Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Final Project

My final project for this course was to utilize an area of technology I had yet to put to use. My document camera has been a wonderful piece of equipment that has been in operation from day one this year. However, the only way it had been incorporated into lessons was having kids show their working/thinking/reasoning, or having me use it to illustrate a technique (live) for completing a task.

We are teaching science this year through the FOSS science system, which is an inquiry-based approach with lots of hands-on activities for the kids. My hope was to be able to take advantage of the technology here and make short video clips to demonstrate the method for experimental set-ups.

There are tremendous advantages to this. Many lab practicals are full of steps and details and it can be a challenge to ensure that the students understand all the steps and end up with the correct set up. Teaching multiple classes means saying the same thing over and over - in the case of grade 7 and 8 science teachers at ISB they may repeat this 4 times in one day with different classes!

So I genuinely looked forward to being able to produce these short clips. In some previous efforts to embed technology into the classroom, I was stunned to see how much time was required to make use of this; for example, hours of work resulting in a clip of only a few minutes long. A few days ago, I decided I would see if it was possible to use the document camera and make a worthwhile clip relatively quickly.

With 45 minutes before my class was to arrive, the parameters were set: attempt to complete my goal, and embrace 2.0, or go back to "old school" teaching and have the kids listen to me drone on while I flutter several pieces of equipment past their noses.

I was staggered. Within ten minutes, I had made a short clip that was of a reasonable enough standard to be used immediately. I played it to the kids, and at the end of the 2 and half minutes I fired questions at the class to check for understanding. To my jaw-dropping amazement, the level of comprehension appeared near-perfect. The kids had got it. Totally. I was anticipating showing it again, or even reviewing the procedure verbally myself to reinforce, but it was unnecessary.

The next step was to watch the students as they went about their business. Everything proceeded smoothly.

In previous years, I would need to field a few questions from groups, and sometimes kids would still be completely confused as to what they were trying to achieve. I believe it was the power of the visuals giving the kids the whole picture, from start to finish so that they REALLY understood what they were doing; they were then able to use common sense to complete the task efficiently and effectively.

1 comment:

  1. You are a superstar! And now you can use this video again and again, and put it in PantherNet just in case your students need to access it from home. Love it!