Posted by: Kathy Cassidy | May 1, 2011

Learning: It’s Easier Together

I’ve been doing an action research project about the work flow involved in using video to capture learning in my grade one classroom.  As I have been reflecting about what has happened and what I’ve learned, the thing that stands out most to me is that the video process helps my students to learn from each other.  

I have long been a proponent of students learning from each other, but when I first started this project, my intention was not that this would be a learning process, but that it would be a recording process. I thought that the students would learn how to go in pairs to a quiet part of the classroom or the hallway and film each other talking about their learning and then we would upload their video and post it on their blogs.  The other students would be able to see what the others had learned by watching the video on their friends’ blogs if they wished to.

What was I thinking?  It’s ALWAYS about the learning.  It only took me one trial to realize that the students NEEDED to see each other explaining what they had learned.  They needed to see students who used a different addition strategy and learn about another way they could add numbers. They needed to see some of the ways that their friends explained the difference between needs and wants so that it could expand their own understanding of this concept. And they needed to see the puppet stories that their classmates composed so that it would inspire more detail in their own stories.  Making  video in my classroom is not just a process of recording learning, but a process of learning in itself.

Doesn’t this sound like the way that we all learn? I certainly do.

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Responses

  1. Its so telling when you see how attentive students are to peers during presentation and sharing. As you say, they connect their learning. Too often we blind ourselves to the efficacy of collaboration, mentoring and modelling in our drive to isolate student progress. “I want to know what you can do on your own,” our grading or assessment becomes more important than their learning.

    I listen to you and absorb your experience with this… and apply it to my own practice. It works for us, it works for our young people.

    • That’s the problem, isn’t it, Alan? Because we feel pressure to have those artifacts of what students have done “on their own”, we can miss learning opportunities.

  2. Hi Kathy,
    I’m Josh Milne a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 Class at the University of South Alabama. I found it cool the way you have your students film each other talking about their learning experience and the methods they used. Just in my years at college I have learned many different ways of learning the material. I have found that sometimes using a classmate’s learning strategy which is different from mine can be very helpful.

  3. Hi Mrs. Kathy,
    My name is KaShondra Rudolph. I am an EDM310 student from the university of South Alabama where Dr. Strange is my teacher. I enjoyed reading your post. I also enjoy little kids reactions to their peers while doing presentations and other projects. I makes the students want to be involved also and pushes their self confident to their peek. I have seen this in many classrooms.

  4. Hello Mrs. Kathy,

    I am a student at the University of Washington Bothell in the teaching program and this quarter we are in a technology class. One of our assignments is to use a flip camera to record our teaching and use the videos to assess our lessons. I think that this is a wonderful tool for children and what child doesn’t want to see themselves on a video camera! We talk about how important it is to put technology into the hands of our students and I can tell that your students really took this into their own hands and learned. When students are able to learn on their own it seems like they connect and value the lesson much more. I wanted to know how structured or specific the lesson was you gave them, how much freedom they had and if they will have the opportunity to use the cameras again?


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