Friday, January 31, 2014

The Student Becomes the Teacher - Video Summatives

As my first BYOD course came to a close, I wanted to make sure the culminating project reflected what we had been doing in the course. In addition to covering the required material, I tried to push my students to be more independent, more creative, and more flexible in how they learned and demonstrated their knowledge.

A culminating project which consisted only of review questions (as it had been in the past) just wasn't going to cut it.

The project was divided into three parts (the whole project can be found here). The first part was six, traditional, application-style questions from throughout the course.

The second and third parts involved my students creating teaching videos for not only other grade 11 math students, but also MY grade 10 applied-level students next semester. For the first time, not only did the students have to prove to me that they knew what they were talking about, but they had to know it well enough to teach it to younger students.

Students chose learning goals from the semester (signed up using an interactive Google Doc - see link above), filmed their video, uploaded it to youtube, and then submitted the link via Google Form.

Great things:
  • Though students had to create and be in the video by themselves, many paired up with friends to help each other re-learn the material, check their math, and film each other. Loved the collaboration!
  • Students used everything including white boards, blackboards, large paper/bristol board taped to the wall, pencil-on-paper and photoshop with screen capture. Some included background music or fancy transitions. There were no marks awarded for this, so it was nice to see the extra work students wanted to put into their videos on their own.
  • It was harder than the students thought it would be! They found they really had to break the learning goal back down into parts (like how they originally learned it) to make sure they could explain it properly.
  • Students had the opportunity to watch their videos, fix things, and then record again until they were happy with the result. Lots of opportunity for self-assessment before submitting the final product.
  • While some recorded their videos at school, many recorded at home, and involved their parents. How wonderful that parents got to see what their children had learned in math class this year!
  • Watching the videos, it was VERY clear who knew what they were talking about, and who didn't (or, in some cases, which subtle details gave students trouble). They were very easy to assess.
  • This project gives me pre-made material - made by students for students - for my grade 10 class this semester. Not only did it confirm whether or not the grade 11 students knew their stuff, it will help grade 10 students learn the material in the first place!
  • Some students were camera shy, and didn't want anyone to see their videos. Some dealt with it by only appearing in a tiny bit of the video (and then talking through the rest), but some simply decided to not complete the project.
  • Many students encountered incredibly long upload times (3+ hours) for videos that were sometimes only 2-3 minutes long. I'm not sure if this was because many devices now record in HD, making file sizes unreasonably large, or because of individual students' data plans.
Next time:
  • Next time I try this (and there WILL be a next time! I loved this project!), I will include a component where students will peer-assess each others' videos. There were several small mistakes that other students would have caught for each other if there had been a chance to watch other videos. 


  1. Kudos for experimenting with this awesome medium for students to showcase their understandings! You were spot on when you said that students found it harder than they expected, explaining something means they really know it. I've found that dropbox style uploading helps with the load times/ file confusion, etc. that I encountered when I started having students create content. I'm looking forward to hearing how future iterations of your project go!

    1. Thanks, Jasper! I would LOVE to be able to use Dropbox (or something similar), but right now all cloud storage apps like that are blocked by our school server. I'm looking into moving everything into an LMS so that might help with future projects.

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  3. I really enjoyed your post and the reflection on next steps. I will be sharing this with other teachers that are looking for ways to redefine their instruction. Thank you so much for sharing.


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