Student Centered Learning
The profession is called TEACHING. That’s what we as TEACHERS do right, we teach. We spend our time trying to figure out how to instruct our students. How are WE going to deliver the content our students need to learn? What can WE do to modify our plans to better suit the needs of our ever changing students? This is where we believe we have been doing it wrong for decades. It’s not about US it’s about THEM, the students. The profession should be more about them learning less about us teaching. We have slowly started changing what we call our class, it is no longer a classroom but now instead a “learning space”. I know this may sound a little folksy and sound like we just want the students to hold hands in a circle and sing while drinking wheat grass. But we feel if we start calling our classroom a learning space it will be a constant reminder of what our goal is as teachers, to get our students to learn!
In a traditional classroom you stand in the front of your class and lecture anywhere from 20-55 minutes a day. This is very difficult for students to handle and many issues arise with them as you TEACH the lesson that you spent hours perfecting. How many times have you been standing in front of your class just watching the faces of your students as they fall deeper and deeper into that zone. It doesn’t matter how passionate or enthusiastic you are about the topic you are teaching, eventually they end up there. There are many issues that can cause you students to lose interest in what you are teaching. Students may already know the content and be bored or students may be so lost or behind that they just give up paying attention. Lectures can also drag on. We all know that student that is really slow at writing and won’t allow you to change the slide until everything is written down. In a traditional lecture, we also tend to spoon feed our students the content and they only copy down what we have decided is necessary to put on the board. Most students don’t even listen to what we say. All of these issues are immediately solved when you use the video lecture.
Solutions to Traditional Lecture
So how does using a video lecture help to solve all of these problems? The most important thing that a video lecture does is put you in the hands of your students. We are quite literally in the pockets and palms of our students, we go everywhere with them. If they need to check on some information we covered in lecture, they can just go to our videos located on our YouTube channel. This gives 24/7 access to the teacher! With engaging, short video lectures, you can keep your students engaged with historical videos and images that bring history to life. This holds true to a
ny subject where you can show visual representation of a topic. The fact that our videos typically stick in the 3 to 7 minute range helps to hold their attention. Students rarely fall into the zone because there is so much coming at them and it is over before they get a chance to make that plunge.
If students are advanced and already know about the topic they can watch the video, take some notes and be done in five minutes. If they are slow and struggle keeping up, they have the ability to pause and rewind their teacher. This is revolutionary, students are in control of the content! I teach a special education collaborative class. My special ed students love this aspect of the class. They no longer get behind during a lecture and get lost. They can spend as much time as they want on each topic.
Finally, with our lectures, students are forced to listen. We do not have a PowerPoint on the board that they copy from us. During the videos we pop up a couple of really important keywords or names, but they are responsible for listening and writing down what we say about them. Students get this knowledge and can come to me with any questions they have about the lecture. Just today, my most advanced student came to me to ask in more detail about the stock market crash. She didn’t quite understand how stocks work, but who does? I was able to be her personal learning coach and help her through this so she had a better understanding of how the stock market works. In a traditional class I would not have had this opportunity to help a student one on one. This keeps the students engaged and searching for knowledge.
One more great thing about the videos when placed on YouTube is the closed captioning feature. YouTube automatically captions your videos so students can read what you say. We have had hearing impaired students who now can follow right along with what we are saying and no longer get lost. Have I given you the inspiration to try to make video lectures? I hope so because it has changed my LIFE and it can do the same for you!
The First Attempt at the Video Lecture
would like to quickly go through the process we used to make a video, but first I would like to share my first experiences making videos. Five years ago, when I was flipping on my own, I would simply plug a headset into my computer and screen grab my PowerPoint. I would talk into the microphone as though I was talking to my class. These videos were TERRIBLE, but that’s ok. I was doing something different and my students appreciated it. I was taking a step in the right direction. This allows you to use what you have right now to start flipping tomorrow. I didn’t write a script, I just winged it and it is obvious. I would advise writing a script, unless you are very confident in what you have to say. We had a close friend of ours at school come to us and ask us to help her flip a single lesson. We filmed her in front of the Smart Board and she just talked. She is brilliant and has been doing it for years and it worked great for her. She started slow and flipped two lessons. Her and her AP students really enjoyed it. Anyway, I would stay after school or stay in at lunch and record the lecture for the next day and it just took me about 10 minutes a day to do this. This is really easy and allows you to flip your class immediately. It took the help of Brent to get me motivated to create what we have today.
The Process of Creating You/Will/Love/History Videos
When we started making videos, Brent would create a Keynote/PowerPoint presentation to use as a background while we gave our lecture. We used Brent’s old Keynote presentations as a script and added on to what was on the page. This was very productive for us because it allowed us to churn out videos. We make over 60 videos in our first year. Now that we have become much more advanced in our videos, we sit down and write scripts. This also has to do with the fact that we are covering more modern history and do not have any materials for our last 10 videos or so. I really recommend a script because it allows for more fluidity while talking which makes the editing process quicker.
The next step to making a video is recording your voice. We edit our videos in a program called Camtasia (The video at the bottom shows it in action). The reason we use Camtasia over Final Cut or Adobe Premiere is due to its ability to screen record. This feature allows us to put a Keynote in the background and simultaneously speak about the topic. We then can edit the audio to eliminate any mistakes that we may have made while recording, this allows for great outtakes that cannot be repeated! As we worked with the program, we got more comfortable and started using more of its features. We began to insert music, pictures, videos and sound effects into the videos. Camtasia allows for seamless navigation between all of these features. In the beginning we used only the presentation and now we hardly use it at all. The new version of Camtasia has virtually eliminated the need for it at all. The latest video that I created is a great example of what this program can do and what anyone can create with a little, or a ton of practice!
So what have you learned today? The video lecture is the BEST way to reach your students. You will put the students in control of their own learning. You will put their teacher’s voice in their pocket and allow them to control their own learning! My advice is to try one video and one lesson. Just flip one and see how it goes. You will be amazed at the results!
If you have tried to flip a lesson, let me know how it goes. Leave a comment below and if you need any help we have tons of experience and can guide you through the process. We would love to hear how you are doing!
Thanks for reading!