Over the past couple of years, I’ve been involved with several cohorts of Powerful Learning Practice, a learning community set up by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson. I have participated as an “experienced voice” whose job it is to share ways that I have used technology to transform my classroom. I have always appreciated the ways that my participation in these communities has pushed my thinking.
This year I am involved in PLP as a participant. While I am already using technology tools to connect my class with others and have gone a long way to change the way I do things in my classroom, I am once again being pushed in my thinking.
Part of the PLP process is participation in an action research project. I am doing this research project with four other team members from my city. Among the five of us, we teach eight grades between grade one and ten, so we had a bit of a challenge coming up with a research project that woud apply to all of those grade levels.
In our discussions, we discovered that we were all interested in developing new ways of student assessment, and in the use of video in our classroom. With the help of Dean Shareski, who is our “cognitive coach” in this process, we decided to focus on this question:
- How do we develop sustainable work flow for using video to capture learning in the classroom?
Obviously, this will be a different process for each of us.
In my classroom, I have a flip video camera, and have used video as an assessment tool for a couple of years, but my use of it has been somewhat sporadic. It has also been very teacher centered. Even though the students take much of the video, I always uploaded any of it that I wanted to have online myself.
What I am wondering is–is it possible with six year olds to develop a work flow in which the students do the work–that is, the students do the video taping as they demonstrate their learning, upload it to the video server (my school division has its own server) and use the embed code to post it on their blogs? Since I have made a commitment to the parents of my students to not match student pictures with names, this also means that if the video is to be posted on their blogs, the student’s faces cannot be in the video.
I have done an initial trial of this, and here are a couple of things that worked well.
1. We used a common craft-like format to explain what we knew about needs and wants. This meant that the students’ ideas and their voices were represented, but not their faces. You can watch an example here. (This was inspired by a video Maria Knee made with her Kinderkids last year).
2. When we uploaded, we used the students’ names as a tag so that they could find the video on the server. This worked well, but I think we’ll have to change the tag a bit in case other teachers begin to do the same and there are duplicates of names.
3. Since most of the students could already copy and paste, putting the videos onto the blogs went fairly smoothly.
Not everything went well. The uploading to the server was tedious and not at all interesting to many of the students. After only a few, I sent the class off to do something else and began training a “classroom expert” for this part the next time. I’m wondering if that will work the best? Maybe I’ll train several experts.
Have you tried this before with six year olds? Or older students? I’d love to have your advice. I’m looking forward to having more video for assessment purposes, and want to find a way to make the process work in my classroom.