Do…Doo…Doodlecast!

Hopefully by now, you have familiarized yourself with the “Flipped Classroom” concept and the many benefits that it brings to the education environment. You might even be ready to test the waters with your first flipped lecture. Remember to start simple and start small! Doodlecast Pro can help to meet both of those requirements.

Doodlecast Pro is an easy to use iOS based app to create flipped lectures for your students. This app will record what you say as you draw on the screen with a stylus or even your finger to help create quick lectures that can then be shared with others. Once saved, it is not difficult to import them into most common video formats to edit for a polished look.
Some of the best features include:
•An easy “undo” button for those times when what you see is not what you want.
•The ability to save your videos directly to your photo album for easy retrieval.
•Self-contained support and access to Dropbox, YouTube as well as the ability to email.
•Multiple choices of brush color and width to make just the right point in just the right place.

According to the Doodlecast Pro website, the purposes and ranges of videos include:
•Doodlecast Pro helps you create and share videos for a range of purposes:
•Prepare lessons to share with your students.
•Create video school reports on your favourite topic.
•Provide feedback on visual designs, layouts, or charts.
•Annotate charts and graphs for business presentations.
• Capture mind maps and notes during brainstorming sessions.

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I Just Read It For The Pictures!

A Guide To Infographics

You have seen them. Pictures that spout information in a visual manner. USA Today was one of the first to really bring them to the forefront. Infographics. But what are they…really? The website Visually defines them as:

An easy-to-read illustration that helps tell a story and makes data points easier to understand. And it doesn’t hurt when infographics are not only clear and straightforward but also beautiful and engaging. The aesthetic design draws the viewer in; the information helps the viewer analyze and understand the data being presented.

In other words, Infographics are a popular way to compress informational items into an easy-to-understand format. Infographics are often used to represent data, which might otherwise be hard for readers to grasp or remember. As shown by the illustration below, infographics are not a 21st century invention.

infographic_eqypt

EMS is very familiar with infographics as illustrated by the graphic from the American Stroke Association.

infographic_stroke

According to Mark Smiciklas, author of the book The Power of Infographics: Using Pictures to Communicate and Connect with Your Audiences, “one of the primary reasons infographics work well as a communication tool can be linked to eyesight and the neurological connection of our eyes and brain.” He also asserts that our vision accounts for up to half of the function of the brain. As we are built to utilize information more effectively when presented in a visual form, infographics may be a better way to process material than text alone.

Tools To Develop Awesome Infographics for the Classroom

Visually
Visually is a one stop shop that allows the educator to design, create and launch effective infographics.

Vector_Tut
Vector Tuts+ is an excellent resource of tutorials, blogs and examples of HOW to create educational infographics.

infogram
Infogram has over thirty templates to guide you through the process.

pikto
Piktochart gives you the tools you need to produce infograms in three easy steps.

There you have it. The guide to infograms! What will your thousand word picture say?

Have You Flipped??? Part 3 of 3

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In parts one and two of this blog entry, we have looked at the why and how of flipping your classroom. In this final installment, let’s take a look at some low cost, no cost software that will make a flipped classroom possible.

Educreations
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I have discussed this app in a previous post. Visit It’s Alive! to learn how easy it is to use an iPad as a whiteboard as well as the ability to send content to the web for your students to review outside of class.

Teacher Tube
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Teacher Tube is a website creation of an experienced educator. It covers all grade areas from Kindergarten through post-secondary. During a recent search of the phrase “cardiovascular system no less than 40 videos were found in its library. This is a free website that allows the educator to use the work of other’s (properly cited) to begin the flipping process.

Jing
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Are you looking for something simple AND free? Jing, will meet the need! The really awesome thing about Jing is that it will easily capture and save, both screen shots and screen recordings. It resides, unobtrusively, behind a sunburst icon at the top of your screen. Jing purpose is to share images and movies with students quickly and easily. At last check there was a five minute limit on the free account and editing was not available. The videos are stored on Tech Smith’s remote server with a 2 gigabyte limit for the free account.

