Link to Final Project Blog, complete with About section and Everything!(Video can also be found on blog):http://msspectorsartclass.wordpress.com/
Final Project Reflection:
Ok. I have been putting off writing this because I have very mixed feelings about the product I created. In terms of creating a teaching tool for students, would I use this video for my hypothetical flipped classroom? Maybe… not… I think it still needs some work. It gets the point across but I think that if I could do it again I would make better use of the technology and be more thoughtful about exactly what information I included.
I tackled a few different issues with my flipped classroom video. A really big one was how to concisely and clearly communicate about a big topic in a little video. A big mistake I made was not precisely planning what I wanted to say and show in the video before beginning production. Once production started it took me such a long time to get to know Flash and get a couple words to move across the screen that in the interest of time there was no going back. Oh well. On the bright side, I did learn a lot about the program. I do think that I have a lot more to learn, and even that there are other programs better suited for the task. For example, I could look into using Animoto, a free online service (well, free to educators at least) that can be used to put together simple video presentations. I wrote about Animoto a few blog entries back. In the future I may use a simpler program such as this to put together my flipped video. But I felt for this project I wanted a challenge and at the very least I can say I have a remedial knowledge of flash. I think I underestimated how intricate that program can get and am a little embarrassed by how basic and rudimentary my video ended up.
But onto the positive! I did learn a lot about myself, and I assembled a blog in no time. I have never used a blog or wordpress before this class, so I feel kind of accomplished about the blog I made. I think I chose a really clear layout and navigated the site really easily in putting it together (which I had a hard time with when making my personal class blog). As I was writing up my fake entries I realized that I have a tendency to offer a LOT of information. You probably got a sense of that from my lengthy entries.. I can get carried away and ramble when I write. So I really edited down and tried to make my blog serve one purpose and one purpose only. It is a place to view video homework assignments. The way I interpret flipping the classroom is students get a peak of what’s to come the next class, build a little background knowledge and vocab, and can come to class with questions. I know some teachers show homework videos in lui of in class lectures or conversations, but I love having an exchange with my students so I would use flipping to help us do that rather than replace it.
The video I made is designed to be watched the night before a lesson I taught on Abstract Expressionist Sam Gilliam for arts 101 at Wittier Elementary (a STEM school). The lesson for a 6th grade art class that met once a week for 40 minutes. I felt that this was the perfect scenario to build my flipped video around because it is a STEM school so the students have access to computers and internet at school, and I also ran into some challenges that flipping may help address. In the actual lesson that I taught we began by going through a power point and discussing what abstract expressionism meant, and took a look at Sam Gilliam’s artwork. Because it was only a 40 minute period and I was only with the class for a few weeks I really wished I could have packed in more discussion AND art making. Typically we discussed for one class and made art the next time I saw them, but something was getting lost in the week that passed in between. My idea for the flipped videos is to build the basics for the conversation before coming to class (for example, establishing key vocabulary as I do in my Expressionism video), so that we can talk for 10 minutes and then dive in; a healthy mix of discussion and studio time. I spent a lot of time establishing vocabulary with the class before we could use it in discussion so I designed my flipped video to introduce the vocab words prior to class. My hope is that by giving all my students this base understanding of certain terms, like Expressionism, Abstraction, Abstract Expressionism, students who are less familiar with the terms will be more likely to speak. I found that when I asked questions about words and meanings it was usually just one or two students who participated. I want to make everyone comfortable with the terms so we can dig in and explore the meanings as soon as class starts. Other benefits I’d hope to see from applying the flipped model would include having the video as a resource the students can reference again and again, and enforcing the terms and concepts by covering them both in and out of class. I also think that having a video with words and visuals, in addition to a class discussion can reach a wider range of learning styles. Equally beneficial to different learning styles is the difference in setting between covering the subject in and out of class; some students may absorb information better on their own time and visa versa. If students do not have access to computers or the web from home I feel confident that they could take 50 seconds to view the homework video from a school computer (another motivator for me making it brief). Though blog sites are blocked from the DCPS wireless network (thanks Mara for the heads up!), the videos are available on Youtube, so I would have students write down the web address or have it bookmarked on the art room computers.
Whether or not the video I made would accomplish some or any of the goals I laid out in the last paragraph I can’t say yet. I would probably re-do it and take more time in really deciding how to best approach explaining a word or concept in under a minute. I want my videos to be short, sweet introductions to a topic we’ll cover more in depth in class. What I don’t want to do is confuse or overwhelm my students with an unclear video. That’s my fear in flipping the classroom: offering unclear information that students cannot immediately ask questions about, overwhelming them, and then having them come to class more confused than prepared. To avoid that I want to make my videos very brief and to the point. I can say that after doing this project I really want to try flipping the classroom to see how it goes! I really believe in the benefits I mentioned in this post and I think that once I get my technical ability under control and make a product I feel really confident in I can take it for a test run. Using digital media to reach students while their outside the classroom is such a brilliant application. With more knowledge of the programs out there I could make videos that have music and voice overs, reaching my students through a visual and audio channel (more learning styles tapped into!). My biggest setback in making this project was my lack of experience with Flash, but it was also my biggest challenge so I don’t feel too bad about it. All it means is that I have room for improvement. As far as considering the application of digital media in the classroom setting, I feel that I have some really strong and exciting ideas for flipping my classroom and am really enthusiastic about testing and exploring this method.
Thanks for a great summer semester, I learned so much in these few weeks and am leaving feeling really ready to apply all the knowledge.