I was asked by Tanya Avrith (@edtechschools) for some graphics to illustrate the new approach to teaching young people in the 21st Century and how the source of information and how we build knowledge has changed. I thought I’d rework them into a poster (as I normally do and post it. Here it is:
The Magic of Bringing Information to life.
I’m assuming you’ve seen at least one of the eight Harry Potter films. In the films, one everyday magical experience is that photos are always moving as if they were video screens, even though they are ‘printed’ on paper. Newspaper photos act out the news event as film too, whilst you walk down the road reading. It seems so magical and yet, like so many things these days , there’s an app for that!
The Aurasma App (free) allows you to create what’s known as Augmented Reality (Real life with extra info added)
Here’s a great intro into the world of Augmented Reality.
And here’s Aurasma’s own demo video of it in action:
Before I take you though how to make your own, let’s look at the potential uses for learning.
Lets start with possible posters on the walls around your school or classroom that come to life and
- welcome visitors and introduce the school.
- animate mathematical problems being solved.
- explain how to use school equipment (useful in my technology or science classrooms)
- bring famous people from history to life with students acting out their most famous moments or words.
- explain famous paintings on demand
- introduce apps with demos of students using them.
What about the school newsletters? Every photo could be the first frame of a video and showcase performances and sporting moments.
What about worksheets or project introduction sheets that come to life and guide the students through the process.
The possibilities are endless! The idea that all those posters that have been unnoticed on classroom walls for decades could now offer a real interactive experience on demand is really exciting!
Getting started with your first “Auras”
Below is a step-by-step guide but here are the essentials:
- Record a video using the iPad’s Camera or animation app like iMotionHD.
- Pause the video on the first frame to grab a screenshot of it for the poster
- Make a poster using your screenshot and add words, titles and the Aurasma logo to indicate it being interactive but also to make the poster’s layout unique enough to be recognised by the app.
- Run through the process in the guide below of adding the video to Aurasma and taking a photo of your finished poster as the ‘trigger’ image.
- When finished, name your aura and add it to a class / school channel within you free Aurasma account. This will make it public for the students to subscribe to in their Aurasma apps and so interact with all the posters in the class / school.
I will have a fun 2014 with this app. Here’s the guide: (PNG links to PDF)
And thanks to Serena Davies (@serenadavies1), here’s the info in Welsh!….
Twitter is the simplest system available to interact with the web and share resources. Twitter is built into the iPad’s operating system and so an account allows you to share any photo, website or resource immediately without fuss. Its system is the opposite to Facebook and expects you to operate numerous accounts for different purposes. Once you have something to share, the iPad will allow you to pick which account to Tweet with and thus which group will receive it. Below are 3 account ideas for how iPad teachers can get the most from Twitter.
@EDUCATOR – Tweet as an Educator
The first account is your ‘Educator’s’ account (mine’s @iPadWells) with which you interact with other teachers and share resources. This is the account you build your personal learning network with and discuss matters and ideas with other educators. Here’s a list of the benefits and uses for this account:
- Follow other like-minded teachers doing exciting things.
- Follow the world leaders in education to inspire your pedagogy and approach to teaching.
- Ask teachers directly how they achieved success in their classroom.
- Share your own teaching resources and inspire others.
- Share photos of good practice and successes in your classroom.
- Share useful websites, video links that have inspired you.
- Follow your subject’s multiple hashtags such as #EngChat for English teachers.
- Follow the weekly chat hours for teachers in your geographical area or school subject such as #EdChatNZ for New Zealand teachers or #1to1TeChat for 1 to 1 device teachers.
@TEACHER – Tweet as a classroom teacher
Create an account for your classroom activities with your students. Use this for quick, live sharing of photos and and resources to the kids you teach. It’s important to remember that it’s available to the whole world but can be useful for creating a live news feed of the work going on in your classroom. This account is separate to your professional connections so as to not annoy other teachers with day-to-day classroom activity. Here’s a list of classroom uses:
- Take photos of good student work during any day. Sets example to others.
- Share a new resource or website discovered during the day for students to try or read.
- Share websites and video links for class preparation and future lessons.
- A Dropbox account allows you to instantly share links to your files too. Great for those last minute things you forgot to pre-upload.
- Senior students can use this account to ask extra questions directly after a lesson either publicly or privately.
- A class or topic #Hashtag can instantly create a discussion group.
