mostly juniors and seniors. Students are making use of CPS clickers, computer labs, cell phones and in the near future, iPads.

All of my students are trying online homework on KES.  I first learned about the website during a workshop at the University of Arizona, just prior to the start school year. It has taken some practice to both learn and get comfortable with the KES system, but the results are worth the effort.

Here are the highlights of site qualities that are rather useful:

  • The ability to use assignment dates with specific start and stop times
  • Each student can join the site on their own with a class code
  • The analysis tab allows an educator to see how long each student took with each answer, thereby demonstrating documentation of giving extra time with testing for students with IEPs. This tab also allows for a rapid summary of individual success with questions. Since more than 90% of the students are using home computers, this also meets a need for quiet testing location. Additionally, students are allowed to use computers labs in the school library and/or their local PIMA county Library for computer use.
  • The site allows me to access questions from other off campus teachers on the same topic.
  • Most recently I have invited a colleague to my KES site as a fellow instructor to assess student progress with me.
  • Finally, the ability to allow software to do all the grading, in real time, has improved my ability to monitor and adjust lessons to meet the specific need of each class.

In closing, the company has walked me through any concerns and assisted in correcting any problems. I recommend other educators give KES a try!