A series of short posts about specific elements of teaching practice that I think are effective and make life interesting. Some are based on my own lessons and others are borrowed from lessons I’ve observed.
This Pedagogy Postcard is about using a visualiser or ipad to capture students’ work as they are doing it, to share with the class. It’s closely linked to an earlier post Great Lessons 9: Possibilities. I see this technique a lot all over my school and use it myself as much as I can. It’s such a powerful method for getting into the detail of what standards are expected. At KEGS we have some fancy visualisers but I have found that my ipad is all I need. It can be used in camera mode, raised on a box…
But increasingly I just use it to snap pictures and project those.. it saves a lot of fiddling about. Recently, I used it for my electricity unit with Year 9. I’ve captured a sample circuit with ammeter readings visible and a good circuit layout to reinforce the learning next lesson. (Incidentally this was part of a co-constructed lesson; Kieret here was explaining what students had to do)
I used the method a lot with a recent Y9 chemistry unit. It’s perfect for looking at graphs. We projected these examples from different students to identify good features, errors, areas to improve and to take some gradient measurements, writing over the projected image. We tackled the issue of ‘joining the dots’ rather than plotting smooth curves.
This exercise really helped to show that ‘rate of reaction’ could not only be compared but quantified and measured… a new and fairly advanced concept for Year 9… but is was easy to show.
Finally, it’s hard to discuss students’ written work when they’ve all had a go at getting their ideas down. You can ask students to read out their efforts..but nothing beats showing the work visually – or taking a snap and projecting it. Here are some examples: they throw up lots of things to share – some great bits of analysis and some obvious mistakes (which is what you want):
Students are usually happy for their work to be shared in this way provided that you can say plenty of good things about it relative to the mistakes or areas for improvement. It’s a judgement as to whether to go for the best examples or those with more issues to discuss.
You can apply this method to work that has been done for homework too – obviously enough. Actually that’s very helpful. But I find the live sampling especially effective.. cruising the classroom taking photos of work to show the class. (I don’t have any of those gizmos that allows me do it wirelessly from where I’m standing but even the hassle of plugging in via my VGA cable is well worth it!…it’s not really a hassle.)
The key thing is for this method to reinforce an overarching ‘ethic of excellence’ approach, as in Ron Berger’s ‘Austin’s Butterfly’ video…as described in this post – using the feedback process to challenge mediocrity and focus on the details.