- Senior classes can set up small group accounts with which they can easily blog their progress with all 4 or 5 students logged-in and sharing their team’s project.
@Dept – Tweet as a Department or School
This is something I’m just setting up now. All the staff in my department (15 Tech teachers) can now publish the successes as a department. This works well for many schools but I think it’s going to be useful to present my subject of Technology as a team effort and as such, create a stream of examples for both the students and the staff to see. It will be important though to make staff aware of issues regarding privacy, spam and general good social media conduct.
Here’s the list of ideas so far:
- All colleagues get to see best practice within the same department / school. This is great for starting professional conversations in the staffroom.
- Parents can follow if they have their own account or just view the account’s web page to see great work completed or in progress,
- Students get to see what’s going on in your area of the school and this helps future choices of subjects and careers.
- The best work in one classroom can inspire those next door.
- Announcements that effect more than one class can be given using this account. Good for trips and deadlines and last minute changes.
The whole iPad is now designed to be the perfect management tool for organising these 3 streams of information as you go through your day. Activity on one account can influence what you do with the others. The Twitter system is simple and a great start for those new to iPadding or professional use of social media. It doesn’t have the considered organisation of running a website or blog but for minute-by-minute live updates and interaction with like-minded individuals, it’s perfect! Connect your accounts within the iPad’s settings and connect your teaching with the world.
Here’s the summary Poster (PNG links to PDF with links)
VIDEO IS THE NEW PEN! (…and it’s mightier too!)
The thought makes many people think the world has ended but for 21st Century kids, videoing their thoughts and creations and experiences and then publishing it to the world is as easy as picking up a pen. In fact, most are more likely to have a device ready to film, edit, add subtitles and music than a pen or pencil. I like to think we only ever used pens because we didn’t have a video camera in our pocket, sorry if that upsets anyone. For example, my kids do write poems but performing them as videos makes them really think about the effect their words have on an audience.
MANAGING THE NEW PEN’S SCRIBBLINGS (How to manage all the video)
The new issue that everyone in education is how to manage and share all this video content. I have all my colleagues and students uploading to the same account. The teachers use this one account for videos:
- Recorded by their iPads
- Recorded by Student iPads (Teacher Logs-in, uploads, logs-out)
- Explain Everything (App) whiteboard lessons
- Video tutorials for practical tasks
- Youtube videos discovered on Youtube itself and added to course “Playlists”
This allows the teachers to manage all the videos from one place. It also helps them share ideas and showcase work between classrooms. Here’s a 3-page outline to how we do it using Youtube’s management tools.
I recently became head of a large enough department that centrally organising media and resources as a department has become more important. It’s also nice as the manager to see this organised media to get an overview of what’s being taught. The starting point is to setup a department Google (gmail) account. This account then operates many systems for sharing files, videos and pictures. All the staff can then permanently log in to several apps and systems and load, share and view the department files at the touch of a button.
Flickr allows the Google login and offers brilliant editing and organising tools for photos. The album sets can be used for either courses or topics. They can then be embeded in your school LMS systems or any website as a slideshow. I run a weekly update on a class’s project work by simply taking the photos of work with my iPad and uploading them into the existing course album, knowing they will appear in the schools Website/LMS. This is a great solution of your school systems don’t do iPad uploading particularly successfully. Because the uploading is easy, staff are more willing to do it and:
A) The HOD gets a regular update of activity.
B) Student work is showcased more often
C) Marketing the courses becomes much easier.
Youtube is well known but with all my department’s iPads permanently logged into by all teaching staff, videos of student work, video lessons, and course playlists start to appear much more readily. The iPad’s camera, iMovie and most other video apps will stay logged in and upload immediately, including Explain Everything (Whiteboard App). See my Help Docs like this one or this one to get more setup information.
Many school servers are difficult to access from iPads and sharing files across the department without lots of emails is challenging. Dropbox is a solution that works well on iPads and shared folders are easy to setup and free. Using the Department Gmail account you can setup a free department Dropbox account and use it to share folders will all the department staff’s own dropboxes. This makes sharing any type of file between iPads much easier as the department folders appear in everyone’s dropbox and nearly all apps will send material and files to the Dropbox app to share with the department.
