I am a big fan of Khan Academy and how its lessons and activities support in-class and independent learning for my students. However, my students sometimes grumble that they are put off by the approaches used, different than what I might use or the text book, and lack of an Irish accent.
I do have a Microsoft Surface Book which comes with a digitizer pen and provides me with the opportunity to create screen recordings. I do this using Office Mix and Microsoft OneNote, both of which I have blogged about in the past. While I can do this and have the device and software to allow me do this I wanted a way that allowed my students to be able to create video tutorials for Maths. I am always keen to have the students in the role of content creators instead of just content consumers.
So, I discussed with my class how they would feel about making math videos to be shared online. The purpose was to allow anyone absent use these to catch-up, for homework support, test preperation, recapping on new material and general studying. Students loved the idea that they would be the creators and the video content would be directly linked to the content and types of questions we saw in class.
How do we create the videos?
I decided the most accessible way forward was to use a smartphone with a good camera to record a solution to a math problem. We wanted the recording to be steady so needed a stand that held the phone in place whilst recording. I found just the device in Homestore and More for less than €5, see picture below, This is a simple phone holder which clips to the side of a desk and can be adjusted to hold the smartphone over the desk.
With this handy little product, our smartphones and some enthusiastic students we were ready to go! Students selected some good sample questions and then used the phone to record them as they talked through the solutions. Students names are never used and their faces are not recorded. Students critiqued instructional videos and came up with a success criteria for good quality instructional videos and some steps to achieving this. They agreed a good video would
- clearly explain the content in the most straight forward manner,
- marker was better than pen as it was easier to see once recorded,
- you should speak at a consistent pace, not too fast,
- a practise run was needed before the actual recording,
- having key words and vocabulary written down before recording the video helped,
- two people rather than one person being recorded was better as it allowed one to help the other out if they got stuck,
- and a video manager needed to oversee the process .
Sometimes I need to edit the videos after the recordings or merge a multiple short clips into one video. To do this you can use YouTube’s Online Video Editor or if you have access to software such as iMovie or Camtasia they work well. My only criticism of YouTube’s video Editor is that after I merged some clips the quality was diminished.
How do we share the videos?
Our school has provided all staff and students with Office 365 accounts and initially we used this to save and share the videos. However, students explained that they are quicker to use YouTube on their phones to access videos and so we set up a class YouTube channel which we have just begun using to save and share our videos. Have a look at one of our first few videos below.
How are we using the videos?
We use video in a variety of ways in the class. Students love making the videos and evidently have a deeper learning experience when they have to know the content to such an extent that they are comfortable to be recorded explaining same.
Students from across year groups, and indeed from anywhere, can access the videos to support their own learning. Parents have been very pleased when their son or daughter has directed them online to see the content they have created.
We also make video solutions to class tests and students use the school iPods and their own earphones to view these video solutions. They use the video to check if solutions are correct or incorrect and then are tasked with providing feedback to their peers to help them to improve. Typically, I the teacher will record these solution videos or ask a student to do so as an extension activity.
This is a relatively new initiative I have been trying out but it is having a hugely positive impact on the learning outcomes for students. I am excited to see how this initiative evolves nd anticipate much of the progress to be organic and student-led.