Remote Learning — Week 4
Like many teachers thrust into emergency remote learning I’ve been making videos for my classes. Having observed the flipped classroom bubble from a safe distance, I definitely had opinions about instructional videos, even if I didn’t have much experience making them myself.
I got some good advice from a colleague early on: Don’t waste time replicating what’s already out there. It’s the kind of obvious advice someone used to doing everything from scratch needs to hear. Using Khan Academy videos wouldn’t be my first instinct, but they’ve been a useful resource for teaching AP calculus: They’re aligned to the curriculum, they cover the key procedures, and they already exist.
The existence of a core set of instructional videos for calculus has allowed me to use my limited time to target what my students want and need: They’ve asked for videos that explain concepts, cover more challenging examples, and review our assessment items. I can invest my time in those, as well as videos for my geometry classes, for which there aren’t as many suitable resources available.
I’d say the most useful videos I make are those that are responsive to my students. They are videos driven by student need or informed by student work. Making a video review of a math task for a class is much more meaningful having looked at all of the students’ work. The video isn’t just about what I would do; it’s about what we all have done.
There’s this ideal of “putting your course out there”, publishing your full set of instructional videos once they’re set and done. But at the moment the value in video for me is in capturing and narrating our shared mathematical experience. Those videos have value for us right now, but maybe not the next time around, when a different group is experiencing a different story.