Improving my flipped classroom through interactive videos

After reading Kara’s blog this past week I was inspired to look at my own flipped classroom and reflect on things I feel I am doing well and things that I could improve on. In her post Kara discussed 5 things that she wants to do to start running her own flip class and I am doing 3/5 things that she said she would like to do. I have students watch the video lessons I have created, I use bell work to review or assess student understanding and I allow for work time during class. Kara mentioned starting class with a quick Plickers activity so that she can easily assess how her students are feeling about the material, and allowing class time for “board work” in which students work through extension activities together. As mentioned in my comment on her blog, I feel as though I would use the board work from time to time just for the sake of time, but I would really like to integrate something like Plickers into the classroom so I can have ongoing assessment and reflection.

Kara got me thinking of some of the different hurdles that we come across as flipped classroom teachers. As I was looking into ways to better integrate technology and tools into the classroom for assessment purposes I came across an awesome review of a site called eduCanon – an interactive video creating site. After reading the review I decided that it was something that could add a lot to my flipped classroom. I decided to look into it some more and found out that the site has switched names and is now called PlayPosit. Basically what you can do is add questions to your videos so that students have to answer the questions as they watch the video, similar to EdPuzzle. It also has a feature in which students cannot fast forward the content to skip material. I think that this could be a really nice feature but it may also turn students off who might grasp the concept at an early stage or who may want to review the material at a later date. For an idea of how it works, check out this quick – but very informative – video.

Of course I had to sign up after watching the video. It was extremely easy to sign up and I got started right away to add a question to a video I have already created. The process was as simple as locating the YouTube video I had already created and adding the link to the dashboard on my PlayPosit account. From there I was able to locate the place in the video where I want a question placed. I add the question as well as the answers for students to select. It is my understanding that the free version only allows you to use multiple choice format for questions. One concern I had was how I would enter equations or formulas in the questions, but they have an option to insert equations and it took me a few tries to figure out how to use it but I was able to figure it out and add my question.

Screenshot of my question I added to the video

Screenshot of my question I added to the video

I see a lot of value in adding questions to the video that students watch for a few reasons. First off, I don’t assign a mark or a grade for watching the videos I assign. I give students a handout to work through as they are watching the video so it’s pretty easy for me to see who has or hasn’t watched the video based on who has the handout completed when they come to class. If students haven’t watched the video before class I don’t get too worried about it because they can use the class time to catch up on the video. I always remind them that the time in class that they are using to watch the videos is less time they have in class to work with me or classmates on the assigned work. Another reason I like the idea of integrating the questions is because I can see the results of the questions so it can help me see who may need more help. It is obviously important that the students are watching the videos too, so this keeps them a little more accountable. I plan to integrate more interactive videos but that won’t change the way students are assessed. The feedback I get from student responses in the video will be used for me to identify students who may need more help and to address student needs accordingly.

After spending some time using PlayPosit I had to compare it to EdPuzzle and I was quite surprised at the similarities. The platforms seem to be user friendly and both use the exact same equation editor. I think I will try to use a video from each website with my students to see how the feedback is gathered and documented and then I will decide which site I will stick with moving forward. In the screenshots below you can see just how similar the sites are.

I focused a lot on one aspect of my reflecting this week so I will try to quickly touch on the other areas I focused on. The first was setting up Seesaw and trying to get my students active on it. I challenged them via Edmodo to upload 7 videos before the end of the break – for the entire class, not per person. But sadly I only had one video that was shared by a student even after I tried to bribe them haha. However the video was FANTASTIC! The student did an excellent job walking through the question and explaining how she completed the problem. I am hoping it will encourage others to step out of their comfort zone and share their work too. screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-10-25-03-pm

Moving forward I would also like to try move my bell work to an app as opposed to paper as it will be easier for me to assess student understanding that way. As Kara suggested I like the idea of using something like Plickers to get a quick overview of how comfortable students are feeling about the content by asking a simple “How do you feel?” with responses such as “Don’t get it”, “Sort of Get it”, “Completely Understand”. The final thing I want to work on is my video lessons as the quality still isn’t where I want it to be, although it is getting better.

I don’t think I will ever have a completed flipped course because there will always be ways that I can improve even in small ways such as updating my bell work from using paper to using technology. It is important for me to stay up to date with new ways to improve my courses – flipped or not.

