Teacher-created Video Series: 3 Great Ideas for Using Videos With Teachers and Parents

This post is the final one in a series about using teacher-created videos in your classes. For the first post in the series, “3 Great Ideas for Screencasting Software,” click here. For the second post, “3 Great Ideas for Using Teacher-Created Videos with Students,” click here.

Using Video (and other methods) to Flip the Faculty Meeting

“The big question is, What’s the best use of face-to-face time? My argument would be it’s not talking about the hat policy or fire drill procedures.”

– Jon Bergmann

Although there may have been a time where the faculty meeting was the most effective way of delivering information to staff, we can probably all admit that we’ve sat through many meetings that could have easily been replicated in an email. Even more frustrating? Sitting in a PD session meant to encourage teachers to try a dynamic, engaging best practice…that is delivered via PowerPoint slides. But, just as we’ve seen that teachers can create videos to maximize face-to-face time with students, administrators can capitalize on those same methods to reinvigorate the (sometimes) dreaded faculty meeting.

Sarah McKibben, writing for ASCD, detailed a number of school leaders who have made the move to flipped faculty meetings. Some have created videos using many of the methods detailed in Part 1 of this series, whereas others use email, blogs, their school websites, or other methods to communicate any information that doesn’t warrant a discussion. In doing so, administrators are able to use that faculty meeting time in a more meaningful way–for professional development, small group work, or discuss an article/topic that was shared previously. In some cases, flipping the faculty meeting replaces the physical meeting in its entirety.

Now, I know that some of you may be thinking, “what do you do about people who choose to not watch the videos/read the blog/etc. in advance?” While I’d agree that those people would be unprepared for the face-to-face time that follows, I would challenge you to think about how many people are truly engaged and paying attention during the old-fashioned “laundry-list agenda” faculty meeting. In fact, the expectation that teachers will actually have to apply what they learn from a video/blog post may actually raise the stakes and lead more people in the room to engage with the material that in the past, they were able to tune out.

Using Video to Communicate With Parents

Parents in many districts know how to get in touch with their child’s teacher if they have questions. Usually, in my experience, this has been through email and the occasional phone call. I find that most of the time, parents just want to be in the loop about not only their child’s progress, but also, the teacher’s expectations and how he/she believes a class should run.

A district website with dedicated spaces for departments (at least on the middle/high school level) and teacher pages helps. But, what if, on those department pages, schools made the effort to provide videos of their supervisors and teachers discussing their teaching philosophies? Or if these videos could capture what is happening inside our classrooms? I’m not naive enough to think that these measures would obfuscate the email to a teacher, but they could certainly provide an extra point of reference.

Another idea that my #CELmate and friend Kate Baker has written about extensively is flipping your Back to School Night. I won’t rehash too much, because she does a much better job than I could explaining her process here.  I have also seen a similar post about flipping Back to School Night from Catlin Tucker, which you can read here. 

Regardless of how you choose to do it, the goal is to give parents the opportunity to experience what it is like being a student in your class. If you use these technologies frequently with their kids, then show them what that kind of learning looks like. The plus side? It can help dispel some of the myths that sometimes arise around flipped learning, such as, “the teacher is just assigning me videos and doesn’t teach.” If you communicate to parents beforehand that they should watch a Back to School Night video, then you will have the opportunity to engage in a follow-up activity in person. In a night full of whirlwind presentations and paper handouts, the visit to your classroom may be the one that stands out.

Teacher-created Video Series: 3 Great Ideas for Screencasting Software

A little over a year ago, a few different spheres in the education orbit collided right in front of me, and I have been reaping the benefits since. I had the good fortune to hear Jon Bergmann speak at ISTE 2016 (I talk about this a little bit in my ISTE 2016 post here), initiating my research into the flipped classroom. At around the same time, I discovered Catlin Tucker’s blog. Tucker is an ELA teacher and Blended Learning extraordinaire. I found a lot of crossover between these two leaders’ voices, with both clearly outlining the WHYs and the HOWs behind their respective educational philosophies.

More notably, I’ve been using the station rotation model of blended learning, something that Tucker writes about quite frequently (My favorite blog posts of hers related to this model are here, here, here, and here). But, no matter how you blend your classroom, I am finding that the most powerful and game-changing choices we can make is to use short, engaging teacher-created videos.

This post will be the first in a series about introducing these videos with your classes.

