Snapshot of learning for YouTube
Students demonstrating their understanding of mathematics strategies using video and the spotlight feature in YouTube
Contributed by Emma Martin, Weymouth Primary School, Auckland
I work with a Year 6 class within a Decile 2 school in South Auckland. The pupils in my class work best at small group tasks that are hands on and have a digital element. Therefore, while there are only two computers in the classroom, I ensure that ICT is integrated into all of our work.
I was looking for an interactive tool that students could use to demonstrate their understanding of different strategies to solve mathematical problems. I also wanted to move the learning beyond the four walls of our classroom by giving parents a window into some of the strategies that we teach in the classroom so that they could be more confident when supporting their children at home.
We regularly use YouTube in the classroom to access digital content. My students also had experience of being in front of and behind the camera producing episodes for our school TV show. I had also created a vocabulary quiz for the students by filming a series of YouTube videos where students had to click on synonyms that appeared over the video to be taken to the next video where they either got the next question or a try again screen. Therefore, I decided that we would build on the strengths and experiences of the students by using YouTube videos to share mathematical strategies on our class blog using the YouTube ‘Add annotations’ feature to make it interactive for the viewer. This could help my pupils to become experts and to reinforce their learning while also sharing this learning with parents.
Due to time restraints, I decided to focus on my lower two Maths groups to do this activity. I wanted them to see themselves as mathematicians and they needed the most reinforcement. I felt that this would be a boost for their confidence once it was published to the blog.
Teaching and Learning
The students in my two lower groups engaged in a range of tasks to widen and deepen their understanding of different mathematical strategies before starting this activity. When I was working with each group on a specific mathematical problem appropriate for their level, students were asked to share the strategy they liked using the best and this was recorded in a group scrapbook.
To reinforce their ideas and share different strategies, four pupils from the group were chosen to record their method. The children were given time to practise saying their answer. As the chosen pupil explained the steps taken to solve the equation, this was recorded on a whiteboard by another pupil. When they were ready, they were then filmed separately by a pupil in the class that was experienced at using the video camera. This meant I had two movies; one of the student speaking to the camera to explain the strategy and one of a pupil documenting onto a whiteboard the steps required to solve that problem using that method.
I took the video footage and edited them iniMovie. The footage of the child explaining their thinking was then added to the top corner of the video showing the student recording the steps of the equation on a whiteboard by using the picture in picture tool feature in iMovie. I also filmed myself directly into iMovie introducing the four students and the maths problem that they were solving. At the end of the introduction video, I added a photo of each student to be turned into clickable choices when uploaded to YouTube. The four student videos and the introduction video were then uploaded to my YouTube channel. I then used the ‘Add annotation’ feature in YouTube to add spotlights to each students photo to make the introduction video interactive. You do this by entering a URL for the desired YouTube video when you add the spotlight. To get more in-depth instructions on this process, visit this snapshot created by an intermediate teacher. There were three sets of videos created in all; addition at Stage 5, addition at Stage 6, and multiplication at Stage 7.
The final step was to embed each of the YouTube introduction videos as a separate post on the class blog. The introduction video for each group of four could then be played from within the blog with the viewer selecting which student’s strategy to listen to by clicking on that student’s photo (a useful tip is to pause the video at the point where you can make the choices). You can view all three sets of videos on my class blog: http://kauri3wps.blogspot.com/ In class, the students shared the videos with their peers using the data projector and also shared the blog posts at home with their parents and extended whānau. The blog has also been shared with colleagues and other senior school classes. The making of the items was filmed and the process shared on our School TV show so that all classes could see the way the item was put together. The digital item has been shared with a local numeracy cluster as an example of e learning and the use of a web 2.0 tool. The blog has also been shared through Twitter and the wider teaching community.
During the teaching process, the pupils learned how to solve a simple problem in a variety of ways. While using a scrapbook to record and re-visit the question provided some opportunities for students to reflect and set goals, recording their ideas using iMovie and YouTube gave my class an audience and a voice. They were able to share their learning with their parents and the wider community and received feedback on their work. While there were very little comments on the blog itself, the students did get acknowledgement from a world audience through Twitter and this has given the children more confidence as they see themselves as experts communicating with an authentic audience.
The recording of the student videos was done by pupils in the class who have had training in using the video camera through being involved in producing our school TV show. To increase student ownership of the activity, next time I would also have students also editing the clips in iMovie. The class has learned how to do this for other projects and so have the skills required.
The purpose of posting to the blog and using an interactive sequence of YouTube videos was to engage my pupils outside the classroom and celebrate our learning with parents. Some parents have accessed the blog but are wary of commenting. Next year, parents will be invited into the school to view the blog and to further understand how much their contribution is valued, which I hope will mean that they are more engaged with the blog during the rest of the year.
I asked students to reflect on the benefits of creating the videos and how they helped their learning. Here are a few comments from the students:
- Shannyl “ I really like that my mum and dad can see what I am doing in my class.”
- Darius “ I know how to solve problems using lots of strategies.”
- Riley “ It’s better seeing what everyone else is doing so it gives you ideas when you get a problem the same.”
- Vianne “ We can look in the book at what we’ve done before but I remember it more when I watch my friends' ideas on the blog.”
- Ryan “ We use YouTube a lot in our class and it was fun to see how we could make movies of ourselves to show what we do in Maths.”
The students in my Numeracy groups needed to see that there is more than one way to solve a problem. Their confidence soared when they could see their thoughts valued. As visual learners, they could view their own thinking and discuss what was in their classmates heads too. I wanted their confidence to grow. It is only through confidence and a belief in themselves that students feel happy to take risks, try new things and take responsibility for their own learning.
Next year, I take on the challenge of working with Year 2 and 3 pupils and will use the tools offered through YouTube to highlight their learning and share it with the wider community.
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