Sunday, March 17, 2013

Grab Your Popcorn! It's Crime Lab 2013 Movie Time!

I have never enjoyed grading as much as I did while viewing the movies created by my students for our crime lab. Here are the main lessons I learned from this project to remember for next year.

1. Only allow students to use first names in projects. I will not post anything on here that has a last name. That definitely limits me on the number of videos I can show you.

2. You can never have enough bandwidth when uploading projects. Thank goodness I was on spring break the week after projects were due. I was able to focus on getting the projects uploaded to Vimeo when no one else was on our network. Even at that, I averaged 10 minutes per iPad movie.

3. Check weekly limits for free video uploading so you don't have to pay.  Because I did not want to spend money when uploading videos, I could only upload about 20 movies a week. I was lucky to have my weekly limit reset on Tuesdays to get them all done.

4. Providing an iMovie tutorial is extremely helpful to keep frustration at a minimum.  Students were at different levels of comfort with the app so I made sure I was available to help learn the quirks with them and share anything learned from other students as the days progressed. There are some fabulous YouTube tutorials out there!

5. Be patient and prepared for failure. In anything new, especially technology minded, I have learned that what I think will take 20 minutes may take an hour. However, I have learned more from those failures than anything that goes right the first time through.

6. Be ready to have your socks knocked off! I am still marveled by my students. I am one proud "school mom"!

Grab your popcorn and enjoy the shows!

To learn more ways in which I am using technology in my classroom, follow me on Twitter @eglassman757.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Please DO Ask Questions and Make Comments During the Movie!

Today I used a new twist on the old... Today'sMeetThe old is watching a movie, and the new is being allowed to have a conversation while the movie is playing!  I learned about this website back in November from Shawn McCusker ( and am finally putting it to use. 

By using Today'sMeet, I am looking at the "back channel" of my classroom. What are back channels you might wonder? They are the behind the scenes conversations and notes that students use to seek clarification during classroom activities. They are secondary conversations to what is primarily happening in the classroom.  

We started the movie, Gattaca, in biology today. If you haven't seen it, the plot consists of a society in the "not so distant future" that uses genomics and biometrics to create and organize society. Students have many questions about the movie, especially on the first day. Before class, I created a Today'sMeet url for each class. It is very simple and lasts for a set amount of time. I selected ours for one week. This url is then provided to students to join the chat.
When my students came to class, they used their assigned iPads to log on to the network. I then explained the "Rules of Theater 416." Your rules need to be well defined. Posts cannot be erased and are seen by all who participate. 

This is what the conversation looks like on the iPad screen.
 I kept the rules clear and simple:
1.       Only have the Today'sMeet page open on your iPad. All other apps are closed.
2.    Log-in using first name.
3.       Post an original comment or question during the movie.
4.       Respond to another student’s comment or question during the movie.
5.       Any unacceptable posts will result in a zero for the assignment.

So, how did it go? Check out this screen shot for the answer.  This is just a portion of a conversation during the first 30 minutes of the movie.

This is a screen shot of a portion of the transcript from one class.
I launched this idea today hoping that it just wouldn't crash and burn. Instead, I am marveled by the genuine interest and dialogue shared by my students. I can't wait to see what I will learn from them tomorrow.

To learn more ways in which I am using technology in my classroom, follow me on Twitter @eglassman757.