One of our high school math teachers, Kerri Heymann, @kheymann on Twitter, recently had her Algebra students create a neat project to help other students in the school. The idea is not new, but it is useful; the students created screencasts of math problems and posted them on the Internet for other students to use as a review resource. You can find the screencasts here.
The process was simple, students paired up, chose a topic, designed several problems and directions to solve them, then recorded their examples. Kerri then posted the link to the videos on her school Edline page and her Edmodo classroom. Now for some name dropping to explain the details…
The students set the problems up on the Polyvision Boards using RM Easiteach software, Kerri set up a free account and a channel on Screencast-o-matic, which the students used to record their explanations. At this time I would like to thank fellow technology coaches, Jason Henry, John Deihl, and Carol Roth who helped with the recording ideas. I could not find a way to record directly with RM Easiteach, and they helped clarify that you cannot do so at this time and suggested alternatives. The students then came into several staff classrooms to record their presentations without distractions.
The students were comfortable with using the Polyvision Boards and Easiteach, we run both the Next Generation and older versions in our district. Screencast-o-matic took them all of about 10 seconds to learn; the process went very well…the hardest obstacle the students had to overcome was giggling or shyness during their presentations. The best part of the project was the independence of the students. We sat back and waited to assist if necessary, but the students handled their issues well.
As a first step, the project went very well, we are already planning expanding and improving upon things for next year. Hopefully the students can help pull other staff members into similar projects next year. After all, students are the best at pulling hesitant staff into the realm of classroom technology use and making these tools a part of everyday life.