Was (re)watching this the other day and forgot how much I enjoy this little vignette (even though I probably shouldn’t). Funny because it’s true…. (But working on that.)
So a bit more technology perhaps than Latin, but I’ll return to some Latin below. I’m a Swivl Pioneer and so was alerted to the launch of Recap, a website that allows students to interact via video with questions the teacher poses. (I’ve heard this is similar to VoiceThread, which I know of but with which I am not directly familiar.)
In my Medieval Lit class, we’re focusing on manuscripts for the next few weeks, and so I thought I’d turn my class loose with Recap and some introductory videos on MSS to see how Recap works.
Once you’re logged in to Recap, you make classes:
There’s my Medieval class.
At the upper right of that screen is the ‘Add Recap’ button, which allows you to write questions for your students to answer and you can set the length of max response (2 mins max).
When I first started writing the questions, I was sticking to largely objective questions (because they were the ones that came to mind) but I realized that it seemed somewhat wasteful for students to record answers to objective questions (though I was happier with the video responses to those questions than I expected; more on that below). As I went on, however, I made more open-ended questions, including questions that required physical props; this, it would seem, is the real advantage to Recap, is the ability to hold before the camera in a dynamic way objects to enhance a response.
Once the students answer and submit, the teacher has a summary screen:
(At the risk of sounding defensive, the students were working in groups, which is why the percentage is so low.)
You can see too that students are able to rate their understanding with a simple visual key and student videos are available for watching at the bottom.
Here’s a screen-scroll of all of the responses / summary screens:
Recap also produces (and I mean that to some extent in the technical sense as well) a ‘Daily Review Reel’ (at upper right) that puts together the videos with some music, borders, and the question at the beginning. (I’m not quite sure why all of the videos didn’t make the review reel but I did find that you could add or subtract videos from the reel; perhaps they try to keep the review reel on the shorter side?)
Here’s a link to the video (Recap provides this; no embed code as far as I could find). And here’s the screen-grabbed video:
In the end, I’m always trying to assess whether a new tool like this has staying power. Is it an effective tool for me and my students to make more efficient and more successful my teaching and their learning? The easy answer is I don’t know. They were initially skeptical (at best) of videoing their answers but, once they got used to the idea, they produced good responses in a more natural and comfortable way. I enjoyed listening to the answers because their personalities came through. And even for the objective questions, which, as I said above, I felt like was a bit of a waste for this kind of format, it seemed like they had a better handle on that objective information than they would have if they were writing it down, filling in a blank, etc. I will try to do circle back to this information later to test that sense, but that was an initial impression.
So a good first foray. I think finding the right kind of assignments for this is important, but I’ll continue to experiment with it. I’m excited to try it with Latin because I feel like it could be a good way to get more students involved in a more natural way for open-ended material, i.e. students can interpret text, offer different readings, speculate on grammatical usage, etc., in what feels like a much less pressured environment (the video response) than in front of the whole class.
At long last, the Latin Movie Trailers. Here they are in all of their glory (or lack thereof). In no particular order (except I did put Rogue One (Furcifer Unus) first because I believe the BluRay comes out today or hereabouts). Enjoy.
Toy Story 3
Song of the Sea
Beauty and the Beast
To Kill A Mockingbird
Wallace and Grommit
Beauty and the Beast (a different one)
Grand Budapest Hotel
I had applied to be an ADE this time around and just found out yesterday that I was not chosen. A bummer, to be certain, but not entirely surprising; it is a difficult admission to achieve and I wasn’t entirely confident in my video. With that said, as I made the video, going through old materials, reviewing my own career with technology, I will admit that I felt more confident as the process went along than when I decided to apply.
I write this really for two reasons. One, for the simple act of transparency. I did it. It didn’t work out. Here it is. Two, a bit more tricky. Here is Apple’s email:
Perhaps I’m being a bit sensitive here, but, as a humanities teacher and believer, I find the primacy of ‘Everyone Can Code’ in the opportunities-to-engage-with-Apple suggestions a bit disconcerting. I understand too that the code movement is not entirely a STEM phenomenon and that the humanities in many ways have been at the vanguard of technology expansion and exploration. I’m also not saying that I wasn’t chosen because of my humanities interest and teaching.
With all of that said, however, assuming that there are plenty of humanities teachers who applied and were denied, it does seem a touch tone-deaf to lead with something so antithetical to their training and day-to-day work (however much Apple may want us to expand our horizons), especially in this era of STEM-dominance and humanities-survival (or lack thereof).
Am I bitter? I’m not sure that’s quite the right word, but I will reluctantly admit that I am on that spectrum. I guess I’m just concerned that everyone has forgotten how many STEM advancements were made with the simple yet powerful training that the humanities provide (and, lest we forget, science and math and their offshoots are part of the humanities) and, as we move farther and farther away from that training, I wonder what we will lose as we gain other things.
Sed de hoc satis. On to the video. I’ve embedded it below. I thought it was a bit rushed (I was hoping they’d hit the pause button a few times) and I suspect it focused a bit too much on me and not enough on my students and the impact of (Apple) technology on them. That’s my utterly anecdotal assessment.
I wrote here about my Latin Movie Trailers projects and I promised more posters (and the videos) to come. Well, a bit longer than I would have liked, here are the other posters. Two disclaimers: 1. I included the ones from the previous post just to have them all in one place; and 2. the new ones are photos of the printed versions from the bulletin board (if they look a little funky). Enjoy.
Ted’s full presentation is here (that he shared freely and openly with us) but I will highlight some of the, well, highlights below.
- The idea of ‘sheltered’ vocabulary and grammar was reinforced. It was a term I had heard but wasn’t quite comfortable with.
- Ted tends to focus on sheltered vocabulary but not necessarily sheltered grammar (or at least sheltered grammar with exceptions).
- He focused on the importance of reducing the number of unfamiliar words in a text, that not uncommonly students see texts with upwards of 75% unfamiliar words (I would say that’s the case in my classroom).
- This focus reminded me of Kitchell’s cricket experiment way back when (I believe in 2001), when he gave us an article about a cricket match that none of us could understand (because of the unfamiliar vocabulary) even though it was in English.
- It was somewhat heartening to recognize things that I already do, albeit mostly in isolation, in addition to all of the things that I don’t do.
- Much of the presentation and slide show consisted of the stories themselves, composed in simple Latin, with sheltered vocabulary, often incorporating his students themselves or his students’ ideas.