After completing the short course offered by Amplifieducation, I decided to make my first try with my very own screencasts. As told in a previous post, the biological aspects of sexual education have been traditionally the highlight of this unit, but far away from being the most significant. Sexuality means so much more than anatomy, fertilization and ovulatory cycle. It is however important that the kids manage general knowledge if we want to go further into topics like abortion, contraceptive methods, sexual consent and gender identity.
And there is the curriculum. And there is the truth for the students, that sometimes you have to accept aspects of a subject that are not so appealing, even if of course that depends on the orientation the students chose. My humanistics students express far less enthusiasm than my biological orientation students. But all of them have to be familiar with basic facts about how our body works.
This unit took me normally many lessons with a powerpoint. This year I split it up in five 10 min subunits and screencasted the explanation on my powerpoint. I learned to use some powerpoint tricks, like laserpoint and pen writing. I uploaded the videos on my modest youtube channel and organized the class in 5 groups. Each student would watch the assigned video. Then I handed some printouts out, they would watch again and take notes.
I observed the students and to my surprise, the attention was very very high. I saw them smiling because they recognized my voice and my personal style. They found it cool. They were able to stop the video whenever they wanted. Differentiation, each one at his/her own pace.
There are of course infinite great videos about female reproductive system, male reproductive system, etc on the internet. Probably with less mistakes, with better planned scripts and great images. But I think the kids appreciated to have a familiar voice, and they also made comments like wondering how much effort I put in that, just for them (they are used to youtubers that try to earn money with videos).
At the end I send them a feedback survey. The results were interesting (n=35):
- The videos were about 10 min long: no student found it too long, and 35% answered that maybe it was too long.
- Only 13% found the video moderately boring. no student found it terribly boring and 20% found it very interesting
- 85% of the students learned something they never heard before, the contents was novel to them
- 83% of the students found this way to listening to new material very good, only one didn’t like the method
- However, almost 30% of the kids still prefer the teacher telling the same things alive, and the gross 60% is not sure if they prefer this method or the “live”.
- Interestingly, 85% of the kids recognize that this method could be useful later on (mostly they understand that for studying for a test, as “I don’t have you at home if I didn’t understand”, but also as a reliable source of information in case they need to know something at a certain moment of their lives: “having access to these videos maybe could help me later in life if I have questions about some topic”)
I think, as a general conclusion, that this is a powerful resource for certain specific topics, that should not be abused by the teacher. Of course, for me it was so relaxing, such a difference with previous years, where I had to say the same things over and over in 5 classes. Here, in our country, the emotional connection student-teacher is of a very high importance, and this is why most of them still prefer to look the teacher in the eyes while they get an explanation, make their spontaneous questions, interact. I would try to shorten the screencasts next time.
Next step: each groups has to design a kahoot to assess their classmates. By doing so, they clearly take the teacher’s role and learn a lot on the way. Next class we will be having mixed groups, with one expert of each group present, explaining their topic to the others. Then they will assess each other playing the kahoots.
I am very happy about how I resolved this subunit this year.
Of course, many people would say I could have done PBL, but: don’ t abuse of the method. We cannot have students working on projects the whole school year.