Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bringing Your Teacher Home

Every teacher has probably hear this from a student at some point in their career, "I understand it while I'm in class, I understand once I leave the class, but once I go home to do my homework, it's all gone."  I know I have heard it multiple times.  It's heartbreaking.  You feel like well at least I'm getting through to the student in class but why are they not getting any of it once they leave.  I knew that I needed to do something to alleviate this problem.

Well, unfortunately I can't go home with the students and sit with each one while they do their homework.  But maybe I can.  After attending Edscape 2012 at New Milford High School (the school I work at), I learned of a free application for the iPad called Educreations.  When I open the app, it turns my iPad into a whiteboard that has recording capabilities.  So what I can do is, record short review lessons of the material taught in class. The students can then watch them at home to assist them with their homework, study for a test, or just solidify what they know.

I have gotten much positive feedback from my students.  They even ask occasionally for a video to be made about a topic discussed in class.  They also love the fact that if they miss something I say, they can now rewind the video to listen or see something again.  Also they don't have to worry about missing anything when they go to the bathroom, because they could pause me too.

Its unrealistic to believe that students will absorb everything they learn in a day.  Each kid goes through 7 or so classes a day.  That's seven or more topics they need to learn, understand, and master by the next day...and they're all different subjects.  Taking notes are great and re-reading them are great.  But if there is something missing from the notes or the student doesn't understand what's written they need other help.

At first glance, making these recordings seems like it would take up a lot of your time.  However, it really doesn't.  The video only takes at most 10 minutes to record.  Once recorded, it's uploaded to my account through educreations.  I can then copy and paste the link for it on any website for the students to access.  They also make it easy for me to embed onto my class website.  I also tweet it for the students to see.  Embedding, copying and pasting only takes about 5 minutes to do.  So in reality, if I spend 20 minutes preparing and sharing a video, it's a lot.  Also, thanks to our Principal, Eric Sheninger's implementation of a PGP period (2-3 periods a week where teachers get time to themselves to create, implement, and research innovations to enhance their work) I have plenty of time during the week to create and share my videos.

I am fully enjoying making these videos.  They are helpful for my students, not at all stressful for me, and fun to share with everyone.  Now,through educreations, I get to go home with my students, help them with their work, and they don't even have to feed me dinner.

Sample of one of the videos: