Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My First Video!

By Mark Heintz

Last week, Christina Barnum taught a few teachers how to create videos for her Biology classes using the app Educreations.  It was another great example of how easy it is to make videos and the different ways to implement them in the classroom.  I have wanted for a few years now to create videos to help students learn the material. I keep seeing examples from my own students that reading at home or on their own is not the easiest way to learn history.

The book our district adopted is a challenge.  To be fair, I was on the textbook adoption committee and approved the book. But, I digress.  First, the books is at a college reading level.  Second, the book assumes the students have a great deal of back ground knowledge.  The book is great for students who know a lot of history, but almost all of my students are taking their first world history course. The students spend a lot of time outside of class trying to decode the text book.  No matter what pre-reading strategies are done in the classroom, it is still very hard for my students to comprehend the material.


To help the students at home understand the reading, I made my first video! It was on methods used by Europeans to imperialize between the years 1750-1900.  I used the software Screenflow.  It records your screen and can record you at the same time.  Using this software, I record myself while filming what is on screen.  I remember reading Paul Anderson's guide to video making who gave the advice of putting yourself in the video to make it more approachable.  I took his advice.


Overall, I learned a lot from my first video.  I spoke too fast and stumbled over words.  But, I love the idea.  The video is short and gets to the point. I made a few multiple choice questions to go with the video to have students self-assess their comprehension of their learning.   Now, I have the video forever. If a student is absent or is having difficulty understanding the material, they will be able to go back and re-watch it.  I have since made five videos in the past two days and am jonesing to make more. 

One last note.  Making the videos really was a self reflective process on what students need to know. I summarized the facts and story of history.  I feel like a true historian by pulling sources together to tell a story.  It is interesting to see what I leave out, include, and how I put the story together.  


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