Mathcasting

I’d like to use this first major blog post on my new site to share a really exciting development that some of my students have been working on during this semester to reformat learning in a math course. These students have created their own content to be used by their peers. I am thrilled to show off the work of my students and super proud of what they have been able to accomplish over the course of a few months.
Let me give you some background on how I was able to get my classroom structured to make learning like this possible:

Over the last three years I have created many digital lessons for my students using screencasting software to allow them to view lessons multiple times – very useful if they missed a class, wanted to work ahead, or just wanted to look back at a topic.  The website for all of this content is:

mrhanson.pbworks.com

This site now covers material from four school years.  In the process of creating these lessons, I always had in the back of my mind a desire to teach the students how to create their own content for their peers.  I had experimented with simple small group projects over the last two years which introduced students to screencasting software, using a wiki, and embedding videos.  It was really challenging and time consuming.  I didn’t have sufficient time to use in my classroom, because I was teaching in a traditional structure (lecture in class, HW outside of class) and was only able to use a few “spare” days to graze the surface.  We typically did it during the end of semester review for finals.  This year, using my digital lessons, I completely transformed my classroom and flipped the learning format of my classes. This has allowed some students to spend their class time with me learning how to use screencasting software to create their own tutorial site “for students by students” (among other things).  Instead of doing repetitive practice assignments these students  practice their “homework” problems in a different way.  They work through the problems with the focus of being able to teach the concepts to others.  The practice problems, therefore, have a different feel for these students.  They practiced until they were ready to teach.  The whole purpose of this is to allow students to reach the highest level of retention:

To summarize the numbers (which sometimes get cited differently) learners retain approximately:
90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately.
75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration.
20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from lecture.

I know most teachers have seen this before and are working on ways to engage their students to become better learners with more ownership of their work.  The student-made tutorials (that can be found at the site below) are a great way to do this.  The learning of all students is differentiated. I get to spend more time working with kids who are struggling, and encouraging the kids who don’t need my help to move ahead or help tutor others. The result, I believe, is a phenomenal learning experience and the Mathcasting tutorials will be an excellent learning tool for those utilizing it, AND for those creating it!

mathcasting.com

If you view the site, please remember that the students are learning how to become better at teaching/explaining a concept. This is something that they typically haven’t done before, so you’ll notice that the mathcasts are steadily improving.

Over the course of the next few blog posts, I will take you behind the scenes to show how my students were able to utilize their time to create this site. I will also identify the communication tools that were used to extend the mathcasters’ learning environment outside the walls of the classroom.  In the meantime, I encourage you to take a look at the “tech tutorial” page, where I had the original mathcasters tutor the new members on how to do certain “tech tasks”, instead of having me teach each successive student that was added to the group.  I guess you could say that because of the flipped learning that I provided for them, they in turn flipped the learning for the benefit of the other students, themselves, and me 🙂

Again, lots more to come on this topic and I can’t wait to show you more.   Welcome!

Bjorn

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