Saturday, June 30, 2012

One Skill for Teachers

This week I promised my students that I will do as I asked them. Come-up with something I have not done before. True to my promise and to my own thinking about use flipped classrooms I came up with a within class activity focused on making a short instructional video. I presented some options using the iPad including using the front facing camera, the ShowMe app and a few other great options. The assignment was simple. Think of the most important strategy you taught your student this summer, design a short video reminder of it and shoot it in one take (two at the most). No editing, low expectations.

The response was stunned silence followed by "do we really have to?'s". I was a bit surprised, almost every teacher in the group said "I do  not like my voice". I get a similar reaction when I ask everyone to draw. Every student hesitates, apologizes and does her best to find a way to avoid the task. Making movies was along the same lines.

Part of it is the fear of the complete product that will be there to be judged without our ability to mediate. The other part is the fact that we fail to meet our expectations to be Bogart or Knightly. It took me a while to adjust to viewing myself on the techedge01 videos for iPad in the classroom. It was jarring at first but after a short time I got over myself and moved on. I have come to realize that I am not and will not be Bogart. I can tell you that I am too stiff, wordy and academic but I am getting better.

Video in my eyes is too good a tool to avoid using for instruction, especially when we need to individualize instruction for students at very different levels. My students reaction opened my eyes to this barrier of discomfort about performance. Maybe we all need to dabble in performance arts to let go? or just get used to making videos for instruction.

My conclusions force everyone in teacher education programs to make short videos enough to desensitize them. This way when they teach the option to supplement, support or even flip using videos will be just a few simple steps.
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