Have you tried a flipped classroom? What are some ways that you assess student understanding or address students not watching videos? If you have any tools to share I would love to hear from you!

A medium for me, a medium for you.

I’ve finally managed to pull myself away from reading all the awesome blogs posted this week. I found it so interested to read the varying opinions on different media and preferred media when it comes to learning and teaching. I found that I was able to connect with a lot of classmates on some or many different ideas.

Photo Credit: Dane Vandeputte Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Dane Vandeputte Flickr via Compfight cc

Just like Liz and Kelsie I have to admit that I lean more towards text as a medium in which I prefer to learn from. Bates provides strong evidence as to why text has proven to stand the test of time. I liked that Bates commented on text as as essential medium for academic knowledge.  He mentions that text can provide us with more detail and I immediately thought about how we compare the book to the movie. I have yet to see a movie that is better than the book and I would bet that many of you feel the same way. This is because the book can express details relating to emotions, settings or experiences better than a video can.

One reason I like to learn from text is because I have the ability to go at my own pace and read it over as much as I need in order to understand. I prefer to have paper text to read from so that I can highlight, make notes and write questions in the margins as I read. I find that this helps me remember and understand what I am reading more. I must admit that although I prefer text I do not consider myself a reader. I don’t think I have finished a novel for my own reading pleasure since 2012 – I know…that’s insane (and a tad embarrassing). But I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise after saying I’m not a reader.

Photo Credit: matsuyuki Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: matsuyuki Flickr via Compfight cc

In terms of audio I can see the plus to creating it and using it, especially for students who may have difficulty reading text. Like Jess mentioned in her blog, I can see how it could be useful in learning a language so that you can understand the proper pronunciation of the text, however this would have to be combined with text which might make it difficult for some to manage. I like that you can pause and rewind audio and the fact that it can be taken along with you to listen to with your phone or in your car. I personally can’t seem to jump on board with the podcast learning/listening. I find that it is too difficult for me to focus on audio only which brings me to my next topic, video.

Photo Credit: Pricenfees Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Pricenfees Flickr via Compfight cc

I believe that videos are a great tool for learning, especially when learning certain skills. For example, if you wanted to learn how to work a power tool, a video might prove to be a lot more helpful than a manual. In terms of creating videos it does take time and you need to have the right tools in order to create a quality video that will get the content delivered in an appropriate way. I use a flip class model for my math class and provide video lessons for the students to watch as homework. I like that students can pause and rewind as well as watch the video as many times as they want. I feel like this is beneficial to them especially when it comes time for a final exam and they are expected to recall information from the first chapter. With a video lesson they are able to go back and watch the video to help refresh their memory.

As with everything else the medium we choose will vary depending on the content we are trying to deliver. If the content is more skill based, perhaps a video showing the skill can be used. For language courses maybe audio is the best. Regardless of the medium used, I know that for me I have to be in the right frame of mind in order to learn. I would imagine that this is the same for our students. I don’t know if the medium will make a different if students have other barriers such as lack of sleep, hunger or emotional factors getting in the way. We need to be cognizant of all of these barriers when choosing the appropriate medium and be willing to adapt and be flexible for our students. The better we understand our students and how they learn, the better we are able to choose a medium that is best suited for their learning needs.

Perhaps the best thing for the classroom is to have multiple media available in order to give students a choice. I don’t often provide a lot of choice but when I do it’s usually text and video. Do you offer media choices? How do you do it?

Just do ink

App icon from the app store

App icon from the app store

I took the challenge of finding a new tool to work with this week and I choose to work with DoInk App. Although I knew there were green screen apps available, I didn’t know specific names for any apps. Thanks to Rochelle I was introduced to DoInk. It is available in the app store and can be purchased for $3.99 which I feel is a fair price for what you get. I downloaded the app on my iPhone 6 and feel as though it might have been nicer to work with on an iPad just because the screen is a little bigger to work with. The DoInk website has a lot of

Our green screen made from wrapping paper

Our green screen made from wrapping paper

I decided to jump right in before reading a lot about using the app or viewing the tutorials on the site. Before I could do anything I needed to create a green screen. There are many ways you can make a green screen and most are pretty affordable. I purchased a plastic table cloth from the dollar store to use but it didn’t work out the way I had hoped. The green wasn’t dark enough so our wall color was showing through enough that the app was picking up our grey/blue color. When it picked up the paint color the image that I selected for our green screen background would be very light and almost fuzzy. I doubled up the table cloth but it still didn’t do the trick. On a second trip to the dollar store I bought some bright green wrapping paper. This worked awesome! My only complaint would be the faint green outline that appears around the objects or person in front of the screen. But I suppose that’s what you get for a $3.99 app.

