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Teacher Feature: Kim Laabs: 1.0

Name: Kim LaabsKLaabs

School:  San Marin High School

District: Novato Unified School District

Job Title: Mathematics Teacher / Department Chair

How do you use Doceri? Do you use Doceri Desktop as well as the iPad app?

I began using Doceri in 2013 to make screencasts in order to flip instruction in my math class.  Additionally, I  have made screencasts to respond to emailed questions from former students who have gone on to college.  Currently, with a more investigative approach to our curriculum, I make screencasts to help fill in some background information, answer homework questions, and to make connections between the current topic and the investigation done in class.  In the classroom,  I use Doceri iPad app to create PDF’s of the lesson and the Doceri Desktop to project the lesson.  This allows me to roam the classroom and not tethered to the computer, presenter or whiteboard.  As I roam, I am able to quickly capture a picture of what students are doing and project it for all to see, allowing student work to help direct our class discussions.  I can annotate, or have students annotate on the PDF lesson as well.  Then after class, I post these lessons online for students who are absent or need a reminder.

What have been the reactions of your students, other staff, admin, parents to Your use of Doceri?

Students ask for specific videos to be created – they love the ability to watch at their own pace, replay difficult concepts, and rewatch for test/quiz review.  Students also like the lessons posted with the annotations from class, as during investigations and projects, the typical notetaking seen in teacher directed lessons is less emphasized in lieu of notes on the project or data collection.  When I have a lesson using the whiteboard with no posted lesson PDF, many students object saying how helpful it is to be able to go back and review what we discussed in class online. 

Several of the staff at my school have also begun to use Doceri, both the app and Doceri Desktop in their lessons including our PE Department.  I have done presentations and workshops for our district and there are teachers in elementary and middle school who now use both the app and desktop in their curriculum.  Most teachers note the easy learning curve for both products.  The Doceri Certified Training Course is fantastic!

I have received many positive parent comments to the videos and the lessons as well.  One parent was very excited as they told me that they felt as if they too were enrolled in my Algebra 2 course!  For Back-to-School Night, I posed a question to the parents and had them work in groups to find the area of a triangle.  It was to help demonstrate the investigative approach to mathematics, our use of group work, and explain that there can be many “right” ways to approach a problem.  The goal was not just to find the area, but to find as many ways possible to find the area.  Parents got very excited about the problem, and because it it was such a short time, and we didn’t have time for closure, I posted a video if they wanted to explore further.  Several parents liked it so much they turned in their own approach later!  https://youtu.be/63Ks7BrCK6A

What was your experience getting students started on creating their own screencasts?

A few of my students have created screencasts working out homework problems.  The ease of the app makes it fun for them to use.  Some of my STEM students have used the app in creating videos for their engineering course.  

How has Doceri changed how you interact with your students during lectures/ presentations/ small group instruction?

Doceri has helped change my curriculum to be student centered and an easy transition to investigative, inquiry based instruction.  Our classes are more discussions with students making connections to previous work.  It also makes it easy for one group to present their findings to others. 

Have you flipped your classroom?

I did flip my classroom for a time, and then our district changed the math curriculum to be more investigative.  Whether or not it is direct instruction in the classroom or on a screencast, it is still direct instruction – teacher driven.  At times, this is a very powerful method of instruction.  I like the direct instruction to be done by screencasts with classroom time left for student directed inquiry and investigation.  This helps diversify the instruction students receive. 

Do you have any advice for teachers new to using Doceri, creating screencasts, or integrating tech into their class routines?

 JUST START!  When working with my students, I remind them that pushing buttons will NOT make the iPad spontaneously burst into flames! Make a few screencasts – ask for honest feedback from a friend or two.  Find other videos on YouTube that you like, and see what it is that you can recreate. Take the Doceri Certified Training Course!!  It includes many many tips and features.

  • PINCH AND ZOOM – One of my favorite Doceri features is the pinch and zoom.  It allows me to write neatly (I have tried many many whiteboard and screencasts apps, and Doceri is by far the best!).  My handwriting on Doceri is so much better than it is on paper.  I tried out LOTS of stylus, as well as using my finger alone.  Finding what makes you most comfortable really helps.
  • Start with Bones, then Refine – Some people write out whole scripts, a kind of storyboard.  I find that as I write on the app, I start with the basic outline, then go back and edit.  I add examples, or make it more “artsy” as needed and if I have time.  The GREAT thing is that once done, I can use the same lesson over and over for multiple classes and even years – OR I have the option to edit as needed for different classes and the needs of the students. In Short – Keep the screencasts short.  I try to limit my videos to 7 minutes, but some are closer to 11 or 12.  I’ll go back and edit the longer ones – or split them into two separate videos.





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