Course EDTEC 700: educational Podcasting and vodcasting

Artifact Room26 Algebra Vodcast

The “Room26 Algebra” vodcast is a support tool for my eighth grade algebra students. In each episode I cover the most important skills from the chapter we are studying in class. I record a screencast of me solving a difficult problem on a Smartboard and I narrate the steps as I go.

Each episode begins and ends with an animated title created using Adobe Flash for the animation and GarageBand for the music. The outline for the rest of the episode is as follows:

  • Introduce the textbook lesson number and title that the episode will be covering.
  • A brief definition of the skill and any relevant vocabulary.
  • When is the best time to use this skill?
  • Example solution.

In addition to segments outlined above, an extra credit question is asked at a random time during the episode. The first ten students to email me with the correct answer to the question win a prize. The prize could be extra credit points, a homework pass, or see a test question before the test. This is meant to be motivating as well as informative for me, the teacher. I can use the responses I get to analyze the effectiveness of a specific vodcast episode.

I chose the screencast format because it closely resembles the way information is initially presented in class. Students are familiar with the layout of the slides can easily find information and track the progress of the lesson. Given that the screens on ipods are so small, the slides are mostly empty space so there is plenty of room to write as I work through the episode.

Creating this vodcast presented many challenges. The first of which was writing an outline for each episode that would be relevant for the skills taught throughout the year. This is why I added the “When is the best time to use this skill?” segment. Algebra is the first big step, conceptually speaking, that students take after learning math basics in kindergarten through pre-algebra. Many students struggle with identifying a given situation and applying the appropriate skill to solve. This segment is meant to discuss why and when each skill is useful.

This was a very eye-opening experience. I’ve planned short videos before, but I’ve never created a recurring series. I had to make sure that the content in the video would be informative and fun to watch. I also had to design an easy method of recording and editing each episode. If each episode takes a long time to set up, record, and edit, then I won’t be able to make many episodes and the value of using the podcast would greatly diminish.