“Experience is the best teacher, but the tuition is high.” - Norwegian Proverb
If you are interested to see their efforts, please head to the Grade 9 Showcase and the Grade 11 Showcase for examples.
Some things bad?
The minor things (like wasted time) were a bit of an irritation. For example, the server was down at the Show Me site for one entire math period. Ugh. Just when the students were prepared and excited!
Then there were the time wasters of the perfectionists...or the ones who giggle too much...or the ones who just have trouble getting started.
What I didn't expect (and really should have) was the possibility of students getting carried away. It started out all fun and games, but some students brought in sound effects. The sound of applause was kind of cute to end a video, but when other solutions started to take on other kinds of sound effects...well...let's just say we agreed not to post those ones!
The Show Me App does have its limitations. Many students implored to take the video and edit it. This is not possible with the app itself (at least I couldn't see how), so I simply said "take 2" with a smile.
And with the younger students, I felt the need to preview all videos before posting them. And I was so glad that I did, as you will see in the "ugly" paragraph. But here, let's talk about time involved. Each student with two or more 3 to 5 minute videos. You do the math...eeks! This was way more time than I had bargained for when planning for these lessons! Now that we have gone through the process and have had several class discussions, I am confident that I will not need to preview before posting in the future. There were still a great number of hours invested to get to this point....worth it, but time just the same.
Some things ugly?
We are quite multicultural at our school, and one encounters many different accents and attitudes within each class. My experiences with the younger students was much different from those with the older students. I suppose that I should not be surprised, as the older students have had more opportunity for those discussions along the way in their development. I have not had much opportunity in my math class to have those discussions that I am referring to...the ones about racist statements and the like. These were uncomfortable but much needed conversations. These conversations were uncomfortable for me only because I have had little experience in them for a class setting. This usually doesn't come up in math class (at least not for me).
Now, there really was no intent from the students to be racist. In fact, the students were horrified that I would suggest that someone might take some of their comments that way. But these were good conversations to have with each other. As my Granddad used to say to me all the time..."nothing so bad it isn't good for something".
And things good?
My overall experience was one that I had not anticipated. Sure, there was the bad and the ugly... but things did turn out all good in the end. Together we learned as much about each other and what we value in life as we did about mathematics and problem solving! How can that not be a good thing?
I look forward to using the Show Me app in future with my classes. I have learned that discussing ground rules and audience are more important than I first realized. Most importantly though, I have learned that the students LOVE to create. I need to provide them with more opportunities for them to do this in my classroom.