Screencast O Matic
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If you are looking for a platform to allow longer recordings, up to 15 minutes, Screencast-o-Matic , may be just what you need. Their site allows users, who must register, the ability to create screen recordings and then storm them in “My Screencasts”. It also provides a method by which the educator can request some to do a particular screencast on a specific subject.

There you have it. The hows, the whys and the tools to begin flipping out. Have you already done so? Let us know how it went. Still have questions? Post them in the comments section to get the answers. Happy flipping!

Have You Flipped??? Part 2 of 3

Flipped_2

How to Implement

It takes a lot of time to create a 15 minute video. It can be overwhelming for the person just starting out. You might not have the inclination to change your entire class so it is best to start bit by bit. You might want to create short videos lectures for the primary topics covered in your class. In addition, either embed or give hard copies of quiz questions to the students. This will help to verify that your student have indeed viewed the recording prior to class.

Not only is the flipped classroom a drastic change for instructors, there is the same shift for your students. For those students who are over achievers, flipping your classroom is an awesome concept. On the other hand, some students enjoy sitting and listening to a live lecture. It is really important to discuss this with your students. This is not to say that they students have to “agree” to the process. After all, it is your classroom. However, your students should know what your expectations are and that those expectations include them watching the videos and trying to complete the problems PRIOR to the face to face class meeting.

Don’t wait until the end of your class to evaluate the effectiveness of your flipped classroom. If there are areas of your class that need to be improved, do so before you begin a new class. Use the input of your current students to advise what the strengths and weaknesses of the class were. They will be your best gauges of quality.

The upcoming third and final installment of this series will examine some tools that will help you flip the classroom.

Have You Flipped??????

Flipped

In previous posts, I spoke of the concept of “flipping” your classroom. I invite you to join me for this mini-series on the concept of homework in the classroom and lecture at home. The next three posts will deal with that practice in greater depth as well as giving you some concrete tools to accomplish it.

If you are like me, at some point in your elementary school years you were introduced to the infamous “word math problem”. It started something like this: “If a train leaves New York traveling at 70 mph and another leaves Los Angeles traveling at 60 miles a hour, what will be their speed when they impact?” Impact? Speed? I’m thinking, “is the scene safe, BSI, etc…”
I seemed to understand how to solve this type of problem as long as I was in the classroom. But as soon as I got home, it seemed that someone had shaken my head like an Etch a Sketch so that anything that I “thought” I knew in class vaporized. Flipping the classroom holds great hope for teachers being able to be available at any time.

In the flipped classroom, educators record and post video lectures for their students to watch as part of their out of classroom homework. Instructors record video lectures that are NO MORE than 15 minutes in length. It is best if the videos address one topic per video. This can be done with software and apps that are addressed in part three of this blog posting. When students get to class, they focus on the parts of the lesson that they struggle with as well as allowing more hands on time for skills.

I would strongly advise that instructors who wish to flip the classroom choose quality over quantity. Trying to record all topics and launch them simultaneously could lead to disastrous burnout. In addition, using the online discussion tool students are able to interact with peers as well as instructors for additional assistance. After viewing the lectures, students then use the in class time to work on assignments, practical skills and other activities that are enhanced with the actual presence of the instructor. This practice turns in class time into an active learning activity than simply passively listening to lectures.

Using online tools to turn the classroom upside down has seen incredible growth over the past few years especially with the advent of the Khan Academy. The tools used for this endeavor vary from podcasts, to the capture of both screen and audio of the instructor. Some of the apps allow the student to take notes directly from the lecture as well as allowing the instructor to embed quizzes in the lecture. The results can be emailed directly to the instructor upon completion of the module.

Supporters say that using the flipped concept allows more one on one time with the student who might be struggling while those students who have mastered the lesson can be used to help mentor others. In addition, being able to pause, work, rewind, and review the recorded lessons allows them to learn at their own pace. In areas of the country that are prone to severe weather, or with students who must be absent because of illness or other issues, the recorded lectures prove a benefit to staying on schedule with your lessons. Once the lessons have been recorded, it requires a minimum of time and effort to maintain them.

One of the mantras found in EMS is the “See one, do one, teach one”. A concept that EMS educators must keep at the forefront is that of enhancing the leadership abilities of their students. Encouraging students who easily grasp classroom concepts allows those students to help others, potentially planting a seed to grow into a future EMS educator.

