Day one: Here goes nothing!
I had my students watch a voicethread that was made from the exact same powerpoint lesson that we had just gone through in class. This was a lesson on change of base. I asked them to comment on the voicethread. My suggestions for their comments were things like:
In this particular powerpoint, the slides were arranged so that the entire solution to a problem was revealed one step at a time as the slides progressed. As I said, they had already seen the whole thing in class, so this was a repeat performance.
- This part confused me
- I found this easy
- I still don’t get this step
Or, if they wanted to respond to someone else’s comment:
- I think I know the answer to your question
- I got confused here too lol
The result was that most of the kids commented only on the very last slide, and most of the comments were kind of an overall assessment of the lesson. Almost all recorded their voice. I could tell from their voices that they were all feeling a little self conscious!
As for me, I must have checked 20 times for new comments. Most of the time, there weren’t any.
Day two: Revelations:
The first came from the fact that now the kids who were away on day one started commenting on the change of base voicethread. These were the kids who missed all the nuances, the chance to ask me questions, the emphasis, etc available during class.
Revelation #1: This is great for kids who were away.
Now the comments were more dispersed, and there were some comments aimed at those comments, like “Oh I forgot how to do this over the holidays” “Me too lol”. Not only that, but some new comments came in from kids who had already done their part, had already commented on day one, but were now having another look at the lesson anyway!
Revelation #2: I need to tell them to have another look at the voicethread to see what other people said about what they said. But I really want them to keep those math thoughts floating about!
After today’s class, I uploaded today’s powerpoint lesson, (solving log equations) but this time, as it happened, we hadn’t had time to look at all of the slides in class, so I told them, go ahead, watch the rest in the voicethread, comment, etc. By chance, this powerpoint was not as stand-alone as the previous one. I had only put in examples, intending to work them out with them in class and summarize as we went along.
HUGE DIFFERENCE! This time, the comments were all over the place! And there were comments on the comments on the comments! Kids were asking questions, kids were answering questions, it was marvellous. Price to pay: most of the comments were now texts, not voices!
Revelation #3: If I want participation, I have to stop explaining everything. And I might have to accept that these darn teenagers just don’t like to talk out loud.
And as for me, just about every time I checked, there was a new comment. Hey there’s another one while I typed this!
Here it is:
Day three: Wagons ho!
So far, so great, if only for the fact that I now know for sure who is doing some math between classes!