Saturday, 12 April 2014

Teachit and their Video Training Day

I have just arrived home after a wonderful training day organised by Teachit. It ticked all the boxes, great venue, nice food, engaged audience and knowledgeable presenters.

In my future list of what makes a good CPD session I need to add 'timely'. Just the previous evening I was discussing flipped learning and getting a lot of encouragement.  (See below).

Prior to that I was being encouraged to use Aurama too. 

All of this is in preparation for the students at my school having to bring iPads to all their lessons as of September. I want to use this opportunity and I want to ensure that the parents don't feel they have wasted their money. So today's conference came at just the right time.

The day started as every truly great CPD session should with coffee and pastries!

We went into Joe Dale's session at 10.15 and were then organised into our subject groups. We were asked to get into groups of two or three. Joe wanted us in groups of this size because he wanted to ensure all participants had the opportunity to take part. 

We started by using popplet to create a storyboard of the film we were to make. I like this app, and it was a good idea to use it as the boxes (popples) are the right sort of dimensions to make you think about a screen. We decided on biology sampling techniques because we were in clifton and had access to the outside and bushes! We then searched the internet for images of things we didn't have because we didn't know to bring equipment, like an image of pooters.

Story boarding took about 20 minutes.

I really liked the idea of storyboarding. I think I would have done it with a class anyway, even without the experience of this session. I have been advised to by my OH. But I appreciated the chance to see how much detail you would want in a story board - not that much - and how it helps your thinking. I would be keen to make students stick to their story board when doing it with them. 

I also thought that he story boarding section of the activity would be great for giving students the opportunity to think before doing an experiment, and possibly help develop the skill of writing methods that we need to build before controlled assessments.

After that we went to film the bits we needed for the short video. We did feel a little silly, but Louisa who I worked with was a great sport and she was prepared to be filmed. I also took a few photos to be used in the film too.

Other groups found they took too much footage and at one point I took footage on my iPhone and then thought 'how will I get it onto the iPad?' I know there are ways, but it did seem much more straight forward to just use the one i-device for everything.

Once everyone had returned Joe gave us a quick tour of iMovie. It does seem pretty intuitive. From the point of view of teaching the students I think it will be more about showing them the possible outcomes and letting them workout how they could do it using the menus on the iPad. 

The editing was straight forward because we had a clear idea of the outcome from the storyboarding. The room was very noisy, so we left to find a quiet spot to do the voice overs. The editing took a bit longer and the session ended up overrunning slightly. But we didn't mind. One group grabbed coffee and returned to complete their movie. 

I can see that offering prizes for 'the best' video might not be productive as it could induce the students to be stressed and change their plan. I would want the video that gets across the message in a straightforward way. I will certainly consider modelling some good and bad examples before letting classes lose on making their own videos.

We also discussed the audience for the videos. (Feedforwardonline might be an answer to that?)

This is the video. If you are reading this and the link is gone - sorry, I may have to clear my youtube account out in the future. 

After the coffee break I went into a session lead by James Rolfe, Head of Science at  Judgemeadow School. This is when I was completely sold on the practicalities of making videos for use by students.

James showed us example video clips he made of demonstrations and explained how spending five minutes taking a quick video of himself demonstrating an experiment had paid dividends in terms of engagement, learning and behaviour. He found that student paid attention to the video, that they all could see, and that they took on board the advice and instructions in the clips. 

Sometimes he would ask a student to video him explaining in class too. Making the taking of videos fairly painless and quick. 

I think that I would get nervous and stumble over my words, but I imagine that after making a few videos I would get used it. I also get a bit paranoid over my accent. "Why aye, champion man" in the middle of a video would mean I would have to leave the students to watch unsupervised as I stand in the corridor and wait for it to be over! However, I am encouraged to give it a try the next time I do a class practical. (Year 9!)

James also showed us videos made by the students. No faces meant they could be shared with the world. The school has the iPods that the students use, and they have a science department dropbox account attached, so the videos can be uploaded from each device allowing the teacher to view them all. I can see how the videos that students make could help to spot misconceptions. 

Having been to a lot of literacy sessions about encouraging students to talk before writing I can see how videoing an explanation of the work that they are doing will really help the students to get their idea straight before having to commit their ideas to paper.

Before the end of the session we had a go at making a one-shot video clip ourselves. That is the clip at the top of this blog post. I can certainly see myself doing that more often. 

After lunch we went into a Q&A session, and then we discussed the resources that people might want to make that could be uploaded to teachit. Interestingly a lot of the discussion in the groups I was in (and I think in others) was about how a lot of the engagement achieved by using videos is from them being of staff in the school of those watching. This is something I want to consider as I make and use videos in class.

I am ver excited now by the prospect of the students having and using iPads in lessons. This is a CPD session that will have a big impact on the way that I teach. Thank you to Teachit, Joe and James.

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