Recording lessons

Recording lessons can be a powerful way to support student learning. However before implementing any new technology, especially those that require student engagement outside the classroom certain questions should be asked:

  • Is there a benefit for my students?
  • Do I want to invest some time in this?
  • Is the technology going to work in my school environment?
    • If not who can help me make it work and will the time it takes be worthwhile in the long term?
  • Is the technology available to my students at home?
    • Is it easy to use and access?
Recording a lesson should be no more complicated than opening 
the software, pressing record, going about your lesson in exactly the same 
manner as any other lesson, press stop recording and then uploading the
video to a place for students to access.

Five reasons to record your lessons:

  1. Absences: Student absences are frustrating. There is nothing worse than teaching a critical lesson, outlining a new topic or explicitly teaching a new concept and one or more students are away. If the lesson has been recorded then the student has the opportunity to catch up on what they have missed without the teacher having to spend time during the next lesson ‘catching the student up’. The link to the video can also be sent to the parent via email or txt message.
  2. Note taking: If students know they can access a video of the lesson at any time they do not need to spend time taking notes during the lesson. Removing the need for note taking allows students to focus on the lesson being presented rather than rushing to keep up with note taking.
  3. Teacher feedback: Recording lessons can pick up the discussions that occur during lessons (a good microphone may need to be purchased). This allows the teacher to hear who is responding and their understanding of concepts. It also provides feedback to the teacher about the lesson – How did it go? What would I change? Was my questioning effective? etc.
  4. Flipped learning: A growing trend in education is flipped learning. This requires the teacher to 1. create a lesson (or part of) outside of normal lesson time or 2. find a video made by someone else and ask students to view the video for homework reducing the time needed in class for explicit teaching of the concept and more time for application and discussion of the concept.
  5. Revision/parent involvement: A series of lessons recorded on a topic provides a resource for students to look back on to revise for an assessment task or test. If parents are made aware of how to access recorded lessons they can support their child at home to access them. This is true for younger students whose parents may wish to sit down and help them strengthen a concept.
You may not be someone who wants to record every lesson (I don't). But you 
may want to record the odd lesson or section of a lesson every now and then.
For example a 15 min explicit teaching lesson in maths or a 10 minute
procedure in science or a 5 minute grammar rule in English.
If it is something you always teach then the video becomes a resource
you can use in the future. Having the skills and tools to do this
is a valuable addition to your teaching strategies.

How can I record lessons?

Screen record on the iPad using a new iOS 11 feature

iOS11 has the ability to screen record your iPhone or iPad which allows teachers to create recorded lessons using these devices. iOS11 saves the video into the Photos app. There were some bugs initially with the audio not working when the video file was uploaded to sites like You Tube or apps like iMovie. This bug has been fixed in iOS11.2.

ShowMe (iPad)

ShowMe developers say: ShowMe allows you to record voice-over whiteboard tutorials and share them online. It’s an amazingly simple app that anyone can use. ShowMe is a very simple and easy way to get into recording lessons. I have used this app previously for this purpose and it is best used with a stylus to write on the iPad screen. Creating a ShowMe account allows you to upload your videos to an online account providing a place for your students to access the completed lessons. You can also access other teacher’s ShowMe lessons in a variety of subject areas. Lessons will also be saved in the app without having to upload to the ShowMe website.

Educreations

Educreations is another whiteboard app that I have used to record lessons and works in a similar way to ShowMe. It offers more functionality and options but is essentially the same idea. It allows you to record lessons and upload them to the Educreation’s website to be accessed by your students. Educreations also has its own You Tube channel which allows you to access other teacher’s Educreation videos.

As well as creating lessons on the iPad you can also create lessons on your computer once you have logged in with your account. This does require writing with the mouse which I find annoying (easier with a stylus on the iPad or a touchscreen laptop).

