Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Easily Create Instructional Videos with ShowMe

ShowMe is a Free iPad App that allows teachers and students to create instructional videos.  It's extremely easy to use and has many possible applications in the classroom.  Videos can be made public or kept private.  The privacy feature is helpful when using with students.  

The ShowMe website has a search feature that allows you to search for videos on particular topics.  Unfortunately, many of the videos for math only show rote steps for solving a skill problem. Hopefully, more teachers will begin to include videos that demonstrate conceptual development of topics and give motivation for needing to solve the problem.  If you'd like to see an example of a video that shows conceptual development of a topic, check out this video by Laurie Baker.  Laurie uses boxes to demonstrate conceptual development of adding fractions.

ShowMe would be excellent for days that you need a substitute.  You could record video examples. All the substitute has to do is show the videos to the class. 

While ShowMe is great for creating examples for students to view and use, it would be even better to get your students creating their own videos!

Here are some ideas for using ShowMe with math students:
  • Brainstorming:  Give students a "real world" problem and have small groups video tape a brainstorming session for solving the problem.  (They can draw and write their ideas as they record their voices.)  Use the videos to spark discussions on the best way to approach the problem.  ---  The videos could be posted on a blog or other type forum.  You could have students watch and comment on the videos for homework.  Start the next class period with a discussion of which methods would be best for solving the problem.  At this point students should be ready to tackle the problem using the method(s) they think are best.
  • Exit Slips:  Have students create a short video explaining how to solve a problem and use this as their Exit Slip at the end of the period.
  • Estimation and Multiple Solution Strategies:  Give students a problem and have them describe how to estimate the answer or how the problem can be solved in multiple ways.
  • Peer Review for Reflection and Improvement:  Have students create videos on a given topic and post on a blog or other forum for their classmates to review.  Students can critique each others work by leaving comments about the video.  After reading the comments (positive and constructive), have students remake their videos incorporating the feedback they received. ----  Warning:  Before doing this, make sure to set guidelines for comments.  Give students specific examples of appropriate and inappropriate comments and give specifics on what a constructive comment looks like. 
  • Portfolios:  Have students create videos during or at the end of each unit you teach.  Then have them add their videos to an electronic portfolio (ex.  blog, LiveBinders, NetVibes, etc.).  Periodically, have students go back and reflect on the videos in their portfolio.  Here are some possible reflection questions:   "Did you solve the problem correctly?"  "Would you still solve the problem the same way?  Why or why not?"  "Is there a better or more efficient way you could have solved this problem?"  "What have you learned about this topic since this video was made?"
  •  Student Led Conferences/Parent Conferences:  Have students create videos demonstrating things they've learned so they can show their parents during a parent conference.  This can also be a great way for teachers to demonstrate the student's strengths and weaknesses to parents.
What are your ideas for using ShowMe with math students?  Leave a comment and tell us what you'd do.

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