Friday, 24 June 2016

Finally Finished!

After many failed attempts (and a lot of learning), I have completed my MDTA interview.  It was certainly a challenge, but I feel far better prepared to film a video with my learners after creating this video and I have learnt a thing or two about filming.

1) Watch out when filming outside
I thought I had found a quiet spot when filming my first take of this video,  but my microphone still picked up an awful lot of ambient noise; I did not realise how distracting a slight breeze and a couple of birds could be! There was also issues with the sun and other people entering the shot. In the end we had to change location because removal trucks parked next to the field that we were in!

2)  Sort out your technology
 I had a number of technical issues; at one point I re-filmed the interview on a school camera only to discover that it had saved onto my computer without any sound and that the original footage was deleted.  In the end, I invested in a camera and tripod which meant that I could be far more flexible with filming and got a clearer film because of it.

3) Continuity
In the end I drew footage from three different takes of the interview. Although I had remembered to wear the same clothes and return to the same position, I could not ensure that my background remained exactly the same as I filmed in my classroom. I also found that the lighting changed dramatically, as two of the takes were filmed in the evening while one was filmed at midday.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Becoming Weather Presenters using Google Maps

At Glenbrae, maths is taught through problem solving and mathematical investigations. As my learners are looking at time and temperature at the moment, I thought a problem involving the weather would be very fitting.

After showing my learners a video of a weatherman, this was the problem that they were posed with:

They had to decode a number of clues to determine the temperature at various locations. These clues required the students to add and subtract positive and negative integers. To support this, we provided the children with number lines.
These cards could be cut up and presented as cards

Once they had completed this, they entered the temperature at each destination on a Google my map so that it could be used for a weather . The learners made a copy of this map, entered their findings and were then tasked to video a short clip of themselves presenting the weather in part of their map. This would then be shared through their blogs.

I was really pleased with the level of engagement we had with this task. The children also collaborated well and there was lots of mathematical discussion taking place.  After realising how nerve wracking it can be in front of the camera last week, I did allow some students to present with a support person if they were the only member of the group at school at the time. We could definitely work on building our confidence and speaking clearly, but overall it was an enjoyable experience and a lot of learning took place.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Camera Shy

I never thought that I would be camera shy, coming from a background in drama and the arts. In fact, I could not have secured my first job at 16 if I had not been able to act confidently in front of the camera. It seems that I had forgotten all of this when I stepped out to film my interview for the MDTA this Friday.

The aim of this session was to plan and film a response to a number of questions about our experiences with the MDTA. We were encouraged to think quite deeply about these questions and I spent some time deciding how I might respond.

Image result for cameraClarelle and I had decided to interview each other and went on a walk around the University Campus to decide where to film. We eventually settled on a picnic bench outside and I began to film Clarelle. I was feeling quite proud of the angles I had captured, but this confidence faded completely as soon as I stepped in front of the camera.

I became extremely nervous and found it difficult to simply introduce myself! After a while I became more settled and began to feel that we were getting footage that could be used, albeit with a lot of editing.

 Unfortunately, our footage did not come out too well. Despite using a microphone, our camera picked up on the sound around us. While shooting we had to pause on a number of occasions as removal vans approached our location and planes flew overhead, but we felt that our location was fairly quiet. We clearly should have paused a little longer as much of this was captured in our videos!

Although we didn't get much footage, I feel that we learnt a great deal about filming and the amount of noise that can be picked up. This has left me with a lot to consider in terms of making future videos and taking part in the Manaiakalani Film Festival. It has also once again highlighted the difficulty that the Class OnAir teachers must face as there is far more noise in the classroom than what we were dealing with!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Room 7 Superstars; Our Class Site

After beginning my teaching career with a class site,  I cannot imagine teaching without one.  I have especially enjoyed watching my students engage in their learning outside of the classroom.

There is so much that can be done with a google site and it can be a really engaging way of accessing ones learning. Over the past term and a half our class site has changed heaps; I am constantly finding new ways to display activities and will continue to do so. Ultimately, it is most important that the site is easy to navigate and that it makes learning accessible.

My Class Site

At this weeks MDTA PLG, we were learning about making screencasts. These could be used in the classroom as a way of recording part of the lesson - like a virtual modelling book. Apps like Educreations and Screencastify would best utilise screencasts in the classroom, as they allow the user to draw and write while recording.  However, our intention today was to simply create a screencast of our class site to illustrate how our children would use it to access their learning. 

I used Quicktime player to record this screencast which was pretty easy to use, although finding a quiet place to film was not so simple! It took a few (10) attempts to record an uninterrupted video, but this would have been far easier if I had a room to record in rather than a corridor! This really made me consider the difficulty of filming Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir, as there would be so many distractions and interruptions to deal with in the classroom.

I will definitely consider using both screencasts and video of my direct teaching in the future, as I can see how beneficial a digital modelling book would be.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Manaiakalani Google Class on Air

It takes some time to get used to being observed in the classroom. I'll never forget how anxious I was as a student teacher being observed by my visiting lecturers. If I found this daunting, I cannot imagine how I would feel putting recordings of my lessons up on Youtube for the world to see. Yet this is exactly what five teachers across the Manaiakalani cluster are doing.

On Friday we were visited by Matt Goodwin, who is one of the educators involved in Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir. He gave us the low down on the filming process and filmed part of our session using his filming equipment.  I could not believe that his lessons are uploaded directly from Google Hangouts to Youtube - particularly as the Youtube editor is quite simplistic. It must take a lot of courage to be part of this program!

As we experimented with the option to upload a video taken on Google Hangouts to Youtube, it became clear that this could be used as a teaching tool. We are always discussing the possibility of creating rewindable learning for our Chromebook users, as the Explain Everything app allows for recording using the iPads. By using hangouts in this way, direct teaching or discussion could be recorded to support children when working with the concept at a later time.

As the recording can be uploaded as an unlisted video, I am also considering the possibility of using this tool to aid my reflections. Last term I managed to record a short segment of my teaching using an iPad, which I found incredibly helpful. I believe that recording a larger section of a lesson would be really beneficial for me as a beginning teacher.