To connect your iPad to a your display in the classroom you have a number
of options:
> Use Apple TV's Airplay function (Apple TV - $209 and a tech who can make 
it work at your site)
> iPad HDMI connection. $49 from Apple - Lightening to HDMI.
Click here to view.
> iPad VGA connection. $49 from Apple - Lightening to VGA.
Click here to view.

Quick Time (Mac)

Quicktime is the video playback app available on Mac which has a function allowing screen recording. If you own a Mac then Quicktime comes as part of the operating system and does not need to be downloaded. If you own a Widows PC or laptop you will need to download Quick Time although it is worth noting that Apple have dropped support for Quick Time on Windows past Windows 7. Apple says: QuickTime 7 is for use with Windows Vista or Windows 7. If installed on other versions of Windows, it may not offer full functionality. You can download Quick Time for Windows 7.7.9 here.

Screen Cast-O-Matic

There are many web based screen recorders like Screen Cast-O-Matic. I have used the free version of this (15mins free recording) and it works well. The paid version is also relatively cheap, a one year subscription costs $1.50 per month or a three year subscription costs $1 per month.

Ink2Go (Windows or Mac)

This app costs AU $30.99 (US $19.90 for Windows or Mac). While it is expensive compared to other apps it offers some great functionality for those serious about screen recording lessons. Download Ink2Go here. I have not had the chance to use the app to record a full lesson but have played with it and it seems to do a good job.

Ink2Go website says: Ink2Go is an extremely simple yet powerful screen annotation and recording software. You can easily write on top of any other application that is currently active on the desktop, even on a running video. You can then save your annotations as an image file or even record the whole session as a video for sharing. It is a useful tool for presenters to communicate and share ideas during a live session, for educators to create effective video tutorials.

Byron Bay High School – Flipped Learning

Flipped learning may not be something you want to explore and recording some or all of your lessons does not mean you are ‘Flipping’ your classroom. If you are interested in finding out more about Flipped learning visit the Byron Bay High Math faculty blog which has detailed information about how they have applied the concept of Flipped learning.

AITSL Teacher Standards (Proficient)

By using technology in this way you are addressing the following aspects of the AITSL Teacher Standards:

  • Domain: Professional Knowledge – 2. Know content and how to teach it.
    • 2.6 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Use effective teaching strategies to integrate ICT into learning and teaching programs to make selected content relevant and meaningful.
  • Domain: Professional Practice – 3. Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning.
    • 3.4 Select and use resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning.

 

 

Using a laser cutter to create moving models

I wonder if these models could inspire our students to design, engineer and create their own moving models. The only materials needed are rubber bands and wood (and a laser cutter).

The following models were created by Ugears a company formed in 2014 in the Ukraine. The company has an online presence in Australia – to find out more click here. Amazingly I found out about these these models through a local shop in the main street of Moonta just recently.

Developing positive relationships with parents

Schools have many ways of communicating with parents thanks to social media and applications designed to engage parents with their child’s learning, think Facebook, Class Dojo, See Saw and Edmodo. These applications do a great job of keeping parents informed about how their child is going with learning and providing an insight into their child’s classroom.

Communicating positive behaviours

For the most part teachers and schools communicate with individual families for two reasons:

  1. Unacceptable behaviour
  2. Sharing information about learning (positive and negative).

What is communicated less (for some students never) is when students demonstrate positive behaviours. Things like showing initiative, communicating well, being a good friend, helping others and demonstrating leadership etc. While parents enjoy and appreciate being able to see and hear what their child is learning they appreciate even more feedback about their child’s positive behaviours (being a good ‘human being’).

Schools and teachers are required to report about learning and we have to communicate when poor behaviour reaches a certain level. What we don’t have to report to parents is when their child behaves in a positive way or does something out of the ordinary to help others. Yet it is often this feedback that makes a parent most proud and can help mend or build relationships between the school and families whose only connection with the school may be because their child is always in trouble.

Below is a real example of a message home and the resulting message back to the teacher from the parent. The positive conversations generated by this message at home and the resulting perception of the school/teacher noticing their child in a positive light can only result in a strengthened relationship between the school and family.

