In my current mathematics module, I am trying to engage with a different aspect/type of technology within each session. This week’s learning was centred around working mathematically so it seemed to be a perfect opportunity to use demonstrate the use of videoing as a form of recording. So armed with the TEL’s Ipads, I ventured forth with the red record button at the ready…I wasn’t expecting what happened next…
You see…I have this thing about recording – I think that too often we require evidence in the form of writing and/or paper and really the learning can be recorded in many other ways. Even within my sessions, pages of notes does not necessarily reflect complete engagement – although sometimes it is helpful to have something recorded in some manner for future use. When demonstrating/modelling good practice within the primary school setting, I want to not only preach about using different methods or recording but to actually provide examples of these other methods and practically engage with them so that the learners know the pros and cons of each approach. I have used videoing within the primary classroom from the humble camcorder through flip video cameras to the infamous Digital Blue Cameras. I had never used iPads, since they were not being used before I made my move to higher education, and this week’s session appeared to be a perfect opportunity to engage with them. I did, however, have various degrees of success with these, and have learnt a great deal.
In the beginning – I actually teach five groups in the mathematics, so I get to alter and adapt my approach throughout the week. For the first session, I didn’t have the iPads. Luckily though, I had a back-up plan, having my Sony Camcorder all charged and at the ready! In order to get a true representation of the activity, I asked that the camera was passed around (carefully!) and students filmed what they considered the ‘important’ parts of the process. There was the option to just film hands and the measuring/cutting for the people who did not want to appear on camera. I informed everyone that I would edit the clips together at a later date and post the finished product onto Youtube as unlisted content. This would be shared with the group. This method appeared to go well, although I haven’t had time to look at all the footage yet. I had to be very proactive with this first attempt, often seeing the camera just sitting on the table while the activity was being completed. Maybe having myself or, if I was in school, the teaching assistant filming, might have been a better option. Another idea within the school would have been to have some of the older children doing the filming as part of their topic/project within computing.
Filming with iPads – With the rest of the sessions, the iPads were distributed, one per group, and the recording began! Exploration is very important within education. It is important for the learners to explore new theories, learning and resources before they start to use them in ernest. I always teach this in both mathematics and science and somehow assumed that it didn’t apply within this session. How wrong I was! The activity was recorded with vigour! The students recorded video clips of the planning, creating and finished products and accompanied these with images and narrations. It wasn’t long before they had discovered the Time Lapse option on the iPads and created double speed videos of putting their finished products up on the wall. These looked great and in future sessions I actually demonstrated this to the students. The videoing soon left the iPads and started to be taken on phones and mobile devices and, although I am yet to see the finished ‘snaps’, Snapchat became a place to share and exchange finished products – I am yet to the see the panoramic video shot that I managed to photobomb! (is that appropriate behaviour for a tutor?). The activity was well and truly documented – the extend of which I didn’t actually find out until later. Overall I considered the recording experience very beneficial for everyone and I was keen to get the iPads back to my office to start editing!
Uploading and editing – Initially the idea was to upload the videos to iMovie on the iPads, edit them and then use Fuse to upload them to the university’s media library, then download them and then upload to Youtube to share – phew – quite a few steps there! This actually failed very early on since iMovie wasn’t on the iPads so another solution had to be found. This involved uploading the whole camera roll to Dropbox and then downloading them to my home PC to edit them via a program I bought – Premiere Pro – I thought this would encourage me to use this program and start to gain some expertise with it. While removing any images/videos on the iPads that weren’t taken within the session, I become aware of how completely the session had been ‘recorded’. Within minutes of uploading videos and images, I actually got an email asking me to upgrade the Dropbox account due to my storage limit being reached! Going online, there were quite a lot of recordings – both video and images. I tried to download them all to a portable hard drive and, although many were successful, some caused my machine to crash and some came down corrupted. After a couple of hours, I managed to get one group downloaded…yes that’s not a typo…one group’s! I have yet to start editing these which I know will be a long, long job. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and, if I was using it now, I think it would have been beneficial to encourage the learners to be more selective with their choice of the final videos/images to upload. My concern about this, was that this would have needed time which would have to be planned for within the session. The two hour session is already packed tightly, so I am unsure when this could have taken place. Definitely something to think about in the future.
This has definitely been a learning experience for me and maybe the students. Hopefully by reading this waffle you might be able to take some ideas and also some recommendations for when, or if, you use recording within your own sessions. These would be my four key points to consider.
Ensure you provide an opportunity for learners to explore the devices/software before the actual recording
Be clear on the events you want to be recorded – multiple attempts can be made but unused attempts must be deleted.
Allow time for the selection of the final video clips within the session
Ensure that there is limit on the number of videos for the final selection
You might be sat there reading this thinking ‘good grief – did you not realise these points before you started?’ The answer to that question would be no – but I certainly do now. As I have mentioned before, I enjoy learning and if this involves experiencing something and then having to adapt the process then I am happy to progress. Will I be using videoing next year? Most definitely! – if I get the editing completed by then – 🙂
I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, please add them in the comments below or send them to me via Twitter(@iwilsonysj), Facebook, Google+ or email.
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