Friday, April 12, 2013

How to record with the Smart - Board (a video demo) and the first results come in...

Dear interested readers!

How are you? I'm validated! Today we marked our Maths assessment (Part 1) and the results are pretty strong. There is no doubt it is an improvement on last year's results at this time.

I have only had a brief flick through the test papers, but it is clear to see that...

a) the results are better than this time last year
b) the students have demonstrated significant improvement since the beginning of the year

There is also no doubt the students like the videos. Here is a comment that popped up on EDMODO...

So that's a nice bit of unsolicted (I promise) feedback.

So early results - FLIP classroom.. can work better for me. (And if it doesn't improve learning outcomes then what is the point?) I will not throw in the bin along with 'whole language' just yet.

That said, it is important to note that students are not just watching the videos at home. They are watching videos in spare moments in class. They are watching videos when I'm teaching another lesson to the bulk of the class that is not relevant to them (because the video watcher can already do it).

Further to this we spend some time after a pre-assessment, watching different videos as a cohort specific to our identified personal weaknesses.

Would you like a video on how to use the smartboard to screencast? That is, how to record on your smartboard? So you can share this with your students?

If you would.. here it is....
It is about 2 minutes and 30 seconds long....
Happy holidays Aussie teachers!

Matt Burns

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to make Videos....OR.... (Week 10)

This week’s blog is titled...

HOW TO MAKE VIDS (in a reasonably short time)

Or my alternate title..
The secret of SCREEN CAST software...

Hello again. (Please forgive the handsome head shot. I am experimenting with my blog.) 

I thought that this week I would delve into the past, because I have realized that in m first post I missed a reasonable deal of work that I put into actually making ‘vids’ for flip learning.

This is of course the first hurdle for any would be ‘flipper’.

If you are just a normal Joe like me, then the idea of producing, writing and filming your own lesson video can sound overwhelming. But...

First I read ‘Flip Your Classroom’ which talked about video cameras, monitor cameras and the easiest that jumped out to me were ‘screen casting programs.

Screen casting software. This is no doubt the easiest path. Screen casting means recording what is happening on the screen of your computer, or tablet, and recording your voice at the same time. This then saves as a video.


Remember you are looking for screen-casting software.

After a quick Google search on the superior apps (I have an Ipad) I found the most recommended ‘screen casting’ app was ‘Explain Everything’.

I think that this is currently still the best, though no doubt app fashion moves fast.

‘Explain Everything’ allows you to draw, work through various slides, speak, record, use images, and scroll, enlarge and minimize. It is very thorough.

I made a few quality videos with this app, and plonked them on my site. 

However the real goldmine was struck when I learnt that my IWB (Interactive Whiteboard) was a giant screen-cast recorder. I use the standard SMART brand; and by selecting the small SMART icon, and choosing the smart board recorder, and by inserting a microphone, anything you do on this board can be recorded. Visually and orally.

This was, and is, far superior to 'Explain Everything'. Though, my IWB cost the school thousands of dollars, whereas ‘Explain Everything’ cost me about 4.

Finding a microphone was its own saga. We have a fairly generous AV department where I work, though they still cannot permanently loan mikes. I found the easiest solution was to head to Dick Smith and pick up a 60 dollar mike and headset cheaply, with a USB connection. I plug it straight into the smart board speakers. Too easy.

But...back to the present. Today in class children watched differentiated lesson vids that I had set for them via Edmodo, because they are preparing for a maths assessment next week. I am very much looking forward to this test. It has been useful this week to allow some time to allow students to watch vids in class using their own technology, targeting their own and specific weaknesses.

I was able to look out at my class, and understand that 3 or 4 entirely different and appropriately differentiated maths lessons were happening simultaneously, all taught by myself or my grade partner. They simply weren't happening live. They were ‘pre-recorded’ as such; but still very relevant to the students learning needs. Please see below for a screen shot of a comment that came in (please forgive my clumsy privacy attempts). I am also assuming that the time setting is US times.

That’s enough for today. I look forward to the assessment to see if all this tech implementation is actually working. If I don’t post for a couple of weeks it is because I am super depressed due to worse results than ever. Hah! Just kidding... (I hope)

I have also started to consult in NSW primary and high schools with regards to flipping (or blending) the classroom. If you are interested in having me come along to speak to your staff, details can be found here: