Students & Teachers Enhancing Professional Skills

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.

The Requirements/Guidelines

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
Continue reading “Students & Teachers Enhancing Professional Skills”

Using Document Cameras Beyond Projecting a Worksheet

Document cameras have been around for a while now – it certainly is not new technology. However, this past week has reminded me, yet again, how document cameras can serve different purposes. Yes, I know the typical situation where a teacher places a piece of paper on the desk and uses a document camera to project the paper on the wall. This way students can follow along with filling out the piece of paper. But how can you take this simple device and take it to the next level. (Again, keep in mind that these examples are not new, earth shattering ideas).
Class Demonstrations

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Mrs. Lederhos, our ceramics teacher, used the IPEVO document camera for the first time last week. She was explaining how it was hard for her whole class to look over her shoulders when she wanted to demonstrate a technique with pinch pots. She asked if she could try out a document camera to see if it would help improve the way she showcased techniques. We set her up with the document camera and things could not work any better. To the left, is a picture of her set up. Now, Mrs. Lederhos is able to demonstrate techniques in wide screen on the front of the room. I also like how she has placed the document camera on a rotating stand. This can help her with making sure that the document camera is in the right place as well as give the document camera more height. I was also impressed with how clear the picture quality was coming through during demonstration, even though there was constant movement.
Mrs. Hogan, our Photography teacher, has also found the document camera to be very helpful when needing to show her Photography students how to check settings on their digital camera prior to taking pictures. Again, she solved a situation of needing everyone in the class to see the steps rather than having to show each individual student.

Over the past couple of years, I have helped teachers create short screencasts. Teachers have created these screencasts for different purposes. However, I have had in the back of my mind that screencasts must be done with content created on a computer screen. This is not the case!
A friend of mine, Ms. Drake, who happens to be a math teacher, shared with me a visual with what she accomplished. The picture spoke to me as it made me realize that a teacher does not need to have everything electronic in order to screencast. She had her document camera connected to her laptop. She used Screencastify, a chrome extension that we use all the time in my school, to gather what is being shown on her screen. In this case, it is the document camera projection on her screen that she is recording. Rather than using Smart Notebook, or Google Slides to walk through examples, she was using her notepad to write out her mathematics. Again, you might be saying well Craig, that is not any different than a teacher filling out a piece of paper live in front of a class. You are right! But I didn’t make the connection that a teacher could in fact record a screencast with paper and pencil. 
If you would like to talk more about how document cameras can be used in your classroom, you know where to find me.
And that is my spiel…

Using Shortcuts with Screencastify

Screencastify has been a ‘go to’ tool for our school, especially since it works so nicely with chromebooks. For those of you who have not used Screencastify, I highly recommend that you check it out.

There are many uses of the tool:

  • Create a screencast demonstrating a task
  • Create a screencast highlighting information
  • Record conversation between people
  • Record an audio recording (by using the camera feature but blocking the camera so that it only records a black screen and picks up audio only)
  • Film scenes for a project
What I am most excited about is the fact that you can create your own shortcuts when using Screencastify. Sometimes, I do find it a bit clunky trying to start and stop the screencast without seeing the curser go off the screen. This can help with that. You can create (or use the existing) shortcuts for

Starting Screencastify
Pause/Resume Recording
Start/Stop Recording
Change Recording to Current Tab

Watch the gif below to see how easy this is.

For those of you who have never used Screencastify, or you want a resource for your students, scroll through the Google Slideshow below.

As always, if you have any questions about how you or your students can use this tool in your classroom, you know where to find me.

And that’s my spiel…