So why is this post titled “Sub Videos”? When I first began merging tablet and screencasting technologies to create instructional video, one of my favorite applications was for sub assignments. I would simply record myself modeling a few problems for students…have the sub play those videos…have the students solve some related problems…have the sub play solutions to those videos, etc. It worked like a charm (at least I thought…). See example video below:
Despite initial “success”, after presenting at CUE in Palm Springs last month, something struck me. I was in the middle of my standard discussion about Blooms Taxonomy, and how the true “flip” does not involve homework with lecture, but intentionally matches the “community” (classroom) with learning activities appropriate for the community (higher end Blooms). Conversely, matching the “individual” (outside of class time) with learning activities appropriate for that space (lower end Blooms). See image below:
While giving that presentation, I realized that my students were back in San Francisco, with a substitute, watching videos IN THEIR COMMUNITY SPACE (classroom) of me solving problems as I would IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL SPACE! Because my students were all together, I was missing an opportunity to use video as an inquiry tool, and instead, using it as I normally would on the back end of an inquiry cycle, as a tool delivery medium. So, the last few times I have missed class since CUE (happens often given the arrival of my second child!), I have been experimenting with using video in a way that values the community, promotes inquiry, and models how I normally would carry out class if I was there. Rather than solve problems, I have been presenting open ended scenarios for students, and given a set of prompting questions, instructing the sub to have students discuss possible solutions to the scenario. Often, I have coupled the situation with follow up videos that provide further explanation, but NOT UNTIL the initial inquiry scenario is presented. Below are a few examples:
Pre Video Question: Does Bromothymol change color in an acidic or basic environment? Justify by writing a chemical reaction to describe the process.
Pre Video Question: Can you explain this observation using what you know about ideal gas behavior?
Because the “Explore” and “Apply” phases of the “Explore-Flip-Apply” learning cycle rely heavily on collaboration and model development, quick group presentations and sharing of information is essential. Below is a list of different ways I have been using Reflection App, in conjunction with our classroom LCD projector, to better facilitate inquiry and collaboration:
- Mobile Document Camera: Using the camera, move about classroom displaying student work, laboratory procedures, demonstrations, etc.
- Spontaneous Group Presentations: Using the camera, quickly interview different groups during various phases of the inquiry cycle. For example, feature a group’s problem solving strategy, or ideas re: a specific model they are currently developing.
- Annotation of Student Work: Using the camera, take a picture of various student solutions during a problem solving session and using apps like PhotoPen, annotate and comment on problems.
- Quick Slide Shows to Summarize Activities: Snap pictures of student work, and upon conclusion, quickly scroll through your camera roll to serve as a daily summary. Alternatively, revisit the pictures at the beginning of the following day as a transition into the next phase of the learning cycle.
- Screencast iPhone/iPad Applications: Although more connected to the “Flip” phase of the “Explore-Flip-Apply” cycle, by mirroring your display onto your Max OSX display, you can use programs such as Quicktime’s screen recorder and Screencastomatic to capture applicable information from your device.
1. Using the Google Sites “iFrame Gadget” or any other iFrame function, embed your public Showme or Educreations profile into your class site.
2. Identify frequently asked questions or questions students ask via email or text.
3. Record solutions using Educreations or Showme.
4. Walla! Solutions are posted automatically to your website available for ALL students, not just the question asker.
Although this seems like a very simple/no-brainer process, the fact that the iFrame functionality completely removes the step of publishing and distributing the video to students makes this process sustainable. I find myself carrying my iPad with me at all times, pulling over on the side of the road to answer student texts (I provide students with my google voice number), or simply wandering the classroom and recording solutions that I would have otherwise done on a separate sheet of paper or a whiteboard. Click here and here to see videos made via Showme and Educreations (I switched to Educreations for the second semester when it was launched). The videos are super shaky and bad quality, but that’s THE POINT. Capturing the authentic tutorial stores it for everybody, with learning taking the lead, rather than aesthetics.
Below is a text transcript between myself and a student that references this process:
Because the video is long, I recommend clicking the: button on the bottom right of the embedded video below to watch it directly on vimeo’s site. You can also click here. You will notice chapter markers below the video that look like this:
Chapter markers can only be seen when viewing the video directly on the vimeo website (Dear Vimeo, Please add this feature to embedded videos as well. Sincerely, Ramsey). By clicking on each blue link, the presentation will be automatically forwarded to that point in the video, without reloading a page. Traditionally, I encourage teachers to make very short videos for their students, that introduce or reinforce basic concepts needed for in class application. However, from time-to-time, it is appropriate to create a long video for students that, for example, provides an interactive key to a final exam, or provides a systematic review of all material in preparation for an end of the year exam (AP, etc.). Using chapter markers can be a great way to chunk up a long video, and empower students to think metacognitively about what they need the most help with. Below the presentation is a tutorial video on how to make chapter markers in vimeo.
