Wednesday, July 27, 2011

YouTube Teacher Studio

I've arrived at Google!
Today, I had the honour of participating in the first ever YouTube Teacher Studio and can now proudly call myself a "YouTube Star Teacher".

Our sessions were held at the Google Offices in Kincaid. Just being inside the Google buildings was an experience in itself. Google treats their employees really well to ensure that they are the most productive they can be. As guests, we also got to experience some of their many perks. I can't go into much detail, but I do have to say that all the teachers were very envious of the cafeteria and the readily available snacks and beverages available throughout the day. We thought that we would be very productive educators if we could enjoy some of these many perks in our staff lounges.

During our day, our small group of 15 educators was treated to a number of presentations and  smaller workshops. We learned so much I can't share it all in one blog post! I know I will be posting more about what we learned in more detail as I start to apply and use what I learned in my practice.

New Tools from YouTube
To start our day, we were lucky enough to receive three wonderful gifts, a YouTube Flip HD pocket video camera, a mini tripod and a Bamboo tablet. All these tools will help us produce our future videos that we will be hosting on our channels on YouTube.

During our first session with history teacher James Sanders, we learned about how to use the power of  YouTube in the classroom to support instruction and engage students. We were saw numerous examples of how Sanders uses video to support his students and to differentiate instruction. One idea shared that particularly resonated with me was how to help students to dig deeper into concepts by providing them with YouTube playlists that support what they are learning to watch when they are done their assignments in class. Students who are done earlier than everyone else are often a challenge to keep engaged and busy in a classroom so I thought that this was a great idea to deepen their understanding and let them go further. I also really liked the idea of having a YouTube center where students watch videos made by the teacher that gives them the content they need and administers an assignment or quiz through the use of Google Forms. The other students are then working in a smaller group with the Teacher answering questions and getting further explanation and practice.

During our next session with chemistry teacher, Ramsey Musllam, we learned all about screencasting and the power of capturing direct instruction and assigning it as homework. This approach is know as flip teaching. Musllam demonstrated how to make screencasts of his explanations in chemistry and gave us examples of how he uses them in his classroom. His website, flipteaching.com has wonderful examples and resources anyone could use to try flip teaching in their classroom. This is an approach I plan to explore further in my classroom this year. We also got some hands on experience with our new Bamboo tablets and experimented with screencasting.

Our final presenter was Jim Sill who used to work in the TV and movie industry and is now a video production teacher. He showed us the basics of video production and gave us some simple techniques to ensure we are making quality videos. We also later had a hands on component where we got to practice what he had shown us and make short videos using our new Flip cameras.

The whole day was a fantastic experience to share with other educators how we are already using video in our classrooms, learn so new techniques and to brainstorm new ideas about how we will use video in the future. There is a lot more to come on this topic so please come back to read more about my adventures with YouTube. I'm so excited about the future possibilities of this new adventure.