Shared documents for group editing. The creation of Department policy docs, for example, is often a shared duty for a number of department members. With the same Department Google account, you are offered Google Docs (Online Office apps). The new Google Drive app now edits Google Docs and Spreadsheets on the iPad. This is also good form recording Meeting minutes and agendas.
IPads in classrooms offer such a new learning environment that they demand a shift from the idea of students being passive receivers of learning and demand real engagement and learning ownership by the students themselves. However, even the original 90s design of the Flipped Classroom designed by pioneers like Eric Mazur is still teacher centred. Although students are individually watching the video lessons in their own time and at their own pace and then arrive in class with more specific questions, the approach is still driven by the teacher and focused on the linear course of study that the teacher designs to start at point A, travel through to point Z and then sit an exam in that specific content. This is the Flipped Classroom that receives attacks from teachers as just “lecturing in disguise.”
This original version of Flipped Classroom is an improvement on the one-size-fits-all traditional lecturing but does not encourage students to take full responsibility for their learning. It still demands that every student follow exactly the same linear path through fixed content and pushes the idea that to learn, you must follow your teacher.
This is not how I have Flipped or why I have Flipped.
I have all my teaching of both concepts and skills videoed so the students are free from a linear, fixed path and can get on with exploring larger projects of their own design, knowing everything is there when they might need it. The students work on at least month-long projects, which demand real-world focus and problem-solving. The students design their own projects within criteria that I design that keep expectations high. These projects, for example must be managed in a professional sense.
If I was an English teacher (from the quality of my writing, you can guess I’m not), I would video my teaching of writing techniques, themes, composition and writing narrative using examples etc. The students would then start writing and publishing online as quickly as possible. They receive informed feedback from their fellow students comparing elements with the examples in my videos. I could then just monitor the discussion both in the classroom and online. I would then point individual students to specific videos based on either their work or feedback, if I felt they didn’t understand an idea or skill. The students could then develop quality literature, poetry and articles and collate the work together in digital books, blogs or even publish to Amazon. This personalised approach makes writing seem more real and meaningful. Teamwork’s also made much more significant when students are in the driving seat.
Removing the traditional class teaching from the process is still important as it frees up time for both teacher and student, allowing everyone to get on with in-depth, creative projects that are driven by personal interests. Any exam or test material is covered by the videos and students can request one-to-one tutorials on lesser-understood topics if needed. My exam results are much improved whilst the students’ class time is much more engaging. I even allow the students to manage their own time and do not demand that they use their Computer Science 50 minute period to work on Computer Science. If they’ve got important physics work to do, they do it. They know when my project deadlines are and stick to them.
Flipped teaching is crucial in giving time back to the students to get on with more creative work but should not be seen as just simply a twist on the traditional teaching model. The student output should be of a high standard and should only reflect an understanding of the videos’ topics, not mirror them exactly. Specifically, no two students should ever produce the same output!
My version of Flipped is not a 20th Century teacher replacement but an opportunity for real 21st Century practice.
I teach to the exam. There, I’ve said it! After all, doesn’t everyone smile when the student gets an A grade? Isn’t graduating what’s life’s all about?
But what does A mean?
It means that when given:
- An exam date;
- A fixed list of topics and themes;
- Last minute, panicked revision;
- A table and paper in a large silent hall; ..the student can perform! Wow!
Thank God, life outside schools and every workplace is both silent, organised in straight rows and has no technology beyond the pencil! Thank God working life only means working alone within fixed boundaries. ….Oh that’s right, it’s not. And many of these A grade students prove to be useless when given any creative challenge in a real workplace scenario, something universities and employers complain about. Fortunately most develop many skills outside school that allow them to cope.
Solution: Make the exam the side-project
One joy of working in this crappy system of 20th Century factory education is that now with the Internet and video I can record each of my full-year courses’ exam lessons into about 4 hours! Yes, 4 hours and yes, it’s the full course of teaching! See this for details.
The direct teaching of the exam is now outside the classroom. I can ask them to complete an amount of the course by a certain date and check this with traditional assessment while they spend all the class time working on a related project of their choosing and design. If there’s a practical element to the course then all projects and time can be based on this practical work, within the context of a real-world scenario.
These projects can be long, the whole year for all I care! They can also work in groups if it suits. As long as the project is engaging for the student and they take real ownership over it. They should also set their own check points to monitor their own progress. Ownership, creativity and variety is what the iPad does best. Hopefully the project connects directly with the outside world directly. I like to pitch the possibility of making money in any area using the internet. For example, any student can publish a book for free.
