Educreations: Adding Value to the Classroom

Apps & Mobile, Blog Series, EdTech, Smart Teachers

A few weeks ago I blogged about all the great mentors who are relentlessly cranking out how-to, DIY, and demo videos like it is their mission to teach the world. The list of topics, channels, and video creators is nearly endless. Remember these YouTube numbers?

  • 72 hours of video uploaded every minute
  • 103,680 hours of video uploaded each day
  • Over Four billion hours of video are watched each month
  • Over 800 million viewers each month

By the way, did you know you can add quizzes, questions, and polls right into your YouTube video? Check that out here.

I would like to encourage both classroom teachers and educators who are no longer in the classroom to become video content creators and add to those YouTube production totals (or SchoolTube, TeacherTube, Vimeo, and the like).

Classroom Teachers

You are already creating a ton of content, much of it digital, already each day. You are just one or two steps away from being able to capture those lessons on video and uploading it to to one of the video hosting sites. What’s the advantage in doing this?

Flipping your classroom.

If you capture your lesson on video, students can replay as much as they need to. In essence, you can teach your students at home, in the car, on the bus, in the hallway, wherever they have access to the net, which is how we flip the classroom. Let students view the lesson at home and then do the homework in class where they have access to an expert (you) for help.

Another great place to watch your lesson is right in your own classroom. Double your capacity as a teacher. Let students learn from your own video as you navigate through the room acting as the facilitator to your own instruction, keeping students on task and providing live support where needed. They way teachers move about the classroom has been describe as a well choreographed dance, and that dance has changed with the introduction of technology into the classroom that allows students to work at their own pace and rate. 

Camera shy? No problem. There are a number of screen capture and whiteboard recording options. I recently found Educreations. It’s very easy to use, and the results are quite impressive, and like its name implies, you and your students will be creators. 

What Educreations Does 

Educreations is a recordable interactive whiteboard that captures your voice, handwriting, typed text, and images. The final product is a cool video lesson that teachers can share with students. This is both a web-based app and iPad app. The cost: Free! 

With Educreations, students can replay a teacher’s lesson online on or their iPads as often as the need to master the content. It also takes the camera off the instructor and turns the focus toward the content, and the content is key, right?  It’s like a video of your chalkboard or smartboard.

Educreations_Screenshot 

Educreations also crowdsources for content. Check out the Showcase on their homepage to see lessons that other teachers have contributed. Videos are also curated by topic. Also see the “Featured” tab in the iPad app.

 

Educreations_Choices

 

When you create lessons, you can make them private, or viewable only by your students, or open to the public (my recommendation). 

Check one out here (they are embeddable, too):


 

Educreations as a Student Tool 

Teachers can create their own class sections at Educreations.  They can give their students access by giving them the course code or a direct link. 

Students can create their own accounts on Educreations by signing up on the website or directly from the iPad app.

This is a tool for students, too. Let them record their work with audio, images, and text (typed or handwritten). This is pretty much a basic 21st-century skill. Your students should be practicing it. Some have probably mastered it already. 

Educreations stores students lessons privately. They are only visible to the student and the teacher. Students can share their work with others by copying the URL; otherwise, their lessons remain private. Teachers can view student lessons by clicking on a student’s name on their Educreations roster.

CrowdSourcing on the District Level 

Districts have all kinds of Sal Kahn’s on their payrolls already. You likely already have teachers who are posting content to a video hosting sites. Imagine what you could do with a coordinated effort of curating (collecting and cataloging) those videos for other teachers and students to use. The power of the collective teacher crowd towers over the single individual. This also helps democratize education. If a school has a fantastic teacher, why should students in a specific zip code be the only ones who can benefit from that teacher’s lessons? 

If districts have subject matter experts at the central office level, let them start to curate or form teams that can curate district-created video resources. Teachers have so much material that they’ve already created right on their computers, that a district can be near OER ready in short order. Does that seem overstated? Consider that you’ve had teachers creating digital (on their computers) content since the mid 90s. Our country went crazy during the California Gold Rush in the 1850s with over 300,000 people rushing there to find their fortunes (or lack there of). As it turns out, as much gold came out of South Carolina during that time as what California yielded. The lesson here: There’s gold in them computers! Mine it!

My Attempt 

Okay, here’s my attempt at Educreations:


It’s your turn to add to the mix. Leave your mark!

Adam Renfro

Adam Renfro

Adam was a classroom English teacher for ten years and began teaching online in 1998. He now works for the North Carolina Virtual Public School, the 2nd largest virtual school in the nation. Adam has blogged for Getting Smart since September of 2011. Creatives can follow Adam on Tumblr at http://adamrenfro.tumblr.com/. You can also follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AdamRenfro, and you can follow his Flipboard magazine Edu-Nation at http://flip.it/Apupn.

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