 

3 Great Ideas for Screencasting Software

    Teachers sometimes bristle when there are calls to give up on the “sage on the stage” model. I know that I was a student who responded fairly well to a good lecture. I am not quite ready to admit that the whole-class lecture is dead (here’s a really interesting NY Times Op-Ed about this very topic).

    But, I do think that we can take those awesome PowerPoints/Google Slides, and using screencasting software, modernize what once took us a whole period to do in front of 25 students. Here are three great tools for doing that:

  • Quicktime: This program comes standard on Apple computers. Open it up, click File→ New Screen Recording. The program will record whatever is on your screen and the computer’s microphone will pick up your voice. If you narrate over a presentation, you can save the video file and share it on your LMS, YouTube, or both.

 

  • Screencast-O-Matic: This site is made specifically for making screencasts. There is a free version, which gives you the ability to make up to 15 minute videos, and also to upload the video to YouTube. The pay version ($18.00 p/y) provides you with more recording time and more uploading options, along with some other features.

 

  • Screencastify: This one has some similar features to Screencast-O-Matic, but it has the added benefit of being a Google Chrome extension. You have the option of a free and a pay plan (24 p/y), with more features (like editing) being available with the paid version. You can record your whole desktop, a browser tab, or your webcam. Integration with Google Drive and YouTube is seamless.

 

    These are just three possibilities, and of course there are many more. The goal should be to choose a screencasting software that works for you and your students. You may want one that allows you the ability to edit, so that you can make your videos as clean, polished, and engaging as possible.

    So now you know which screencast software you want to use. In the next post in this Video Series, I will discuss how to use screencasting to create a new lesson or “update” an existing one.

#ISTE2016 – 3 Great Ideas Just Aren’t Enough!

I don’t think I can “bear” to choose only 3 Great Ideas…

I know…this is only the third post, and I am already breaking my own rules. When I conceived the concept for 3 Great Ideas, I thought three was a good number. It will be easy(ish) to find contributors, and it’s a small enough number to not overwhelm people. So, because I’m a neophyte who thought he would actually be able to return from the #ISTE2016 with only 3 Great Ideas, this entry is going to be a little different. I stuck to the whole “three” idea, but each section is going to have lots of stuff in it. “Bear” with me…

Some of the Greatest Tools:

Obviously, if you go to a conference like ISTE, there is an overwhelming amount of tools and products barraging you from all angles. You can’t see everything, so don’t even try. The best thing you can do is soak up whatever you can and try to walk away with something you and your school can use. Here are a few tools that stood out for me:

  • FlippityWhen Kenneth Griswold presented this tool at TeachMeetISTE, people literally “oohed” and “ahhed.” Flippity allows teachers to create a student randomizer, just by utilizing your Google Sheets. All you need to do is have a roster of students, put it into Sheets, publish the sheet to the web, and you’re ready to go. Even more exciting? Flippity can automatically group students to the number of your choosing. No more on-the-spot scrambling if a student is absent or your numbers are off!
  • Switcher StudioSteven New (also a presenter during TeachMeetISTE) shared this really interesting tool that allows teachers who create their own digital content to use iPads and iPhones to broadcast and edit live video. There are also capabilities for multi-camera production, too (3 additional cameras if on the same wifi network). Then, stream to popular streaming platforms for live viewing.
  • ZooKazamThis was another crowdpleaser that Kyle Calderwood showed us at TeachMeetISTE. ZooKazam allows users with the aid of a “target” (print online) to have augmented-reality animals appear on any surface through the use of your iPhone or iPad camera. Kyle is also one of the TeachMeetNJ organizers.

