One positive thing that has come out of our pandemic is the fact that both teachers and students are enhancing their skillset when it comes to technology. One such example happened last week with our students who are in the DECA club. Each year, students from the club participate in state competitions. It has always been a big deal to participate in a 2.5 day conference. Just like everything else, the conference had to be virtual this year. The conference competion had to be reimagined. Once the DECA advisors, Mrs. Wilczewski and Mrs. Doyle, learned the rules and guidelines for participating in this years conference, we got together to problem solve how students were going to meet the requirements in the most efficient way possible.
Here were the requirements/guidelines…
- Students had submit a video of their competition
- The video has been submitted via YouTube
- The video could not be publicly listed
- In team competitions, both students had to appear in the video at the same time
- Students had to submit and create their video within a short period of time
It was determined that the best way to make all of this happen was to have students use Google Meet and Screencastify to help meet the requirements of submitting their videos. For those students who were in an individual competition, they used Screencastify and sent the video right to YouTube. For those students in a team competition, they used both Google Meet and Screencastify.
Two key items that the district made earlier in the school year really helped make this all work. Our district allows students at the high school level to create their own Google Meets. Last school year, this was not the case. We were still learning, as was everyone else, and were worried about what might happen. We realized this year that if we truly want students to collaborate with one another, we should be providing a space for students to do that. Having students being able to create their own meet and share with their team mate was very helpful.
The next helpful decision was the fact that our district pays for Screencastify. Because of this, students were able to record their 10 – 15 minute presentations. Under the free account this would not have been possible. Now you might be thinking to yourself, why not just record the presentation in Google Meet (our district does have enterprise accounts and could record right in Google Meet). We were not able to do that because one of the rules specifically indicated that both students needed to be viewed at the same time. When you record in a Google Meet, it only records who is speaking at that particular time.
We also were under a time limit. There was not unlimited time to create said video. Sometimes, it does take quite a bit of time for a recorded Google Meet video to show up in email. So, to get around having to wait too long, we had students send their video right to YouTube from Screencastify. This way, they didn’t have to go to their Google Drive, to download, to then upload to their school YouTube channel.
So to recap,
- student verified that their school YouTube channel was activated
- one member of the team created a meet and shared with their team mate
- student made sure that both were viewed by adding themselves to the grid mode of the meet
- creator of the meet was then responsible for screen recording the presentation using the Screencastify extension
- after recording, student sent video right to YouTube with the setting “unlisted”
- student shared link to video to submit for review
Prior to the competition, the BHS DECA Advisors and Student Officers wanted to make sure that there were going to be no issues. Instructions where shared with students of the process in making sure that their Chromebook was set ready to go, to include verifying that their Chrome browser is up to date. Click HERE to see the DECA Pre-Work: Tech Setup Instruction document resource that was shared with the students.
The advisors and officers also went a step further to require each participate to practice the process at least once with a short video. Then they had to submit this video to a Google Form. What a brilliant idea! I hadn’t thought of that. This way, those in charge could make sure that all students were aware of the process and that they were successful. I believe if a student didn’t follow through with submitting a sample to the form, they were not going to be able to compete.
This all reminds me of the time when I was applying to becoming a Google Certified Trainer back in 2014. I had to make sure that my video was in under 2 minutes, shared correctly, no permission issues, etc. If I made any mistake along the way, I would not be considered.
We all have heard this over and over again. This past year has been very trying. It absolutely has. Would it have been much easier to show up to a hotel in the state to deliver a live presentation for 10 minutes to a group of judges? Absolutely. Would it have been a lot more fun for the students to be with other DECA students across the state? Absolutely. Was time spent to problem solve the best route to make something happen? Absolutely. Was more energy and stress lingering with thoughts of things not going to work out? Sure.
One thing that I will tell you though, is these students have learned a valuable skill that will only become more ‘normal’ in the future. These students now have a better understanding of how they can record a group virtual presentation. These students have a better understanding of what it might be like when applying for a future job. Many of them might eventually fulfill vacant remote positions for companies, where the only way to apply for the job is through a video submission or live video presentation. Very proud with what our DECA group was able to accomplish.
And that is my Spiel…