CLS RTI & Tech Conference Presentation
Vimeo Chapter Marker Tutorial (via WebVideoSchool)
Recently I stumbled upon a research Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Strategies provided by the U.S. Department of Education that validates this reflection mechanism. Below is a screenshot taken from the report:
I have always preached the following: “It is not a silver bullet, if your students don’t have access, then try something else. If your students do, then harness that option appropriately”. However, the more I speak to others about technology in the classroom, I become even more perplexed by the access reality. Some argue that access is no longer an issue, others feel that requiring students to engage in online activities outside of the classroom creates an unequal playing field, while many passionately claim that we are handicapping our students by not empowering them with the ability to seek out the tools necessary to engage in the 21st century learning activities. Click here to access data regarding internet access provided by Pew Internet.
This past week I was honored to work with a friend who is a 9th grade algebra teacher at a school just south of San Francisco. He is interested in the Explore-Flip-Apply model, however, given the dynamics of his school, and diversity of his students, he was weary about assigning homework that required access to the internet. Rather than simply guess and go for it, we worked together to develop a simple plan to more intentionally address any access issues in his class. The goal was to create a survey that would encourage a very honest response regarding access rather than couch our question in the context of a homework assignment plan, etc. Below are the steps we took:
Step 1: We created a google form with the following two questions. Students answered form form the library computers.
1. Can you update your Facebook status from home or from a mobile device (e.g., laptop, phone, iPad, etc.)?
2. If you answered “No” to the question above, you did so because...a) you don’t have personal internet access b) you don’t use Facebook.
Step 2: We analyzed the data.
72% answered “Yes” to the Facebook status question. It was assumed that these students can access the internet individually, outside of the classroom.
15% answered “No” because they do not use Facebook, however said they could access the internet for other activities. It was assumed that these students can access the internet individually, outside of the classroom.
13% answered “No” because they did not have access at home.
Step 4: On the following day, we met with each student who fell within the 13% (4 students) and asked for their feedback on the following options:
Option 1: Come to class 15 minutes early on the day an internet based assignment (usually instructional screencast) is due, and view it on one of four classroom computes.
(This teacher purchased 4 laptops from eBay for fairly cheap and also offers up his own personal laptop during this time).
Option 2: Research hours of the school’s library/Internt access and that of their local library. Use locations to complete internet based assignment.
Option 3: Ask a family member, neighbor, or friend whom you see often if you can use their internet for ~ 30 minutes/week
(In a traditional Explore-Flip-Apply model, the students are only viewing ~ 2 vids a week, and each is ~ 8 minutes. We added on an extra 15 minutes to give the student time to fill out the associated form used for reflection and tracking of the video).
Option 4: Come up with your own plan for accessing the internet.
Students were given a few days to figure out their strategy, while we confirmed that the other 87% had access. The 4 students were told that if they could not figure out a feasible strategy, that we would work with them individually to figure something out. Two out of the 4 students decided that coming into class early on days where lectures were due would work for them. Anecdotally, when my students choose this option, I find that their investment in the following problem solving sessions is greater. Most likely due in part to the close proximity between viewing a video of basic content, and direct application of that content. Another student decided to use the school library, and the final student, given her schedule, found none of the options suitable. For her, the instructor loaned out an old department laptop with wireless capabilities, and worked out a plan with her and her mother where she would visit a local coffee shop that provided wireless access near her home a few times a week.
All in all, the process was very simple. However, rather than simply assuming all students had access as I have done in the past, helping a colleague through this process shed light onto the realities of the access issue for this particular class. Additionally, we learned that negotiating the access issue, with a little creativity, can be a very feasible process. Obviously how the percentages break down is a function of the school community, student demographics, etc. Perhaps this post can shed light into a simple way of negotiating student access in your class. Subjectively, I could just sense that the students appreciated the intentional way we worked WITH them, rather than simply assume that they are “digital natives” and all have access.
Step 1: Each group designed and solved one problem on a blank sheet of paper. I did not allow the use of any materials, textbooks, etc.
Step 2: Groups recorded their solution using screenchomp according to the below rules:
- Question is only spoken
- Solution is spoken and written
- Multiple colors are used
- Each member must be heard or seen (handwriting)
Step 3: Groups shared link with google form on class website. Spreadsheet that collects links was embedded on website using iFrame gadget. Click here to watch chomps.
Step 4: Students watched chomps for homework (the flip). Quiz questions the following day were be randomly chosen from the chomps.
Use this program to build my class website. It allows me to integrate things like google forms into the website in a seamless fashion for students. Students seem to enjoy the clean look and feel.
Student/group produced instructional videos upon conclusion of “Explore” day of learning cycle.
Produce quick tutorials for students during class. Use iFrame function in Rapidweaver so videos are automatically housed on class website for ease of access. Also, given the need for spontaneously produced instructional videos in response to misconceptions that arise during the “Explore” day of the learning cycle, this app allows me to create quick instructional videos for students.
Collect students summaries to instructional videos. Collect and grade multiple choice responses to quizzes and tests (I use the scripts Flubaroo for item analysis and MCQ to email students score and feedback). Collect and analyze group lab data. Collect student and parent course evaluations. Peer Instruction “buzzers” (see sidebar on right).
Shared “collections” for student lab and writing portfolios. Public google document for “Virtual Review” before exams.
