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Teacher Feature: Mark Willis, Bangkok Patana School

Mark-WillisName: Mark Willis

School: Bangkok Patana School

Subject: Mathematics (Years 7-13 British system)

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Mark Willis first learned about Doceri at an International Baccalaureate mathematics workshop.

“I had an iPad,” he says, “and I wanted to use it in my classroom. I had tried other apps with only limited success, because was extremely difficult to write using either a finger or an iPad stylus.”

The workshop leader, Jennifer Wathall, told Mark about Doceri. “I installed both the app and desktop there and then, and the next day I was helping workshop leaders present their material in a theatre with more than one hundred people present.”

We asked Mr. Willis how Doceri has changed the way he teaches – and how his students learn

“It’s been a year and a half since then, and I have never looked back,” he says. “I have used Doceri as both a presentation tool and to record screencasts and it has transformed the way I teach.”

This video shows Mark explaining an Higher Level (HL) exam question on the intersection of two planes, connecting to his host computer to access Autograph graphing software for the diagram.

“I love to be able to wander around the classroom and use the pointer tool to explain mathematical concepts. An important function is that you can seamlessly flip from a Doceri presentation to a desktop application such as the TI-Nspire [graphing calculator] emulator or a PowerPoint on my Mac Book Pro, and back again.”
Mark-Willis-Screen-ShotHe creates and shares revision videos for his students in his Cambridge IGCSE and International Baccalaureate (IB) mathematics courses. “It is so easy to take a screen shot of an exam paper in the Safari app, crop it and import it into Doceri,” he says. Once the photo has been imported into a Doceri project, he writes down the solution, adding in stops and recording a screencast. He uploads the screencast to YouTube for his students to view.

Mark has made nearly 1,300 Doceri videos which he has posted on YouTube and shared with his students via virtual learning environments such as edmodo, Haiku and Firefly.

“My students love it,” he says. “They are able to use their study period to do their homework effectively without the teacher being there, and can also watch the next lesson before class. After each test I make a screencast on each question and this allows the students to concentrate on the questions they got wrong rather than me going through the whole test, which might demotivate some students.”

“Recently I made a revision treasure hunt using QR codes on different aspects of the IGCSE – including a Doceri video presenting both the question and the solution. Three classes worked on the treasure hunt simultaneously, with students accessing the videos using their own smart phones and working on areas of the course they found challenging.”

Mark asked students to provide feedback via PadLet, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. View Mark’s student’s comments here on Padlet.

As an example, one of his Year 13 students remarked: “I find the videos are helpful for a few reasons. The first is that we can see a step by step solutions of questions we’ve done, which can be re watched as many times as needed and allows us to focus on the parts we’ve had problems on. Also the fact that we can see the solution outside of class means we have more time in class to do extra work or find any problems that arise that aren’t explained by the videos as you aren’t tied up repeating the same explanations to each student or entire double period going through the test. Thank you Mr. Willis”

What advice do you have for new Doceri teachers?
“If I have any advice for teachers using Doceri,” Mark says, “it is do not be nervous about making videos for your students – they will love it. Please do not be frightened to listen to your own voice, after all your students have to everyday. Also, let them point out any mistakes as it easy to record again.”

Sample Screencast: Solving a Trigonometric Equation Analytically and with a TI-Nspire graphing calculator

“This screencast is for IB Mathematics Standard Level (SL) or HL showing how to use a Pythagorean identity to solve a trigonometric equations both analytically and using the TI-Nspire graphing calculator,” Mark says. “The TI-Nspire software is on my Mac Book Pro and this video illustrates how easy it is to flip from the Doceri work page to any software on your desktop and back again. My students use the screencast to help them with their homework or to recap the main points of a lesson.”


What’s next for Mr. Willis?

“The Internet provides a wonderful opportunity for all students in the world to assess educational materials which might not be available to them due to their circumstances,” he says. “Universities are now offering their courses for free on the Internet through Coursera, edX and Apple iTunes U. I am currently working on an iTunes U course which will help potential IB Mathematics students bridge the gap in Algebra from IGCSE to IB. You can be sure that Doceri screencasts will feature heavily in this project!”


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