I’d recommend a read. It’s interesting, and details an innovative and effective use of a cheap and easy technology (screencasting) to engage students usefully and meaningfully, add value and depth to the coursework, and target your teaching efficiently and effectively.
Teach the student, not the subject.
The idea is simple. Use screencasts to target the areas students find difficult. Find out from them what those areas area. Predict the troublesome concepts, and envisage the difficulties empathetically. Doing this well will mean students will find it useful. And they’ll buy in to what you are doing, rather than being coerced ( the article mentions a 75% viewing rate, with no coercion, testing etc).
The paper referenced found students watched strategically. They scrolled through video looking for the information they wanted, or needed.
It struck me as interesting in a number of ways.
Screencasting is cheap. Free even. Screenr.com (5 minute limit), Jing (though it encodes to .flv, which does not play nice with youtube, or, potentially, ipads and iphones), there’s a whole host of free and premium platforms that will automate the process for you.
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…
Teaching the student and not the subject is key to excellence.
Base your screencast production on the data you are getting from your students, and you can really get them to impart added value to the course. It speaks to utility (how does this help me achieve what I want) motivation (good , targeted useful feedback is one of the strongest motivators, especially in online environments) and faith in the instructor ( again, a huge influence on how motivated students will be). It also allows you to plan for, and cater to the differing abilities, levels, needs and capacities of your students in more or less personalised ways, which is huge in terms of motivating students.
Put simply, asking your students what they found difficult, and why, and engaging with that in terms of screencasts is a useful and effective way to target them effectively with powerful interventions. The 75% hit rate is a testament to the efficacy you can expect.
Analyse homework, test results, blog posts, tweets, class conversations, tasks the whole gamut, and build up a profile of what needs additional support, explanation, explication or attention. And then put it together into an out of class resource to flip your classroom with.
Michael Seery and Rosin Donnelly have a similar idea – pre lecture resources targeting known necessary concepts for novices to get them on a level footing. End result, improved test scores (First year students of chemistry with no previous experience closed a 20% gap in testing on their non novice classmates in comparison to years without such support).
Here endeth the sermon
The lesson here. Prepare your students to succeed and they probably will. And the application of competence, informed empathy, expertise and understanding is powerful enough to get students to buy in to their own success.