Enter student instructional video summaries to generate word cloud. Use this to stimulate Q & A about instructional video before “application” phase of learning cycle.
Screenflow, Jing, & Quicktime:
Record teacher and student produced instructional videos.
Coaches Eye (iPhone):
Use app to record and deconstruct student lab work.
Voice Thread (iPhone)
Record teacher and student produced worked examples.
Wacom Graphire & Wacom Bamboo tablets (w/wireless adaptor):
Use for mobile instruction/modeling when needed during class.
Use in conjunction w/ tablets to annotate over pdf documents during class.
Use in conjunction w/ tablets to annotate over blank screen during class.
Use in conjunction w/ tablets to annotate over screen, videos, slides, etc. during class and in instructional videos.
Use in conjunction with tablets to annotate over pdf documents in instructional videos (clunkier than FormulatePro but easier to change color).
Use to time students when taking AP style exams, working on challenge problems, or negotiating any task that is timed during class.
Use as a backchannel for students and groups to ask general questions to me or the class during problem solving sessions.
Use to obtain clips from DVDs for #anyqs style video clips during “Explore” phase. See “movies” tab above for examples of clips.
Use to obtain mp4s of YouTube clips to integrate into instructional video and Keynote slides for #anyqs and general demonstrations.
Vimeo & YouTube
Publish instructional videos. Both allow for time-marker integration and annotations to help scaffold videos.
Use to generate iTunes feed for instructional videos.
IPEVO & Boardcam (iPad):
Use as doc cam to showcase student work, demonstrations and lab set up.
Logger Pro w/ Vernier:
Use for data analysis during “Explore” day of learning cycle.
Use video camera function to record class demonstrations and student work.
Use as “home base” for activities during “Explore” or “Apply” day. Also, #anyqs pictures and videos are housed in the keynote slides as ways to begin “Explore” day of learning cycle.
- Good science instruction should inspire students to construct their own knowledge.
- I teach at an urban catholic high school, and although improving, our schedule is still very limited (primary reasons include: additional school holidays and lack of athletic facilities that require students to miss class often).
Given this reality, in order for me to make it through an entire AP chemistry curriculum AND encourage students to construct their own ideas first, I must strike a balance between inquiry and teacher facilitated instruction. If I had it my way, and perhaps when I become a more experienced and well versed instructor, I will be able to move through an entire AP Chemistry curriculum in a way that completely removes any direct instruction from the picture.
In the meantime, rather than stepping in to fill in knowledge gaps and address misconceptions in class, doing this via annotated and narrated screencasts works very well for me, and for my students. (See “Explore-Flip-Apply” model below). Students get an opportunity to struggle with concepts in a collaborative and hands-on fashion first, and then use the homework space (only a few times a week at most) to learn key phrases, definitions, and models from me, that I feel push them through the curriculum at a good clip, in my voice and my handwriting.
Thus, it is VERY clear, that the above process is more a function of MY situation than anything. A lot of great information, knowledge and wisdom can be found when sifting through the past month’s debate, and for me, I was able to develop a model that I feel is working. But (deep breath…) that’s relative to me. For all interested in flip teaching, I encourage your to reflect on your own practice, what works for YOU, who YOUR students are and what resources they have. Then, perhaps aspects of flip teaching could help address a few of the road blocks you might encounter.
So, why am I writing this, and why is it titled “On-the-Go Responses? To be honest, going back and fourth about pedagogical differences, efficacy of flip teaching, etc., has totally burnt me out. Given this, I have been asking myself lately: why did I begin to do this in the first place? The answer is simple.
One day, 6 years ago, before Dan Pink even name dropped the term “flip”, I was frustrated with the time it took to go over homework in class, and decided to post video solutions on line. This led me to a fascination with mastering the tools needed to make this happen in a fluid and clean way for students and teachers. Done. I got super nerdy about the technology, and how it saved a few minutes of class time for me, and that was that.
So, lately I have been thinking about a similar thing, and rather than surround myself with debate on a grand scale, I thought it would be fun to get back to the nerdy tools that fascinated me in the first place. I got an email from a student asking for help on a problem while I was in the car yesterday (yes, like an idiot I looked at my phone while driving, I regret this…). I pulled over, and started typing out a long explanation. Then, I remembered a post form Kyle Pace on twitter about the new VoiceThread iPhone app.
I pulled up the app, and immediately realized I could only annotate over pictures. So, in an attempt to turn VoiceThread into Screenchomp, Replaynote, Explain Everything or Showme (iPad programs that allow you to record video tutorials on a blank white screen), I took a few pictures of a white sheet of paper I had in my car and recorded solutions to the problem over those images. In five minutes, not only was I able to send the solutions of to the student, but on their end, they received an explanation that is not only cataloged for other students to watch but, like all good instructional videos, maximized their audio and visual working memory channels.
Simple, but quick, and without an iPad. I think I’m going to use this method to respond to all student inquiries regarding difficult problems while I’m away form my computer. Below is a simple tutorial I created for how to do this. I used BoardCam (an iPad app that turns the iPad into a doc camera) to record this tutorial. It was my wife’s iPad :). Ignore the music at the beginning of the video. Forgot to turn Pandora off...