 

It is not possible to continually communicate with parents but when we have the chance we should try to take it. Especially with those students who often don’t display the best behaviour. Try to catch them doing something good and let their parents know it could help you and the school in the long run.

Sphero Edu App

Thanks to Jackie and Kelly for introducing us to the Sphero robots last Wednesday. As a follow up here is an overview of what is available on the Sphero Edu app. Currently the filtering at PBAS does not allow content from the Sphero website to appear on the app but I have requested that the filtering be changed to allow the content. So be aware that at this point in time you cannot access the following but very soon will be able to.

Home – Feed

This shows the Twitter feed for Sphero Education.

Home – 3D Models

This section allows you to see an exploded view of the Sphero.

 

Home – Settings

The settings section gives you a variety of options including links to the Sphero blog and JavaScript Wiki. So if you are keen to learn about JavaScript (written code) this may be useful.

Programs – My Programs

This is where the programs that you or your students make will be saved.

Programs – Sphero

This is where you can access programs created by the employees of Sphero. When you click on a program you get a written explanation of the program and a video to watch. There will be a link to open the code that has been written. The code will open in the Sphero Edu app and can be used by you or your students. This option allows students to invsetigate and analyse detailed coding. I have included a video below of the Animal Origami program.

Programs – Community

These are programs provided by the community of Sphero users who have submitted their programs to the website. Again you get a written explanation, a video and a link to download the code. To access the community programs you need to sign in with an account. It is a simple process to create an account for yourself.

Activities – Sphero

This section provides activities for teachers to do with their students. You need an account to access these in full. A great source of ideas!

Activities – Community

A huge range of STEM based activities created by the Sphero community. An excellent resource for teachers. I recommend signing in and and having a look at these. They provide step by step lesson plans and extra resources like videos and web links to support the lesson. I have added a video below that briefly shows the K’nex Chariot Challenge. While the video is not brilliant it gives you an idea of what you can expect to find when you access this content.

Will Australia get a mandatory phonics test?

The Federal Government is proposing a mandatory 10 minute phonics screening check for Year 1 students. The test is designed to identify students who need support with reading. The test includes real words and pseudo words, to test students understanding of phonics and is based on the test currently used in the UK. Jennifer Buckingham, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies has completed a report titled Focus on Phonics: Why Australia should adopt the Year 1 Phonics Screening CheckThe recommendation for the new test has been made by a panel appointed by Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham and headed by Jennifer Buckingham.

There are some individuals and groups who do not agree with the test including the Australian Education Union, some state education ministers and academics like Misty Adoniou. Misty Adoniou is an Associate Professor at the University of Canberra in education. She is passionate about students understanding word meaning (morphemic analysis) when learning to read and spell and believes this is more important than phonics. She does acknowledge the importance of teaching phonics but is opposed to the test because there are many other factors besides phonics that contribute to being a successful reader and speller.

To listen to an interview with Misty Adoniou from the Teacher Education Review (TER) podcast click on the first link to download the audio file to your computer or click the second link to be taken to the TER Podcast website. The second link includes Misty Adoniou’s interview as well as a second interview with Stuart Riddle talking about literacy in the classroom.

  1. Click here to download TER Podcast interview with Misty Adoniou
  2. Click here to go to the TER Podcast on literacy & phonics
  3. ABC News – Year 1 students could soon have to do a new reading and maths test

To read more about Misty Adoniou’s views about teaching spelling and reading click on the following links.

The point is to learn, not to penalise

The purpose of this post is for teachers to reflect on how they manage deadlines, apply grades and give (or not) students the opportunity to resubmit work.

The Australian Curriculum is a standards based curriculum requiring us to assess against an Achievement Standard for each curriculum area/year level. Our learning tasks should link directly to aspects of these standards and by the end of the year (or two years for banded subjects) have given students the opportunity to show mastery of the standard. To achieve a satisfactory grade students must demonstrate “on balance” that they have achieved enough of the standard to pass, that is, achieve a C grade or higher. Through evidence supplied by the student the teacher uses their professional judgement to determine if the student passes the standard or not.

