Karen Carter and Holen Robie, the fourth grade team at Emerson Elementary, are among a growing number of Berkeley teachers using Chromebooks to make audio recordings of student work. Using Screencastify, students are able to digitally record an oral presentation by capturing both their voice and what is shown on their computer screen.
During my visit to Karen’s class, I found out how this particular project came to fruition. Karen shared that their fourth grade classes always create some sort of project after finishing book clubs. This time around students expressed interest in Google Slides which led to an intro lesson focused on how to create a slide presentation. Karen reported, “I was impressed by my students’ level of comfort using Google Slides after teaching one lesson on it to the class.” From there this new tech project took off.
Each book club group worked collaboratively on a shared set of Slides they created together. Every student was responsible for adding the content and designing their assigned Slides. After they created their presentation, group members outlined their script and divided up speaking roles. “Learning was enhanced by all group members playing an equal role in creating and delivering a part,” Karen remarked.
On this particular day, students had the chance to add “icing on the cake” as Karen Carter called it, meaning once they’d completed all the required content (“baking their cake”), they could dabble with the various formatting tools to beautify their work. I witnessed group members embellish their presentations by using a rainbow of font colors, changing the background, adding transitions, and more. Cooperative learning was happening around the room as students taught one another various advanced design techniques.
I observed groups put the finishing touches on their presentations while a handful of groups rehearsed and practiced recording their presentations using Screencastify to work out the kinks with the help of librarian Mary Ann Scheuer. By recording and playing back their presentation, students had opportunities to reflect and make adjustments to improve their final product. Their work was completed in time for Open House giving parents an opportunity to view these book club projects. Additionally, the fourth grade team now has a bank of book recommendations that can be easily shared. Check out this example of their work.
Many Berkeley teachers are incorporating screencasting in creative ways. Subscribe to this blog and stay tuned for future stories about other Screencastify projects.
– Mia Gittlen, K-8 Instructional Technology TSA