Monday, 6 June 2016

Sharing Tech Tips with your Students, Staff and Community

One of my new projects this year has been working with our Student Digital Leaders.  I emailed my principal about this idea last year and have been fortunate to work with Renee, one of our very I.T. savvy teachers, on it.  We are working with two students from each Year 5 & 6 class (16 students in total) and showing them troubleshooting tips and how to use particular creation apps.

One of the things Renee and I talked about was how to educate the teachers as well as the students.  Like all schools we have a range of abilities amongst our staff and we wanted to make sure that whatever we taught our students was also available to our teachers.  Initially we thought we would offer drop in sessions after school, but we didn't want to add to the many time demands that teachers already have.

I suggested that we record a series of very short tech tips and promote them so not only our students and staff benefit, but we also provide useful information for parents.  We have started with troubleshooting for iPads:

Next up is how to update apps and iPads, followed by how to check how much storage you have (and what to do if your iPad is full).  There are a number of topics that can follow that, and they won't all be about iPads.

We decided to do the Tech Tips separately to our normal Digital Leaders' meetings.  We asked for volunteers and then I gave them a short script to learn.  I had our I.T. guy check the script to make sure I hadn't got any advice wrong!  We could have covered more but I wanted to keep the videos short, and teaching kids how to restore an iPad to factory settings, for example, seemed a bit dangerous!

I made an introduction that we will use for the whole series.  I used PowToon, which took a bit of getting used to but was a lot of fun to learn.  I think it looks quite smart.

The process took longer than I imagined - we needed more than one lunchtime to get the recording done (if you're observant you'll notice that there are continuity errors!).  Just filming the iPads up close was troublesome, you have to watch the angle or you get reflection from the lights.  The school bell went off during one recording, as did the alarm on one of the boys' watches!  Recording at lunchtime also meant there was a lot of outside noise to contend with.

Afterwards I had to piece it all together in iMovie.  Again, it took longer than I anticipated, partly because I'm still learning with that as well.  I was pleased that I had allowed three seconds of recording before and after the dialogue, as this meant it was easier to get the transitions right.

I think there are many things we can do to improve, but at the same it will never be the same quality as a professional production.  However, at a primary school level I think parents are going to be forgiving of errors and will enjoy seeing their children share their knowledge.

I've scripted the next episode but fortunately another teacher will be filming and editing it (I have a Book Week to prepare for!).  I've also made posters with a QR code that links to the Tech Tips playlist, which I will be giving to all the teachers.  It is exciting to see this idea coming to life and I look forward to building up a bank of Tech Tips videos that our students, staff and community can refer to when they need them.