Now consider the following questions:

1. If a student does not submit a learning task (at all) do you give an E grade/0%?

2. If a student hands a task up late do you reduce the grade the student can get, for example lose 10% for everyday the task is late? 

This is not an uncommon practice particularly at a secondary level. Teachers are busy people so we set deadlines and apply penalties to encourage students to meet those deadlines so that we can assess the learning – it helps us manage our workload and day to day programming. It could also be argued that we use deadlines to teach students discipline and that in the real world they also have to meet deadlines. But consider the following:

  • If you apply and E grade (0%) for the student who does not hand up their work why do you do this? Do you apply any other grades for work unseen? For example would you give a B grade to a piece of work you had never seen? If not why would you give an E? According to the DECD A-E guide for reporting an E means:
    • Your child is demonstrating minimal achievement of what is expected at this year level – beginning capacity to apply knowledge, skills and understandings in a familiar context, beginning understanding of concepts and key ideas, initial development of skills, limited knowledge of content.

If this is what an E means then how can this grade be applied without seeing the students learning? An E or 0% will affect a students grade average which is unfair if the E is based on no actual evidence. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to record an NA against the part of the standard being assessed and wait until the student provides some evidence before assigning an A-E grade?

  • If you apply a penalty of 10% for every day a task is late is this an accurate assessment of the students knowledge and understanding? In this scenario the student may have achieved a B grade against the standard but ends up with a C grade due to late submission. Does this grade reflect the students ability or their behaviour?

Should a students assessment and reporting include late penalties or penalties for not handing in work at all? Are we accurately assessing and reporting against the standard if we also assess student behaviours alongside their knowledge and understanding? If students have issues with behaviours including organisation, meeting deadlines, work habits, attitudes and participation can’t these be covered in the section of the report that caters for these?

If a student submits no learning and continually gets NAs instead of an A-E grade then shouldn’t their final report also reflect an NA rather than an E grade?

3. Do you allow students to submit tasks that missed the deadline?

4. Do you allow students to resubmit tasks to improve their grade after the deadline has passed?

By not allowing students the chance to resubmit tasks are we discouraging learning? Does it matter how many attempts a student has to be successful in their learning? If the student wants to continue to learn and improve does the deadline stop this from happening?

We could argue that students will ‘game’ this system of re-takes and resubmissions. Knowing they have second chances allows some students to apply minimal effort during the first attempt and penalises those students who do apply effort the first time around. I would argue the penalty is applied to the student who is resubmitting. Trying to re-do a task in the their own time and keep up with the next topic/task is not easy and would require considerable motivation. The student who put in the effort initially will find managing their work load much easier.

How do I address deadlines and re-takes/resubmissions in my classroom?

Over the past year I have actively encouraged my students to resubmit work if they are unhappy with their grade or if they miss a deadline to persist and still submit the task. The following outlines what I do:

  • I have deadlines. I have consequences for not meeting those deadlines. The consequence for missing a deadline is that I require students to come in at lunch time to complete tasks. This means that when the task is finally submitted it is assessed against the standard without further penalty.
  • I tell students that if they want to resubmit a task to improve their grade they can do so at anytime before their final end of year report. If students wish to use their own time to demonstrate improvement in their learning it is my job to encourage and support this behaviour.

As mentioned above students who regularly miss deadlines have to complete their learning at lunchtime. I am still not as consistent as I need to be with this as other things get in the way. Lunchtime sports, yard duties, wanting to have your lunch in peace and quiet etc are all things that get in the way of this process. I apply it as best I can.

I don’t give an E grade to a student who fails to submit a piece of work I write NA in my marks book. If a student does not submit any evidence I cannot accurately gauge their level of knowledge and understanding to apply any grade. If students in my class continue to get NAs for tasks then their final report will also reflect an NA. This means that there was not enough evidence to assess the student and apply an A-E grade against the standard. It also means that the student did not meet the Achievement Standard for that subject/year level.