Examples: (Off the top of my head)
- Biology: Produce a set of videos covering the relevant experiments to compile in an ebook to sell online.
- Geography: Film a documentary on the local geography for the school to use.
- Computing: Make $million with your first iPad app!!! (I heard the “Pocket Whip” app was making $30,000 a week and it doesn’t do much!)
- Mathematics: Learn how to produce a website of embedded web-based Maths tools that your peers need for the course you’re all doing.
- English: Publish a short story on Amazon that contains the same themes as X.
The important thing is that they are engaged in your subject and see the exam as an unfortunate extra rather than the whole reason for school. If they need to learn how to do something during their project, they find it themselves on the internet (this is what they should do, it’s what we do!) or if the teacher can help then great, as the teacher now has time to work one-to-one!
5 teaching classics I won’t be using next year.
Have you ever been to the cinema to watch a kids movie? A multi-million dollar Hollywood budget is not enough to keep every eye on the screen! So why would I bother to use this form of delivery with 30 teenagers? If they all need to see something then like “real” people do in the “real” world, I issue the link and they watch in their own time. Independent learners find it frustrating to be told to stop their schedule for something. Dropbox sharing and Twitter/Facebook Groups have replaced the need for me to project anything except, ironically Hollywood Film clips (copyright) but many can be found on Youtube and your school system might stream video files to the mobile devices…maybe? I don’t use film clips.
Homework is proven to damage family life but really there’s no such thing for mobile learners who manage their own work schedule. My results have been much better and of higher quality since I offered “Flexitime” to all my students. Learning objectives are set and a timeframe issued, end of story. Students enjoy the freedom and feel far more obligation to get the work done. It is now after all their work, not mine.
One-size-fits-all content delivery allows for no creative thought and makes no sense in a mobile world where information is everywhere, anytime. Worksheets as a control mechanism also only made sense in the factory model of education in the 20th century. If the content of 6 worksheets can be covered in a 3 minute documentary, directed and written by the students then…worksheets…really?
RestrictIng and not conducive to either creative or collaborative thought and process so….no textbooks. All school material is available online, so no need for them either.
Online, It’s also often more recent, relevant and entertaining too.
Talking content or concept to a whole class never includes or engages everyone in the room regardless of class age, intellect of character so ….no. All content delivery done through Flipped classroom setup to ensure 24/7 availability. I already have students watching lesson videos at midnight because…”that’s the way I roll, sir!” A discussion should be meaningful and to be so, needs to be with a small groups or one-to-one only. Flipping the classroom immediately gives the teacher and student a more meaningful learning environment.
I have discussed these ideas with colleagues and often when they try to argue, for example, that class discussion can work, we do eventually have to agree that there’s always one not listening and to say that most benefit is just not good enough. We are not employed to teach “most” of the students. In general, the overall idea that because we were bored and controlled at school, then current young people will be ok just isn’t going to work. Lets all start to learn and collaborate in the ‘real’ world we actually live in.
Yes, the Flipped Classroom (Video lessons watched before class time) is a fashionable topic but whilst there’s still chalk-and-talk together with standardised testing I feel I must continue to push it. And no, it’s not just chalk-and-talk in disguise. It creates a whole new learning environment for the student.
I haven’t taught a whole class for 6 months! All my teaching is now one-to-one and not surprisingly, my grades are soaring. In the classroom I only teach individual students the specific points they highlight as unclear after watching the video lesson and I monitor progress on the projects they’ve designed to prove understanding of the content. This I’ve done within a traditional exam-based school structure and have students who are not focused on grades but more on what they can best do with their time at school, especially now that the time is very much theirs not mine.
Flipping my classroom has changed my career. My job’s more fun, the students are happier and scores in the tests, I unfortunately still have to dish out, improved vastly and immediately. Although, be prepared for the students to be slow to adapt to the autonomy of running their own time, it might take 3 or 4 weeks to get fully engaged with managing their own education!
Why should all teachers flip their classroom?
Online videos should replace all whole-class teaching because:
- Not every student listens to teachers when surrounded by distractions
- Students understand at differing levels when lessons are one-offs
- Some students need the teaching at a different pace (both faster or slower) to what’s delivered in the classroom. (Solution: Pause and rewind video)
- Students generally concentrate when watching a video on their own.
