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Doceri – and Teacher Justin Siebert – on the Move

For most teachers using Doceri, moving  around the classroom while presenting lessons is a preference – they just don’t like being stuck at the whiteboard at the front of the room. For others, that ability to move around is a matter of practicality.

Justin Siebert teaches US Government and Anatomy & Physiology at the Collegiate School of Memphis, an urban, private Christian college preparatory school. If Mr. Siebert chose the traditional route of teaching from the front of the class, he could only reach the bottom three-quarters of the whiteboard from his wheelchair. Using Doceri, he has the freedom to move around the classroom, controlling and annotating his presentation wirelessly from his iPad while he interacts with his students – anywhere in the room.

“I use a wheelchair to get around in the science lab where I teach,” says Siebert. “Students are sitting on stools at high tables, so I’m sitting lower than the students. I’m always moving around the room interacting with them, I’m never up at the board.  Doceri makes it really convenient for me to show whatever I need – a PowerPoint, or a Doceri file – and control it from my iPad.”

This is Siebert’s first full year teaching in his own classroom. Last year he participated in the Memphis Teacher Residency. Through this program, he spent a year co-teaching with a mentor teacher at Kingsbury public high school in Memphis where he began using Doceri.  At that time, Doceri 2.0 with screencasting was not yet available. With the new screencasting capability, Justin is now combining in class lectures with screencast lesson videos.

To Flip or Not to Flip

The ability to create screencast recordings of classroom lessons in advance, or on the fly in the classroom, makes the flipped classroom model easy from a technology standpoint. But it’s not always the right answer for every class, every teacher, or every group of students.

Siebert has decided to use the flipped classroom model for his 11th grade US Government class – but not for his Anatomy & Physiology class. “Some students have limited access to the Internet,” he says,” and I have some of the same students in both classes. Those in both classes who don’t have Internet at home would need to spend a lot of time in the resource center accessing the videos.”

Siebert treats his Anatomy & Physiology class like a college lecture course – students are expected to study the material at home and take notes in class, while in US Government classroom activities reinforce the video content that they have watched prior to class.

“My Anatomy & Physiology is more of a teacher-centered class” he says. “I write out the notes in advance using Doceri, add in the stop points for each section and replay the presentation in class while I lecture.”

Structuring a Doceri-based Flipped Class Model for US Government

Mr. Siebert has chosen a flipped classroom model for his US Government class. He records videos in advance, posts them to YouTube with an unlisted URL and posts that URL to his class page on the school’s Haiku Learning Management System, along with specific questions they are required to answer after viewing the video. This is the main part of their homework and the primary way Siebert tracks student participation and progress.

Those who have Internet access at home can watch there, while others have access to the Internet in the school’s Resource Center. He begins by writing out his notes on paper as he maps out his lesson plan. He then transcribes the notes in Doceri and adds stop points using the Doceri Timeline. Once the Doceri project is completed, he begins a screencast narration, revealing his notes a slide at a time. Each video is about 15 minutes.

Students are expected to take notes while watching the video screencast prior to class. “Their notes should look exactly like my notes, so we’re all clear on what material they are responsible for,” he says.

So far, he says, his students like the videos better than simply answering questions from the book. “The homework wasn’t meaningful before,” he says. “And now, we spend about ten minutes going over homework rather up to 40 minutes of class time. They get bored with that. Now we can spend more time doing, thinking, and discussing.”

Transitioning from Doceri 1.0 to Doceri 2.0

Siebert used Doceri 1.0 last year for his in-class lectures, and it was actually the catalyst for his purchase of an iPad for teaching. He had tried Splashtop, but says “Doceri is at a totally different level than other remote control apps because it has been created specifically for teachers.”

“And now,” he says,”Doceri 2.0 is a game-changer. The compatibility with Powerpoint, plus the ability to record screencasts on top of the mobility it provides have made Doceri indispensable in my classroom.”

Memphis Collegiate is a new school, adding grades with each year. Next year will be the first year they will offer 12th grade, and Siebert will be teaching physics, using a flipped model.


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