Critics say that teaching be video is still teaching by lecture, the least effective method of teaching. The answer to this argument is that all learning involves some component of lecture. If all we are going to do is to require the student to “watch” the video and nothing else, then the argument is a valid one. However, the passive part of the learning takes place outside of the classroom to allow time in class for the active part. The active section of learning takes place in the classroom when the instructor is available to help direct the psychomotor section of the learning.

Some may also say that the use of the video lecture removes the personal interaction between the student and instructor. I would disagree with this and put forth that, on the contrary, it increases it. Using the flipped concept allows the instructor to have more one on one time during the scheduled class thus increasing the face to face time between the two. In the flipped classroom the instructor can provide the lesson content to the student prior to meeting face to face. The student reviews the information at his or her own pace. This allows the face to face contact to be more meaningful as well as…dare I say it…fun! The instructor generally will then have more time to go into greater detail about questions that the students might have. Students also tend to have more time to discuss and get into greater detail about the lesson. Students who are struggling can now have much more in the way of one on one directed help.

So…have you tried flipping the classroom? What problems did you encounter? If you haven’t tried it yet, what holds you back? Post your comments and questions here and let’s help each other along the journey.

Part 2, the nuts and bolts of how to start flipping, coming on Tuesday.

No Wrath From Khan Here!

In 2004 Sal Khan was making a prosperous living as a hedge fund analyst at Connective Capital in NYC. He began tutoring his younger cousin, who lived in New Orleans in mathematics using Yahoo! Doodle notepad. His cousin moved to NYC and Khan was pleased to be able to tutor her in person. The problem was that she “liked recorded Cousin Sal more than real life Cousin Sal”. After he picked his ego off the floor, he asked why. His cousin said that with “recorded Cousin Sal” she could review the session as many times as she wanted. He began to think that he might be on to something in the area of educational tutoring.

Khan quit his job in 2009 to work full time at the Khan Academy. The website has over 4000 (and growing) short lectures that are typically focused on one subject and last no longer than 15 minutes. Although many subjects are covered, there is a robust section addressing topics in mathematics, biology, healthcare and other subjects that could enhance an EMS student’s education. According to their website, the Khan Academy has broadcast approximately 240 million web based mini lectures.

Students can access the lectures at no cost. It is funded by donations in particular by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. All of the videos are available at their website. Khan has added features such as the ability to track students as well as to provide practice homework for reinforcement. Access can be through either a direct log in, Google or Facebook. His delivery technique is conversational and mimics a person tutoring either on a blackboard or piece of paper.

His offering for the EMS student range from a 12 minute presentation on Cardiac Action Potential to an introduction to cardiac anatomy called Meet the Heart. He includes a host of medical conditions that would be very familiar for the EMS student to know.

One possible use for the Khan Academy would be in flipping your classroom. Briefly explained, a flipped classroom makes the student responsible for watching the lectures outside of class. When the students return, the homework, in the format of practical skills, case studies etc. are completed. Many educators contend that this improves the cognitive retention of their students. More on flipped classroom in an upcoming blog.

Possible uses in your classroom:
1. Use the Khan Academy during class. Your students will have the other class members as well as you the instructor, as resources to ask for help. This fosters a mentality of expecting the students to take personal responsibility for their own success in learning
2. Many times we focus primarily on the students who are struggling and neglect those who could use a greater challenge. Assigning extra assignments to those students who have grasped the required material places a challenge in front of them, keeping them engaged and less likely to be bored.
3. Use it as a digital textbook. Khan Academy videos contain background information, problems as well as examples clearly explained with simple but effective illustrations. Assigning related videos as supplemental reading creates an auxiliary textbook with no charge to the student or school.
4. Make up work for when the school has to be closed. In many parts of the country, the winter months can wreak havoc on class schedules. Educators can create and post a list of videos that can be used in case of school closings to help minimize the class from falling behind.

The Khan Academy is a wonderful idea. My personal dream is to develop a similar repository for the EMS student. Until then, explore this site. You will find it is well worth your time.