How to Ensure Students Actually Watch the Vodcasts

We struggled to devise a way in which we could ensure the students actually watched the vodcasts. We realized that students needed to show us evidence that they had watched. We tried two different methods in our classes and have, as of this printing, settled on one low-tech method. At the beginning of each unit students are given a handout that has the “notes” for the chapter. Prior to watching the vodcast they must mine their textbook for some definitions, tables, and diagrams. After completing that segment of the notes, they then watch that night’s vodcast. We purposely leave lots of space for the students to fill in their notes. When students watch the vodcast they must fill in all of the appropriate blanks and copy down all of the example problems. The next day, at the beginning of class, while students take their Daily Quiz, we do a spot check for completion of the notes. We find that in a class of 25 students that typically we have maybe 2-4 students who did not watch the vodcast. There is probably a high-tech method whereby we could assure that each student checked their vodcast. Someday there may even be a way in which a student could be asked a question in the middle of the vodcast and then they would have to answer that question and we would be able to check it online. But for now, we are going with a low tech solution.

What we do with class time

This is where the magic of Pre-Vodcasting takes place. Our class is now totally restructured: See the table below:

Before Pre-VodcastingWith Pre-VodcastingTime
Warm-up Activity5 minWarm-up Activity5 min
Go Over Previous Night's Homework20 minQ&A Time on Podcast with Chemical Demonstrations10 min
Lecture New Content30-45 minGuided & Independent Practice and/or Lab Activity75 min
Guided & Independent Practice or Lab Activity20-35 min 

One thing that we have had to get used to is that the role of the teacher has completely changed. Instead of being the "sage on the stage," we play the role of a coach. We are in amongst our students helping them with the content that they struggle with, and motivating them to stay on task and to do their best. At first this was a struggle. Jonathan is a good lecturer and changing his role was hard for him. Aaron is a good tutor, but struggles to motivate unmotivated students. Both of us have had to give up some things we hold dear and have had to stretch ourselves to adapt to the new system. But the reality is what is best for kids trumps all. This has proven to be a very successful model of using technology in the classroom. Students are doing better and learning the content faster. As science teachers we are able to do more hands-on lab activities. The guided practice times tend to be rich and students are learning better. There have even been days where we did not have enough for our students to do because we are still thinking in terms of how much content we could cover in the days before Pre-Vodcasting. Content is being covered faster and with more understanding than in the past. This extra time will enable us to take our kids further and deeper into our content.

Contact for this page

Jerry Overmyer
Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity/Title IX