In terms of using the app I would say it is pretty user-friendly. I was able to figure out how to use it without watching the tutorials or reading the user guide that they take you through when you start up the app. I probably could have saved myself some time had I actually read or watched the app, but I’m all about experiential learning. After spending some time exploring their site I noticed all of the tutorials they have as well as some great tips that could be used for making your videos using the green screen.

To create the video I found an image on a creative commons search and took a screen shot of it so it was on my phone. I edited the photo so that it filled the screen and uploaded that to DoInk to use it as the background. My son used some of his Star Wars toys to play and make a mini movie scene. I imported the video into iMovie and added the audio as well as the rolling font. You can add text and draw on the video using DoInk but I wanted to add the audio and credits from iMovie.

From a teaching perspective, I don’t know that I would use this app a whole lot. It would be possible to create some fun video lessons, but I don’t see it as being very practical because it takes time to make and I’m not sure how good it would be at getting content or skills across to the students. I see this as being used for student projects. I think it would be a really fun way for students to present information, maybe create a newscast or make a trip around the world describing the different images being shown while dressed in character. Having students create videos of their own would fall into the constructivist and connectivist learning theories according to Bates. Bates also provides some criteria to consider when selecting videos to use:

  • it is short and to the point;
  • it is relevant to what you want to teach;
  • it demonstrates clearly a particular topic or subject and links it to what the student is intended to learn;
  • the example is well produced (clear camera work, good presenter, clear audio);
  • it provides something that you could not do easily yourself;
  • it is freely available for non-commercial use.

If you are making your own video lesson you would want to keep these tips in mind. Short and to the point is sometimes impossible depending on the skill or topic you are trying to teach. If you cannot keep it short and to the point it might be helpful to break up the video with some humor or integrated videos/images.

Have you ever created a video lesson? How did it go? What did your students think about it? And how did you create it? I’d love to hear from you.

I’m not an artist, but I could sure use this Canvas

After spending some time exploring different LMS this week, our group has decided to go with Canvas. Both Nancy and I have extensive use with Edmodo and after exploring Google Classroom last week we realized that it’s very similar so we didn’t want to go with that option. Andrew suggested we explore Canvas a little further and after some exploration, we decided to go that route. If you have never used Canvas, Andrew created a video demonstrating how to navigate the dashboard in order to set up you class. I’ve included that video below and you can read more about his thoughts on Canvas on his latest post.

When I started exploring Canvas I found that it was pretty user-friendly. I appreciated the classroom set-up checklist that was included when you start a class.  This takes you through setting up a class step by step. I found it to be really helpful and easy to follow. However, there were a lot of features that weren’t discussed in the guide that I missed out on the first time I explored Canvas. After reading Kyle’s blog it was brought to my attention that outcomes can be attached to the assignments or lessons you are adding to the class. I didn’t know that it was an option prior to reading his blog. After reading that I decided to look into the outcomes option to see how it works. Unfortunately, the outcomes that are already uploaded are American based so I would have to enter my outcomes on my own (which isn’t a big surprise, but would be nice to have the outcomes already loaded to select from).

This brief product video also taught me a few things, one of which is the ability to connect apps with the classroom you have created. I use Khan Academy to teach coding to my students in some of my technology courses so being able to connect that content to this platform is great. It eliminates the need for students to go to multiple sites in order to take part in the class which makes things a little more user-friendly for the students (and myself).

Canvas has a Commons area in which you can share courses as well as use courses that have been developed by other people. It is basically a digital library create by the users on Canvas. The courses seem to be built around standards and themes from the United States, but that is probably because those are the majority of the people sharing their work. It would be nice to see some more courses being added from people in Canada, more specifically Saskatchewan. Hopefully after this class we have a few courses that can be shared on Canvas. Another thing I noticed about the Commons area is that a lot of the courses are partially finished having only a few assignments or modules. The Commons area provides access to courses, modules, assignments, documents, quizzes and a variety of other resources.