    Here I am using Google “Ocs”…

  • Photo Apps: Bill Selak presented his session, “Iphonography 101” and shared a number of apps that take photo editing to the next level. Snapseed allows you to adjust color, focus and crop. Mexture allows users to integrate different textures with their photos. TouchRetouch was particularly interesting to the crowd in that the app provides users with the capability of easily erasing elements in a photo.
  • ThinglinkLiz Calderwood, also a TeachMeetNJ organizer showed off this real neat tool where you can take any picture (or “thing”) and add pinpoints to it. Then, within these pinpoints, teachers or students can incorporate links, videos, other pictures, etc. This allows students an opportunity to incorporate visual models to show their learning. Really cool!
  • SymbalooSymbaloo is a bookmarking tool that creates a user homepage on all devices. It presents all of a user’s favorite websites on an easy, icon-based page. Good tool if you want to curate a number of sites for students, or for keeping track of your own sites across devices.
  • HistorypinThis one, which I saw during “101 Web Tools” (presented by the people from SimpleK12) was really amazing. Historypin is a website where users can upload documents, photos, videos and more, and then tie it to a pin on a map. The purpose is to build an interactive map that tells the story of a place through the eyes and mouths of those that live there.
  • GoosechaseThis was SO FUN. During the ISTE session, Gamify Your Classroom, Marty Creech and Britanny Guy taught us about how to use game design to increase motivation in students. They led the session through this really fun and interactive scavenger hunt app, Goosechase. Goosechase lets students (or in this case, teachers) complete a series of tasks and earn points on a leaderboard. In our session, we got to high five other groups, and also learn about gamification via articles uploaded to Goosechase.
  • DocentEDUThis is one tool that I actually knew I wanted to check out coming to ISTE. I had played around with DocentEDU briefly this school year when I saw someone mention it on Twitter but didn’t know much. It allows teachers to turn any website into an interactive space via a Chrome extension. You can embed questions, videos, links, notes and more on the surface of any website’s page. Really great way to create engaging content. Their CEO, Matt Nupen was a really nice guy, too and seemed really helpful.

Some of the Greatest Ideas:

Yes, ISTE had me walking away with a bazillion new apps, programs, websites, and tools that I want to use right away in the classroom. But, for me, I got the most out of hearing about others’ philosophies, ideas, and mindsets. Jon Bergmann, Thomas Arnett, Vicki Davis, Mike Gwaltney, Aaron Sams, and Stephanie Sandifer led a panel about blended learning, and I walked away with a new commitment to how I want to structure my classes.

Blended learning is very much the future of classrooms

These are things we should be paying attention to when considering student success.

Something that really hit home during the blended learning session was the idea that “distance can be a positive principle.” Many of us know lots about flipped classrooms by this point, but the panelists here made it clear that it isn’t just about creating videos for home viewing. In fact, they talked about the value of having students view teacher-created content in class, while the teacher walks around and helps students who are ready to discuss.

The panelists also discussed the importance of creating a workflow system that works for your blended learning model.

These are the hallmarks of a succesful blended learning model.

Pretty much, I walked out of blended learning realizing more than ever that we as teachers have to give students more opportunities to demonstrate and articulate authentic learning.

Speaking of articulating student learning, another great session was Building a TED Culture in Your Classroom. I love TED talks, and what really makes them meaningful is the vast library of free, accessible videos they post on their website. TED makes it possible for people around the world to access high quality, engaging talks from the world’s greatest minds. This workshop detailed how teachers can leverage the power of TED in their schools by having students and community members deliver their own talks. Jimmy Juliano and Laura Grigg, teachers in Lake Forest, Illinois, walked us through their story of first starting a TED Club in their school and then eventually organizing a community TEDx event. By the end of the event, I was super jazzed and trying to figure out how we could do this in my own school.

My tweet, literally as I was walking out of the door at Building a TED Culture in Your School

What I like about the TED talk model is that it gives students a framework for reflecting on their learning. Many of the teachers I saw at ISTE2016 focused on getting away from the “read a PowerPoint verbatim” model and instead, getting to a place where students do a thing, and then present on their process. TED is a great way of fostering this kind of thinking.

Some of the Greatest People

Of course, I am leaving out so many of the other ideas I heard at ISTE. But, as I am sitting here in the airport awaiting my flight home, it’s becoming clear what ISTE was really about–connecting educators with other educators. I was privileged to listen to some wonderful speakers. We started off with a fascinating keynote from futurist Michio Kaku, who talked about all the ways that technology will make our lives easier (and scarier) in the future.

We are currently preparing students for jobs that we don’t even know about yet.

Tuesday morning, we saw R2-D2, LeVar Burton, and Princeton professor Ruha Benjamin (that’s still a strange combination when you say it out loud). What a wonderful day when you can both nerd out over R2 and be moved and inspired by Dr. Benjamin.

Dr. Benjamin spoke in a way that inspired and challenged my ideas about education and the world we live in. Here we were, sitting there in the middle of this educational technology conference, and Dr. Benjamin’s keynote touched on the human element of things. It was a perspective-gaining moment and reminded me that once again, as teachers, the shiny toys are fun but we musn’t let them distract us. We’re in the business of equipping students with the tools to be better learners and compassionate people.

The last slide of Dr. Ruha Benjamin’s keynote