Resubmission is open to everyone, not just those who get Ds and Es. If a student gets a B+ or an A then they can also resubmit to improve their grade.

Do many students take up the chance to resubmit tasks? No. I don’t see this as a reason to change my practice though. During 2017 I had a few students take up the offer of resubmitting tasks because it would impact on their final grade. They demonstrated a motivation to improve and used their own time to re-do their work. This is a practice I want to encourage.

Teachers might say they have always been willing to accept a resubmitted piece of work but how many actively promote and encourage this idea with students? Do your students know this is an option?

How re-dos, retakes, resubmissions (whatever you want to call them) and deadlines work in one teachers class is not going to be the same as what works in another teachers classroom. The subject specific curriculum, the teachers workload, the teachers personal beliefs and school policies among other things will impact on what a teacher can or wants to do in relation to these issues.

 

Robotics at PBAS

As our STEM redevelopment gradually reaches completion we have been able to update our robotics kits to more current technology, reinvigorating our robotics program.

To cater for R – 12 and provide at least two different platforms for students we have purchased the following two robotics kits:

The Mindstorm kits will replace the old Lego RCX programmable robotics kits while the Sphero’s will provide a flexible robotics platform that can be used R-12.

Why Robotics?

The company Tactile Theory explains through their website the following reasons why robotics is beneficial for student learning:

  1. It’s a fun and hands on activity.
  2. Robotics can be taught at any level. The Sphero Sprk robots can be programmed using three different methods – 1. Drawing a line in the app that a robot will then follow. 2. Drag and drop blocks that contain code and 3. Use text coding like Javascript.
  3. Using robotics kits can assist with developing fine motor skills. Children are involved in manually manipulating sensors, motors, blocks, remote controls, gears, joints, switches, and axels (Lego Robotics).
  4. Robotics provides a base for teaching programming. A physical robot allows students to test out what works, and what doesn’t and have a better understanding of the importance of precise instructions.  Research also indicates that by starting children early in robotics, the gender bias in STEM subjects is decreased significantly.
  5. The teaching of robotics allows schools to address a variety of Government and education department initiatives including of the The National STEM School Education Strategy, the Australian Curriculum and the DECD STEM Learning Strategy.
  6. Robotics can assist students to learn skills that are applicable to future employment. Involving children in quality robotics programs can provide students with opportunities to be critical thinkers, innovators, collaborators and leaders while applying scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical principals.
  7. Teaching robotics assists with computational thinking. Recognising aspects of computation in the world and being able to think logically, algorithmically and abstractly.  Robotics can help develop computational thinking by teaching children how to “think like a computer” and use concepts of computer science to solve problems.
  8. Allows students to be creative. By allowing students to explore, experiment and investigate with robotics they can create their own programs, load them onto the robots and watch them perform the programmed tasks before their very eyes.

During our first days back in 2018 Jackie and Kelly are going to talk about the STEM training they undertook in 2017 (continuing in 2018) and take us through some activities using the Sphero Sprk robotics kit.

Leading Change: The Technology in School’s Podcast

If you are interested in educational technology, want to be inspired by ideas from other schools and understand better how to lead the implementation of technology in schools then this podcast is one you might be interested in listening to. This podcast while called Leading Change is not just for school leaders. The podcast discusses and shares what students are doing and how it has impacted on their learning and there is a lot to be gained by the classroom teacher who is interested in developing their use of technology with students. Episodes are approximately 20 minutes long.

A dynamic behind the scenes look at how school leaders across the Asia Pacific region deal with the rapidly developing technological age. Those leading the change take you on a passionate, inspirational and honest journey through the planning, implementation and evaluation of classroom technology. iTunes Description

I believe this Podcast is only available in iTunes. You can access it through the Podcast app by Apple or open iTunes on your computer and select Podcasts and type in Leading Change: The Technology in School’s Podcast into the search bar to download episodes.