My second graders will explain to the first graders, some of the most important elements of second grade.
This is a first for all of us. We are trying to record and live stream using UStreamtv.com
I am broadcasting live at http://ustre.am/109p5 come and check it out! This will take place at 12:30 pm on Thursday, June 13, 2013.
This week I tackled the assignment of creating a live broadcast. My first step was to view and read the the resources shared in this week’s introduction to our course. I was advised by my colleague and school tech teacher, to try Google Hangouts. So I viewed the Google Hangouts videos that were in the introduction this week. This helped me understand that Google Hangouts is similar to Skype. So, I had made up my mind to learn how to use the Google Hangouts. I downloaded the app and played with it a little bit. When I viewed the tutorial video for it, the advice was to use something like Audacity to record the audio and Screencast-o-matic to record the video and the to use UStream.tv. Now I started to get a little bit anxious. I had to run four different apps all at once? This would be a little confusing to keep track of. However, I thought, of course I can do this, I just need to practice a little bit. I have used Audacity and Screencast-o-matic. The only new ones for me were Google Hangouts and UStream.
The other part I need to share with you is what I decided I would broadcast. I knew it needed to include me and I was very relieved to see that I could include colleagues or classmates. Since I knew I would need to do this during this past week, when I would be at school most of the time, I decided to incorporate my second graders into the video. This way, during our last full week of school, I could have them do a “fun” technology project with me, that would be productive and would teach them some new technology. So I decided to have my second graders be interviewed by me about advice they thought they could give to the first graders about coming to second grade next year. I posed the possibility of this project to the students and they were all for it.
The process proceeded by having the second graders list the most important pieces of advice they wanted to share. I recorded these ideas and we categorized them in categories such as classwork, homework, classroom rules, classroom materials, how we line up and behavior system. From there we developed the questions I would ask them, that would make sense for the predetermined answers they had just generated as advice.
Then I started to practice using Google Hangouts and tried to figure out how I would simultaneously use Audacity, Screencast-o-matic and UStream TV. I began realizing I didn’t know how to get it all together at once. It was when I explored the UStream TV a little more thoroughly that I realized, UStream TV could do everything I needed by itself. It was a live stream, it recorded audio and video and it developed a link to share with the first graders to watch live. Phew, I was relieved! This was not going to be so bad after all.
We began to practice with student volunteers being interviewed by me. During this practice I learned it was impossible for the rest of my students to be quiet while I was practicing with one or two students. I had to pick a time to practice and to do the real broadcast when my students were out of the classroom, and I could just pull a few students to be with me to do this broadcast. It ended up working out just fine because about half of my twelve students said they were really not comfortable with doing the project and being live on camera. So I worked with five students who wanted to do the recording while the rest were in music class. They chose the questions they wanted to answer and we left the other ones out.
Before broadcasting, I sent a letter home to parents explaining what I was doing and asked for permission to have students participate. All of the parents were on board with the project and the recording. I was a little bit uncomfortable with putting my students on Facebook, but I do not have many Facebook “friends”. All of the ones I have are family, close friends and educators; in other words, they are trusted by me. I posted the invitation to view the livestream on Facebook and on my blog. After it was finished I also shared my blog link to parents who had missed it and wanted to see it. I also invited all the staff and students at our school to view the live broadcast via email.
The actual broadcasting went fairly well. I was concerned about the audio, and wasn’t sure if we should use headphones or not. I tried with and without, and decided to go without and that worked fine. We used a webcam so we could fit up to three of us in the camera’s view. One problem I had was that I had all five students with me during it. As I interviewed two, the other three were to sit quietly and wait their turn. Well, that didn’t happen. It was too difficult for them to sit and wait their turn. They did wander around the room, and they got in the background of the filming. I had to talk to them as the live stream was happening. It was all very real - no editing! After it was all finished, when I was saving the recording, a computer phantom suddenly clicked ahead into another screen before I could actually hit a save button. I thought I had lost it all. I had a 35 second practice broadcast that was saved. I thought I would have to use that one. Fortunately, later that night I searched through the site and my dashboard and the real recording was there. So I was able to download it onto my desktop then copy and paste it into this blog page. It must take awhile to appear in the list of recordings.
The first graders, by the way, did tune in live and watched our broadcast. They made comments about some of the content and they noticed that my students were not always behaving in their best way. It was a learning experience in more ways than one! Here is another reason why it is good for my students to be recorded, so they can see their behavior and learn from it.
What I learned was how to use UStreamtv.com. It is very easy and I would definitely use it with students in the future. It will give them an audience to perform for, namely their parents, classmates and other students and teachers in the building. It will give them a way to view themselves and help them improve the content of what they are presenting and the way they present the material. I would like to use it myself to share information with parents or even students that are not in school. I also learned how to use Google Hangouts and I can see that using both of these sites can foster collaboration among my colleagues that are not in my own building. Since I am the only second grade teacher in my building, I could use these to collaborate with other teachers, in my district, and at other schools.
This project ended up being a lot of fun. It was also a good way for me to view myself and learn where I can improve the way I questions students, respond to students and present myself in front of an audience.