This week's reflection has been compiled in the form of a Prezi which can be viewed below :)
With advancements in technology, modern teachers have endless opportunity to convey messages to students through images, videos and other visual means. Using videos in a classroom setting allows teachers to access presentations by subject matter experts, who will most likely be able to convey topic specific messages more clearly than the teacher themselves. Khan Academy Founder Salman Khan notes that a distinct advantage that video learning has over traditional learning is that ‘’students can pause and repeat information without feeling like they are wasting someone else’s time’’ (Khan 2011). The Khan Academy is just one resource available to teacher to use to deliver content. Below is an example of a lesson from the Khan Academy delivered through video means.
My personal experience with learning through visual aids came about during my undergraduate engineering studies. In one particular course I was required to analyse the power cycle of an internal combustion engine. Using the website http://auto.howstuffworks.com/engine1.htm I was able to fully grasp how this system works. This website, along with others that now provide similar video content, will no doubt be great resources to use when I teach science subjects that often involve detailed concepts that are not easily explained in text alone. In my previous blog post ‘’Demonstration of Embedding Video Content’’ 20/03/17 I explain how I used video as a communications tool to solve a technical problem on my model railway.
The creation of video content by students will usually be undertaken with the easiest and cheapest method accessible to them. Simple recording devices are found in mobile phones, GoPro products and digital cameras. Editing software is available pre-installed on computers (Apple's iMovie) or can be easily downloaded, usually for free, online.
Videos and other visual representations could be used as useful tools to bridge the learning gap for EAL/D students. With a quarter of Australian school children now identifying as EAL/D learners it is important for teachers to develop an arsenal of methods to convey messages outside of the usual written and spoken instructions. (Hyde, Carpenter & Conway, 2013)
Various activities could be undertaken using the medium of video; all sitting on different levels of the SAMR model. Below are some examples related specifically to a mathematics and/or science classroom.
S – Substitution
To use video technology in a class solely as a substitutional method a class could be recorded on video for students to play back later in their own time.
A – Augmentation
In this stage online videos and animations can be used to give further clarification not afforded to students through still imagery alone. (gifs showing how various pump configurations work, displaying dynamic graphs that represent data at different time intervals as can be seen on www.gapminder.org/world )
M – Modification
In the 2 higher stages of the SAMR model learner generated visual content is created. In statistics classes students can input data into excel and present it in graphical or tabular form then by using movie creation software they can create dynamic graphs like those shown in www.gapminder.org/world. In a science class students may document various types of flora and fauna found on the school grounds by creating a video.
R – Redefinition
At this stage students may be recreating physical systems using computer modelling software with video output display. Students then analyse how changes in the model input changes the output of the model. Visual models such as these are used extensively in engineering where video outputs of data show clearly how structures and other pieces of equipment react under certain conditions. An example is shown below.
Khan s (March 2011) Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education. Retrieved from www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education#+-1205785
Hyde M., Carpenter L. & Conway R. (2013). Diversity , Inclusion and Engagement .Oxford University Press
Learning about blogging in this course has certainly put me on a steep learning curve. Owing to my nature as a person I have traditionally used the internet to retrieve information and use online tools for practical purposes. So the concept of sharing opinions and ideas not with those I come in contact with daily but via the internet is a little foreign to me. Despite this I appreciated that there may be uses for blogs in my future career, so I set up my Weebly site using the tutorial instructions.
The Weebly website was relatively simple to use to set up a blog in terms of registration etc. but the functionality within the site can be a little awkward. This may be deliberate to steer people towards the paid version. The awkwardness could be a result of the programmers designing the site with simplicity in mind rather than higher end functionality. Managing the layout is made easier with templates and the sidebar containing functions, which makes imbedding content a very intuitive process. The variety of tools or ‘apps’ as referred to on Weebly is quite extensive in that blogs can be imbedded with video, audio, mapping, text and imaging contents to name a few.
As an aspiring mathematics and physics teacher I initially struggled to see how a blog could be used constructively in my future teaching endeavours. After some thought, I was able to see how value can be created by using the platform; for instance, many physics concepts are best explained using videos and interactive images showing how different components of a physical system interact. These videos could be uploaded and viewed by students in their own time prior to class to free up room in the class timetable for higher end discussion/activities on concepts. A mathematics blog could be used to show students where the concepts they are studying at school are used in real life application. This once again frees up time in class that teachers would normally use up answering the age old ‘’but when are we actually going to use this stuff?’’ questions posed by students. By giving students meaning to their work prior to entering the classroom, the preconceived ideas regarding usefulness would increase their productivity. In addition to the examples given above, a blog could be used by students to demonstrate abilities further up the SAMR model. Science students could show deeper cognitive skills in relation to an experiment by videoing or ‘vlogging’ real life examples of smaller scale experiments conducted in class and posting these along with their own thoughts on how the small scale experiment is connected to the real life example.
I chose to delve further into the blog space rather than the wiki space as I prefer content to have a single identifiable source, which in turn leads to a single source of accountability. For all the benefits of collaboration, I believe it is important to instil in students an understanding of what is meant by accountability, a difficult lesson for students to learn through wikis.
As with all interactions between adolescents and the internet, safety issues, ethical issues and legal obligations need to be considered when using a blog as a teaching tool.
Each Weebly account is password protected to give the creator security in that they are the sole author of content. Individual pages can be allocated by their own password if multiple authors wish to work on separate pages in the same blog. In regards to comments on weebly blogs, there are settings that allow the owner of the site to approve and/or delete comments that they do not see as appropriate. An example of an ethical issue that may arise through setting up a blog for students is the commercialisation of a blog site through advertising. A teacher may have hundreds of students that wish to access the blog for their learning and advertisers are always keen to put advertisements on popular sites as students can be potential customers. Legal considerations relating to the use of blogs for academic purposes arise for teachers when deciding what content to imbed in them. Teachers must be careful not to expose students to R rated material or infringe on any copyright laws. These lessons too must be passed on to students who intend on sharing content on a blog.
The above video of a model railway I built in my undergrad uni days was made to show my locomotive technician, from Brisbane, how one of my locomotives was behaving erratically. Creating this video allowed us to discuss the problem despite geographical separation. I was reminded of this video after considering how students of science could use blogs as a tool for their education. Imbedding videos in blogs is a great visual way to create a record of successes and, in this case, issues on a project.