During the Spring quarter in the Digital Education Leadership M.Ed. program at SPU we are investigating the ISTE Standards for Teachers. Our first module asked us to reflect on and investigate ISTE Standard 1. The standard led to the question; how can teachers use their knowledge of content, teaching, learning and technology to advance student learning, creativity and innovation in face-to-face and virtual environments? This question connected with a topic related to one of my posts from last quarter.
I thought it would be fitting to investigate how a teacher can use their knowledge of subject matter and technology to facilitate student learning using Google Classroom through video or screencasting.
Again I’m thinking about how well chosen video can aid instruction, provide direction even encourage reflection by students. In addition to video, I wonder if screencasts done by a teacher would lead to some of the same outcomes? Finally I wonder how a teacher’s use of technology might lead a student to reflect on their learning using the same technology, or through commenting on a video? Can student learning be advanced through these methods?
From my research it is easy to find advice on what tools to use to make screencasts or videos, or statements that say that instructional time is increased but data on student learning is harder to find. The idea that in a 1:1 classroom teachers could save instructional time by having students watch screencasts or instructional videos at home or at another time in order to avoid explaining procedures and directions does make sense to me based on my experience in an elementary classroom. However, it might take even more planning in a school without 1:1 devices. I don’t work in a 1:1 school, however through BYOD and computer or iPad carts it could be possible to move our 3:1 ratio up to 1:1 on certain days or at certain times.
So how does using a screencast or video in Google Classroom relate to instruction? One piece of advice that is often repeated by an instructional coach at my school is that the lesson is just an invitation. That is good advice, it is always good to remember more teacher talk does not necessarily lead to increased learning. With that in mind I think that using a screencast or a short video to give instructions or possibly a series of directions could in fact benefit a student’s understanding. Even creating a lesson recap, which I will talk about a bit later, would support the idea that students don’t have to be with me at all times in a lesson to further their conceptual understanding of concepts. Suppose an ELL is able to go back to and replay directions as needed? Wouldn’t that give them additional time and chances to process the language which might lead to an increased understanding? Obviously other scaffolds are needed, but repeated exposure is a start.
Related to my use of Google Classroom, I am specifically interested in cataloging video within the stream. I have begun using classroom in one subject area in my day in an intermediate elementary classroom, but I’m finding that the stream is becoming difficult to navigate for students. I came across a post by Alice Keeler that might help to solve my problem. In her blog post she suggests creating an additional class to use purely as a video resource. The class can be called a video library so that students know exactly what they will find in that stream. There she suggests posting videos for instructions that are about 30 seconds in length and linking them to assignments in the other class. 30 seconds! That seems tough, but it makes sense because she adds, even in a 1 minute video it can be tough to find that one spot. If I’m talking about ELL students again how much more difficult would understanding become for them within a longer video. She also suggests creating a playlist of videos to explain a larger concept, or a set of directions with each video being under a minute long. A couple takeaways for me are to create shorter videos for instructions but also to create shorter videos to explain content. Another related support for navigating the classroom stream is the ctrl + f function. In trying to find a way to search the stream I found that there is not really a way to do that yet apart from ctrl + f. This is a topic that could be taught to students and recorded in a screencast to help them navigate more efficiently. The Google product forums are a great place to look for advice related to the use of Google Classroom.
Another idea for using video or screencasts to introduce new concepts or recap previous lessons. This approach can help you flip your classroom which allows for an increased amount of rigorous or collaborative work to be accomplished during class (Fiorentino & Orfanidis, 2017). I think of teachers in my school who are asking students to complete complicated multi-step projects over an extended period of time, similar to what we read about during this module challenge based learning (CBL), project based learning (PBL) or design thinking processes, they could begin to integrate Google Classroom as a way to post directions through video, text or screencast to allow students to focus on difficult or collaborative tasks while at school, instead of taking time to read or listen to directions. Directions could even be shared in advance and watched for homework.
In my school I think that many teachers are inspiring student creativity in many different ways. I’ve seen teachers engaging students in a poetry unit that culminates with a poetry slam where students present their own original poems to a wide audience of parents, staff and community members. I’ve also see a unit about Greece culminate with Greek days, where students try to replicate the ancient Greek culture and engage in some of the oldest olympic events as a grade level tracking their performance and comparing results as a class. Finally I’ve seen students in my school take their learning around simple machines in science and culminate the unit by building Rube Goldberg machines using a combination of simple machines. Many of these projects would definitely fit into the CBL, PBL or design thinking processes. I wonder if any of these teachers have used these processes to complete these projects? If not, would any of those frameworks improve their projects? Maybe some professional development focused in those three areas would allow teachers to get even more out of the amazing projects they have created. Perhaps focused integration of technology would lead to increased student learning or understanding. In the very least teaching students about how they can use video to record and improve upon their design processes would begin to use some of the 21st century skills that they will need to be successful in the workforce. It is even possible that if teachers use Google Classroom to present their projects it could increase efficiency and lead to greater outcomes for students.
Teachers can make videos or screencasts to support content instruction, minimize whole class directions, or to encourage reflection during and after instruction or throughout the process of PBL, CBL or design thinking processes. Students could also make videos or screencasts as a way to demonstrate learning, especially after a unit. These videos and screencasts will likely lead to increased understanding by students. I am still looking for definitive evidence to support the idea that reflection through technology would advance student learning but it seems like something I could investigate in my own classroom through the use of commenting within Google Classroom, or video reflection. Instruction that is implemented through Google Classroom frees up the teacher to work with struggling learners or to check in with students for an extended period of time as they explore a concept in class. Finally through media students can access the content of the classroom from anywhere at any time which would allow for more collaboration or exploration in the classroom leading to increased learning outcomes.
All of this leads me to believe that a logical course of action for my classroom is still to encourage students to find academic content on YouTube. Then I will post those videos within my Google Classroom stream that is specifically dedicated to video and link those assignments in my original classroom. Then continue to create my own content related videos or screencasts. I will also use videos and screencasts to teach students how to use the Classroom stream more efficiently and as a recap to lessons that are taught in class. Eventually I would even be interested in creating a flipped classroom if only in one subject as a starter in my elementary classroom. I see all of those concepts as supports that will aid in student understanding. Ultimately I think all of those supports will lead students to become more creative in their demonstration of learning as they see how I use video in new ways. Finally, I will encourage students to reflect through comments or through their own videos that they will in turn post in our Google Classroom stream which will lead to the collaborative construction of knowledge.
Brown, P. (2016, February 17). 7 ways to spark collaboration and imagination in your classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-02-17-7-ways-to-spark-collaboration-and-imagination-in-your-classroom
Fiorentino, J., & Orfanidis, D. (2017, March 14). New G suite apps to boost your effectiveness. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/new-g-suite-apps-boost-effectiveness-jacqueline-fiorentino-danielle-orfanidis
Harmon, E. (2016, November 1). Searching within the classroom stream [Public]. Retrieved from https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/google-education/pK3Y5HItlMs;context-place=topicsearchin/google-education/searching$20within$20the$20stream
International Society for Technology in Education. (n.d.). ISTE Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-teachers
Juliani, A. (2013, January 23). 10 commandments of innovative teaching. Retrieved from http://ajjuliani.com/10-commandments-innovative-teaching/
Keeler, A. (2016, August 29). Google classroom: Video playlists in a video library [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://alicekeeler.com/2016/08/29/google-classroom-video-playlists/