- Some students miss the lesson in question and would never ask a teacher to repeat a lesson.
- Teachers moan about time pressure and this returns all lesson time to tasks and one-to-one follow-up (I’ve now got so much time, I’m not sure what to do with it!)
- Autonomy is returned to the student who can watch the lesson when it best suits their own schedule (teachers rarely allow for all the other commitments in a student’s life)
- Even whole-class ‘discussion’ (as apposed to teaching) excludes the shy, the bored, the under-prepared students.
- The iPad whiteboard allows for paused-recording-setup, meaning all the teacher’s time writing, typing, finding images, drawing diagrams, loading web pages & even thinking is removed from the final lesson and everything in the video seemingly appears on-demand. (I’ve reduced one annual course’s content delivery to under 4 hours!!!)
- With the teaching online, my students discuss amongst themselves in the online class forum, adding comments both in and outside the classroom, often solving each other’s issues without my input. My students are free to watch it at home or in class but can also use all the class time to prove understanding in a way that’s personally interesting to them. I set understanding goals but the output is all down to them.
- One-to-one explanation is superior to reading large amounts of written text and is more successful with the majority of these Generation Y and Z students. Some teacher’s have told me they’ve “Flipped” already because they ask the students to read the textbook for homework. That’s just not the same and the teacher in question still does chalk-and-talk because he’s not confident the students fully understand from the prior reading!
So here’s my workflow for those who are interested
1. YouTube account (stores the videos with controlled access)
2. Explain Everything (iPad app for recording iPad screen as Whiteboard – it’s the best of this type of app available – See bottom of page)
3. A Learning Management System (needs to announce videos to class and allow for commenting / forum – I use Facebook groups with my senior students -see my Help Docs for FB setup)
Having a google/gmail account does automatically give you a YouTube account but you have to login to YouTube specifically to activate the video storage. So first login to YouTube using a Google (Gmail) account using a browser like Safari/Chrome/Firefox.
Now open the Explain Everything app.
Have a practice with Explain Everything. There are some features that take a bit of getting used to, such as:
- the pen marks become objects when you click on another tool and must then be deleted as a whole rather than rubbed out which you can only do whilst still drawing.
- Teach using a number of slides (like PowerPoint) as each slide is stored as a separate part of the recording meaning you can return to the lesson and re-record just slide 3, for example, if it’s reported as not being very clear. Then upload the video again with all the slides stitched together.
- Get used to hitting the Pause button. If you can’t think how best to say something, need a picture or need to draw something then Pause!
- Don’t worry too much about it being perfect. The students like the little mistakes so have a bit of fun!
There’s a few more things, so have a play.
STEP 3: Uploading the lesson
When you’ve finished the last slide in a lesson hit the Camera button in the bottom right-hand corner of Explain Everything and select Youtube.
Login using your Google account.
Name your lesson using a system like “YEAR/GRADE – TERM/SEMESTER – COURSE – TOPIC”. This will make organising videos with YouTube account easier later on.
Choose “Unlisted” to keep some control over who sees your lesson. DO NOT choose “Private” as this demands the student have a Google account and you have to individually grant each account access to the lesson!
STEP 4: Publishing to students
Once uploaded, click the button to “Copy link to Clipboard” and move to your LMS course page to paste the link for your students to access. (I use Facebook with most my seniors)
STEP 5: Your new classroom
Now consider a small number of tasks the students could attempt (if they can’t think of a project) to prove they understand the video or a number of videos. Examples include: making 3 minute documentaries, animations, even their own “better” Explain Everything video! These products can then also be posted on the LMS for peer review.
It’s amazing how easy tests become when the students have been this connected and autonomous with the content. These videos are then available all year and of course very useful revision the night before the test!
Should I use the ShowMe or EduCreations app to do the same thing?
My answer is No! There are a number of apps like these that send the videos to only their website for storage. They are hoping to become the one-stop video sites for education. The issue is that Youtube is known by all and accessible by all. Believe it or not, both the apps websites use Flash (unplayable on the iPad normally) and all students need the app to see the videos on their mobile device. Youtube means you retain control of who sees it, you know everyone can see it and this will require no further technical setup or app awareness.
It keeps things more simple and you can also just keep the lesson as a MP4 file on your computer. Another option not available on the other apps.