Friday, July 2, 2021

Screencasting, blended and flipped classrooms

Blended classrooms and flipped classrooms were quite the fad for a time.  I've had a bash at both and find blended classrooms to be vastly superior to flipped classrooms, with neither more effective than standard classroom teaching with a whiteboard and text.  My interest has always been in underperforming students and ICT is one of the tools I use with them, typically not exclusively but as a part of a bigger solution and generally not for initial instruction. 

Where technology replaces a teacher, it usually fails abysmally to overcome engagement, gaps in learning and pastoral care issues that are the bread and butter of today's classroom.  

Despite this, I have produced over 200 5 to 10 minute videos over the last two years for students. Each might get watched 8-10 times per year. Speaking with a local publisher that came to visit, he asked why bother?  There are hundreds of teachers producing resources and few being utilised, where is the return for effort?  I didn't argue, but did smile.  I think on this I have cracked how this IT malarky is useful in the classroom.  It's not rocket science but has taken 13 years to realise.

Let me make this clear.  As the main teaching tool, first point of introduction to a topic, generally speaking, a video is a poor teaching tool.  For disengaged or students that lack the ability to learn independently, it is useless.  In both of these cases, intervention is required by the teacher to engage students before any meaningful learning can occur.

What it can do is address many of the secondary issues faced in a classroom and promote higher levels of success.

- Students that are absent due to illness have access to the learning for the day
- Students can use it as a revision tool prior to assessment
- Students can use it to revisit the material taught and gain depth to their understanding by re-examining difficult parts
- It extends the reach of a classroom by providing assistance outside of class time
- It improves my teaching as I have to think prior to presenting to the class how I wish to introduce the topic
- It can assist me recall from year to year how to best teach a topic

- It provides feedback on parts of the course students are finding difficult (more students tend to watch)
- It provides an avenue for having a second crack at teaching a concept when I haven't connected fully during class
- It provides avenues for discussion about how I teach and how a topic can be taught (particularly useful for working with new teachers)

- The assistance given to students is in the form that I teach (as opposed to tools produced by others) and in the form I will later assess to the level required by the WA Syllabus.

- Parents access the videos to ensure they are teaching using the method required to the level required.
- It is another avenue to show that I care about my students.
- It is an opportunity to revisit syllabus dot points 
- It removes student excuses for not completing or understanding work.

- It actively, repeatedly models how to deconstruct a text and use a worked example.


Addressing the publishers issue, if a video takes 10-15 minutes to create and only 8-10 students look at it,  it is a good use of time.  With 200 videos available, that's 800 individual interventions that would not have occurred otherwise.  Each successful intervention raises confidence and reduces disengagement (which can be important with students on the edge of disengagement).  

Intervention one on one during lunch time is a more common intervention, but much less efficient.  Even every lunch, 50 per term would only be 200 interventions.  If the recordings are utilised for more than one year that could double or triple their effectiveness.

It's important to realise that I say to students that they do not have to watch them (unless under covid lockdown and it is the only teaching instruction available from me) and they do not include all that is taught in class - it is a support for them, not a way for me to get out of teaching (avoiding the complaints being made about universities).

If you would like to see some of the work I have done, it's all on Youtube here and some on Prezi from the link on the right from a long time ago before my interval in admin.


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