Screenshot of the Commons Area

Screenshot of the Commons Area

I should also mention that I was shocked (in a good way) to receive a phone call on Friday at work from Matt at Canvas. He was simply calling to check in and see how my initial experience was and wanted to help answer any questions I may have had. He was able to answer the one question I did have at that time which was whether or not the student and teacher dashboards looked the same. He told me they look almost identical minus some menus that the teacher has to edit the course that the students don’t have. The reason they have it set up this way is so that there is little confusion going from one to the other. It makes it easier for teachers to help students if they need help navigating their course. I really like that it looks the same for teachers as it does for students. I was impressed that they took the time out of their day to call me and make sure everything was going well so far. I feel confident that if I have any questions help is only a call or a click away.

After reading Kyle, Logan and Liz’s blogs this week it is clear that I still have a lot to learn with Canvas. I’m looking forward to using this with my group to develop our course. I think it will be a great LMS for our project.

Developing an Online Digital Citizenship Course – The Beginning

Photo Credit: drpretty Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: drpretty Flickr via Compfight cc

I have to start by saying that I am pretty excited about the major project for this semester. We have been asked to create an online course consisting of different lessons, activities and assessments. This is something that has appealed to me since the start of my master’s program and I am hoping that I have some opportunities in the future to be a part of developing online content for our schools.

I am fortunate enough to work with two amazing teachers (Andrew and Nancy) who are going to join me in creating our first online course. We have decided to work with the Digital Citizenship Continuum  from within the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools document developed by our very own “Courobrandt” duo of Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt. The continuum focuses on digital citizenship and involves competencies for Kindergarten right through to Grade 12. The guide was developed to help K-12 teachers integrate digital citizenship instruction in the classroom. I highly recommend reading through the document, if you don’t want to read all of it, at least check out the competencies starting on page 56. If you are not familiar with digital citizenship, check out this brief video.

The competencies have used the concepts of Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship and include three broad categories:

  1. Respect – digital etiquette, digital access and digital law
  2. Educate – digital communication, digital literacy, digital commerce
  3. Protect – digital rights and responsibilities, digital safety and security, digital health and wellness

There are nine competencies and we will be fully developing lessons, activities and assessments for three of them for Grade 9-12. Each group member will choose one competency to develop based on personal interest.

Photo Credit: hitchinssamson Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: hitchinssamson Flickr via Compfight cc

The competency that caught my attention right away was Digital Health and Wellness: The physical and psychological well-being related to digital technology use. This focuses on developing an understanding that using technology inappropriately can hurt us both physically and emotionally. Physically through something like texting and driving, emotionally through overuse and addiction to technology.

The course that we will develop is cross-curricular and can fit into many other courses such as ELA, Information Processing, Psych, Social Studies and Health. Given the nature of the content it will be very relevant for all students because technology plays such a large role in their daily lives.

We haven’t thought a lot about the way we will assess and the tools we will use, but we have discussed using blogs, a wikispace (or other website), assessments using Socrative or Google Forms, Google Docs and presentation tools such as Powtoon and screencasts.

I know I haven’t given you that much information, but what are your initial thoughts about this course? Any suggestions that you have for myself or my group? At this point we don’t have a super clear vision of what it will look like but I feel like we have a pretty good start. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

 

The end is in sight…

Well the time has finally come…I’m taking my last class this semester and I’m looking forward to completing my degree. I’m happy to be taking another class with Alec & Katia and the class members who make the learning experience so valuable. It’s such an awesome community and I can’t wait to get this semester going.

I am a high school teacher at Regina Huda School specializing in business, technology and math. I have been teaching there since 2010 and I don’t have any plans to move anytime soon. I am a wife and a mom to two crazy, but amazing kids. I have a 3.5 year old boy and an 18 month old girl. They keep me busy but I know that they will be grown up and moved out before I know it so I try to soak up all the time I can with them and just enjoy the moment.

My family June 2016

My family June 2016

In my spare time (as if I have any right now)…but when I do have spare time, I enjoy keeping active by playing soccer, hockey and golf. I also like to run, but don’t enjoy running indoors so it seems to be a seasonal thing for me. I also love all things Disney and it is one of our favourite places to travel to.

My learning goals for this semester are to get a feel for developing an online course as this is something that I would be interested in doing in the future for the ministry. I am also hoping to do a better job connecting with my peers through twitter and blogging by checking in a little more often than I have in past semesters (it’s much easier said than done with a hectic schedule). I am hoping to learn about some new tools that I can use to create online courses so I can make use of them this semester and moving forward.

12 Weeks of EdTech – A Summary of Learning

Given that it’s the holiday season I thought I would have some fun and attempt to do a cover of a Christmas song for my summary of learning. I have done three summary of learnings before so I wanted to do something different and haven’t yet attempted a song so I thought why not this semester? I have to apologize as singing is not something that comes natural to me, nor is it something I do well. The background music didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to either. The music is quiet low and sounds a little echoey, but I honestly tried to record three different ways MULTIPLE times and this is the best quality I could come up with. If it’s too painful to watch feel free to skip through to the last 15 seconds where the 12 weeks counts down. Please also keep in mind that what EdTech taught me each week is not done in chronological order for obvious reasons. It was too difficult to make it all go in order and make sense, but regardless of the order I hope you enjoy my little song (singing aside).

In case you missed all the lyrics for each week, here it is:

Twelve weeks with you guys
Eleven ways to connect
Ten awesome blog posts
Nine classroom tools
Eight tools to assess
Seven grand presentations
Six assistive tech tools
Five classes with Alec
Four learning theories
Three types of web
Two different realities
And a collaborative experience online

Obviously I learned a lot more than just the list of items that I gave you in my song. I want to discuss some more of what I learned this semester since the song just doesn’t do it justice. We covered a lot of topics and had some awesome presentations this semester. There was some overlap in the topics which made it seem a little less overwhelming and easy to see how a lot of Ed Tech topics relate to one another. Here is a summary of a few main ideas from this semester.

Learning Theories
Technology allows us to use four different learning theories: behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism and connectivism. Although each theory can be used, most technology lends itself to constructivism and connectivism the most. Using different websites and apps such as web quests or genius hours lend itself nicely to the constructivist approach in which students are building on knowledge and making connections between what they are learning and the real world.

Blogging, and Skype are excellent ways to connect your students to others outside of the classroom and learn through the connectivism approach. Whatever learning theory is being applied we must always think of our students. Behaviourism and cognitivism are more teacher directed, one-way learning and connectivism and constructivism allow the students to build knowledge and direct their own learning. When choosing which technology you want to use, be sure to think about the learning theory involved and how that will impact the learning of the student.

Tool Selection
The tools that we use greatly impact how students learn, how we teach, what we teach and how we assess. Before we decide which tool to use we must always think about the message that is being sent through the medium we are using. What type of learnings are benefiting from the tools we are using? Which type of learners are falling behind? We also need to consider what the purpose of the tool is. Are we using each tool for it’s intended purpose? Are we going beyond the simple cognitive or behaviouristic learning methods?

Technology also allows us many opportunities to assess our students learning but how can we ensure that our assessments are valid? Many assessment tools offer multiple choice or true/false questions. The issue with these types of questions is that they are usually surface level questions and don’t question deeper understanding. Students are also able to guess with some of these questions. Does guessing really show us what the students have learned? It is crucial that we are evaluating the tools and consider the message that is being sent using the tools that we are selecting. We must always be questioning and evaluating the purpose of the tool. This is a great article to read if you need guidance for integrating technology effectively.

Both teachers and students (but especially teachers) have to know how to seamlessly integrate technology into teaching and learning

Advantaged Vs Disadvantaged Students
In all of our presentations we discussed who is advantaged and disadvantaged when we use technology. This is an interesting concept to think about because it boils down to the perspective you are looking at it from. If we start by looking at socio-economic status (SES) it is clear that a divide exists between those who can afford technology and those who cannot. We need to work at bridging this gap and allow those who are disadvantaged to have the same opportunities within our classrooms. Perhaps if students do not have devices to work on at home they get priority over those who do when using technology in the classroom. Whatever the scenario it is important to attempt to level the playing field in regards to access to technology.

Another perspective we need to think about is those who are at a disadvantage because of a disability whether it be physical, emotional or mental. For some of these students assistive technology can greatly impact their learning and make things more equitable for them. We must ensure that other students and parents do not think that the student using assistive technology is being given the upper hand. The reality is that if they didn’t need the tool, they wouldn’t use it. There are stereotypes and labels that are associated with students who use assistive technology. Often times students who use these devices feel as though they are singled out and “different” because they need additional support from the tool. We need to work towards eliminating these stereotypes and labels.