This is part 2 of 3 of the Teacher Feature on Tim Boudreau in Feb 2015.
What have been the reactions of your students, other staff, admin, parents to Your use of Doceri?
This is only my second year using Doceri in the classroom, but since I teach multiple classes a year, I have introduced the app to over 300 students in that short time. Since I teach so many students I come into contact with a diverse range of social and academic aptitudes. It amazes me how quickly my students just start using Doceri to create screencasts to explain new concepts. I provide a brief introduction to Doceri before having students create for assessment purposes. Showing a few basic tools and then giving students the opportunity to “play” and “explore” the app to create anything they want. Some students will use the art tools to draw detailed pictures. Some students experiment with the timeline to generate simple animations and some create simple slide shows. No matter what their academic ability, all of my students demonstrate an enthusiasm and a willingness to create and learn using the Doceri app. Many students will then go on to ask other teachers if they can use Doceri for their assignments in other subjects.
Several teachers at my school currently use Doceri, or allow Doceri to be used by students, in the classroom. Doceri is used in French classrooms, Math, Language, Science, and Social Studies. Teachers at my school have a range of aptitude and comfort using technology in the classroom, but most teachers I have spoken to about the app are excited by Doceri’s potential, and are willing to allow students to use it to create projects instead of using more traditional formats. The greatest roadblock for staff is simply having enough devices in the school so that we can use great apps like Doceri in the classroom on a regular basis.
The principal and vice-principal at my school all love the potential of using Doceri in the classroom. They agree with me when I say that Doceri is a great tool for making student thinking visible and are excited about the use of it in the classroom.
Recently my school hosted a Numeracy Night, where students were encouraged to bring their parents so that we could show them some of the things we are doing in the classroom to support student learning in mathematics. I hosted a session on using Doceri in the math classroom, where I introduced the app with a screencast. Parents were then given a math problem and an iPad with Doceri to work on a solution with their children. Many parents commented to me that they thought Doceri was a very good way to help their child explain their thinking, especially those who experienced difficulty with writing tasks.
What was your experience getting students started on creating their own screencasts?
Creating a screencasts can be hard work. I found that it was extremely important to “chunk” the task for students so that they didn’t feel overwhelmed by the screencasting project. Usually I broke the process into 4 parts for them that we worked on separately in class:
- Write your script – everything that you and your partner will say in the screencast
- Create a storyboard – plan what visuals will appear on each “slide” of your presentation
- Create your slides – before doing any recording, take the time to setup each of your slides, and to insert any necessary stops on the timeline.
- Record – Now that you have a script and a storyboard, you’ve created your presentation, it’s a simple matter of following the plan, and recording your voice.
Most students react very well to this framework. Soon they are well on their way to creating their screencast within a couple of work periods. As with all school tasks, students require extra time to figure it all out, extra time to work out the kinks, and extra reminders to stay on task.