Tis the season of giving, and in honor of the holiday season, I am giving you the gift of highlighting educators’ use and insights for using TWO digital skills. I promise you that these skills will help make you and your elves (students) the talk of the snow globe – I mean school. 😉
December is a time when both students and teachers alike are able to showcase their creative talents to partake in yuletide festivities. Whether it be cutting out paper snowflakes, door decorating, or watching your favorite holiday movie, school activities during this time of year seem to get much more…well, merry! Although these types of activities provide a different spark compared to the typical school-day grind, we must be sure that they continue to create opportunities for student learning. One way of helping to ensure that student learning occurs is through the use of audio clips and interactive video content. For example, by using audio and/or video technology teachers can assist students in making personalized holiday greeting cards, or quiz students on Santa’s reindeer using annotated videos. The possibilities are endless! So sit back by the chestnuts roasting, drink your Ovaltine, and let’s see how educators in our SEEC schools are using A/V technology to help their students be both merry and bright.
What options are out there?
A common thread behind engaging in these skills heard from educators sharing their experiences was creating a flipped classroom for their students. A flipped classroom represents a blended learning approach where “students watch pre-recorded videos at home, then come to school to do the homework armed with questions and at least some background knowledge.” Of course, one of the limitations of having students watch videos outside of school time is making sure that students actually watch them. Cory Loveless, a math teacher at West Fargo High School, shared that “one of the problems with having a flipped classroom is that an instructor is not present to monitor the learning at home. There was no way to know whether a student had truthfully watched the entire instructional video and engaged with the content.” Fortunately, Mr. Loveless found a way to work around this issue by using a video hosting service called EdPuzzle.
“EdPuzzle allows for tracking the amount of video the student ‘watched’ and also can embed questions within the video to check for understanding, much like the formative assessment I use in my classroom.”
Jerry Schneider, Instructional Technology Coach at Fargo North High School and Ben Franklin Middle School, identified a variety of different tools that may assist teachers in creating a flipped classroom. He explained that creating a flipped classroom is a two-step process which involves first creating the video, and then sharing it with the students.
- Camtasia is a license-based service which costs $169.00 for a single user license in education.
- Screencast-o-Matic is a web-based video platform that allows users to create, edit, and share videos. On their free plan, users are able to record their screen or webcam for up to 15-minutes and publish to YouTube. On their paid plan ($18 for 1 year; $36 for 3 years), users are able to make longer recordings, record computer audio, edit videos, import music, and also publish to other locations (i.e. Google Drive, Vimeo Pro, Dropbox).
Alternatively, Mr. Schneider recommends other free recording websites and Google Chrome extensions which include Screencastify and Nimbus. If the video is already created, Mr. Schneider indicated that he uses EdPuzzle as his “go-to flipped lesson system” for creating lessons. He further explained that EdPuzzle is capable of editing videos that have been uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, and Khan Academy.
Outside of creating a flipped classroom, Patricia Donat, library media specialist at Discovery Middle School in Fargo, has used video as a means for teachers and students to share book talks and trailers for the books they are reading for her school’s iRead program. Every Tuesday, she sends her created videos to students, staff, and parents in their online announcements. Donat shared that there has been a variety of different video resources used in the creation of these talks and trailers such as Screencast-o-Matic, Green Screen video, MovieMaker, and in the future they will be using Animoto.
“Some teachers who also coach have used it when they are going to be gone for an athletic event and an AP Calculus teacher flipped her classroom when she was out on maternity leave, and it worked great!” – Schneider
“I’ve able to share videos with other classrooms and discuss the rubrics that are used to grade summaries.” – Loveless
When it comes to parent involvement, both Schneider and Loveless recommend informing parents about flipped classrooms and the homework associated with it beforehand. Loveless goes so far as sending out a short letter at the start of the year to parents explaining that “their student’s homework will look different than homework has looked in the past”, and also gives parents a brief tour of a flipped lesson at parent-teacher conferences. “There has to be buy-in from the parents as they can see their students watching the videos as part of their homework,” according to Schneider.
A word of caution from Schneider, “Flipped lessons have to fit the content and the students” citing that it might be more beneficial in settings with students that are more likely to complete their homework on a regular basis. Additionally, he suggests that “It is much easier for a class to start as flipped lessons and go back to the traditional method than it is to do it the other way.”
Is training needed to learn how to use these tools?
In his role as an Instructional Technology Coach, Schneider has conducted multiple training sessions (i.e. “Tech Tuesdays”) highlighting a number of tools, as well as met with teachers one-on-one, and even facilitated his own flipped lesson at the Metro Tech Camp through a virtual session. He even noted that the flipped lesson he presented at the Metro Tech Camp was created using a combination of Screencast-o-Matic, YouTube, and EdPuzzle (way to practice what you preach!).
Do these tools have a cost?
Schneider indicates that everything that he promotes is free, although premium accounts for enhancing video (i.e. Screencast-o-Matic) and lesson sharing (EdPuzzle) may incur additional costs. Depending on your need and situation prices may vary across different applications and services.
What changes have you seen?
Loveless noted that,
“My students seem to perform better and average assessment scores have risen about 5%. I have more time in the classroom to differentiate instruction and work through difficulties in understanding with students.”
Where can I see the use of audio/video in action?
- 10 Ways to Use Video in Education
- TedEd Lessons
- 5 Ideas for Integrating Video into Your Curriculum
- Simplifying the Flip: Tech, Tips, & Tricks Workshop!
- Additionally, if you are interested in learning more about the flipped classroom, Prairie Public is hosting a FREE in-person workshop (also available via live-stream) at 4 pm Jan. 30 at Prairie Public in Fargo. Simplifying the Flip: Tech, Tips, & Tricks” is geared for educators in grades 7-12 across all subjects. Click here for more details and to register!
Links to resources mentioned in article:
Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/
Google Forms: https://www.google.com/forms/about/
- 100 Videos and Counting: Lessons From a Flipped Classroom
- Flipped Classroom Guide
- 10 Tools for More Interactive Videos
- 3 Easy Methods to Create eLearning Videos
- 7 Unique Flipped Classroom Models — Which is Right for You?
- 4 Ways Audio Recording Can Boost Classroom Learning
- 5 Ways to Incorporate Video into Your Classroom and Instruction
SHARE your Story with Us!
This article is part of a larger article series focused on Digital Skills for 21st Century teachers discovered through an Infographic from EducatorsTechnology.com. Below is the schedule of digital skills that will be addressed each month. If you, or someone you know, is using technology effectively to engage in any of these skills, we want to connect with you and share your story! Email me at Chris.Thompson@k12.nd.us with the subject line “Digital Skills” and I will reach out and discuss how we can incorporate your learnings, best practices, tips and/or tricks into a future article!
- January: Curate, organize, and share digital resources
- February: Create engaging presentations
- March: Create infographics and posters
- April: Create digital portfolios
- May: Create Professional Learning Networks, connect, discover new content, and grow professionally.