Making an Instructional Video For the First Time

A couple weeks ago our class discussed the flipped classroom method of teaching. With this flipped method of teaching the traditional roles of learning in the classroom and completing homework at home, is reversed.  Instead, short instructional videos are viewed outside the classroom before the lesson and class time is devoted to discussion, projects, and the “homework.”

After discussing the pros and cons of the flipped classroom method, our instructor gave the class an assignment to find an article on instructional video in the classroom.  Students shared various articles on the topic and a discussion was generated.  In addition, our class was to perform another article search in regards to online learning.  Once again, the class shared their search results and a discussion generated many questions and comments. The combination of all three of these topics built up and played a role in our major project of the semester, an instructional video.

Groups up to four people were formed and our group decided to create a video geared towards first grade students.  We would address the California Standard for history/social studies for 1st grade.  The standard includes student’s relation to the city, state, country, and continent, as well as identifying the oceans of the world and identifying cardinal direction.  Our group decided to create a video on the seven continents of the world, five major oceans of the world, and briefly discuss cardinal direction.  During the collaboration process one of our team members filled out our video project pitch, which is a brief summary of what our video is intended to be.  We were able to further describe our video’s vision in the video project storyboard.  This outlined our scenes and what we visualized for audio, narration, props and such.

Our goal was to keep the video engaging and upbeat while still remaining instructional.  The following links will include our groups pitch and storyboard.

Video Project Pitch

Video Project Storyboard

Group filming took place at a really neat location, compliments of our instructor, called Mighty Awesome.  We decided to all try a green screen effect because it sounded fun and it was new to all of us.  Editing took place at CSUSM using iMovie and each team member then edited the group footage to their liking.  The following video is my edition of our group video.  I hope you enjoy watching our very first instructional video!

Please take a moment to take a short quiz on the content that was just addressed in the video.  Click on the following link to access the form or

Continents, Oceans, and Direction Quiz

When the instructional video was completed, I was prompted to reflect on how the process pertained to the ISTE standards for teachers.  I was able to identify 4 of the 5 standards that were applied during this project.  I believe I improved and gained experience in the following ISTE standards:

  1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
  2. Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
  3. Model digital age work and learning
  4. Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility

I am very proud of myself during this process and how far I have come from the beginning of this course.  I used to describe myself as technologically illiterate.  However, I have utilized tech tools and even constructed an instructional video and I do not consider myself illiterate anymore…just challenged.

“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” ~ Roger Crawford


Reflective Learning

As I finished up the last couple weeks learning about the WebQuest concept, I began to reflect on the process of learning and teaching through this inquiry-based learning model. Through the guidance of the teacher, students use their creative thinking and problem solving skills to discover and create solutions. The teacher provides the information for the students to gather from and collaboration allows the formation of ideas and solutions.

From a student, to a creator of a WebQuest, to a teacher evaluating ‘students’ after completion of a WebQuest, I was able to see the WebQuest method from different directions.  I first learned of WebQuests through this class no more than a month ago, although it was developed in 1995.  As I browsed through the many examples of WebQuests that have been created over the years, I was a little disappointed in the look and feel of them.  They felt boring, and sad, with little to no pizzazz.  How would I get students to be excited over this if I wasn’t even excited over it?

I was able to get a better idea of how to personalize the WebQuest when the professor created an assignment that had groups develop their own WebQuest.  I find those types of assignments most difficult, when the topic is open and the subject matter is broad.  The question first became, what topic do we to introduce to the students that will be captivating and engaging?  Then more difficult decisions, what websites to lead the students to for their information? How will we evaluate the students on the topic?

I was quite overwhelmed because at the beginning of the semester I learned about ISTE Standards for Teachers and I scored myself very low on the scale for standards regarding facilitating and inspiring student learning and designing and developing digital age learning experiences and assessments.  This is the assignment that will test my ability to score higher in these standards.  Even though I had group members that were willing and able to handle the heavy decision-making I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to create such an assignment on my own, that I wouldn’t be effective in guiding the students to the topic I desired them to learn about.  I found repose after reading through websites that encouraged teachers to read through and use others’ shared WebQuests.  I would be able to use other WebQuests and perhaps add or change to my personal style without the stress of creating one from scratch.  This bit of information was just what I needed to relax and enjoy the process.

I had an enjoyable time participating in fellow classmates’ WebQuests.  I was able to participate from a student’s perspective and a couple I had a lot of fun on.  Even though some of the WebQuests were lengthy I still went through the process and participated as though I was an actual student.  The topics and introductions were a key component on engaging the student from the beginning, and I made a mental note that in the future I would have to find a topic that draws students in from the beginning.  Perhaps I would have to begin my WebQuest like a creative story, with a catchy first paragraph and maybe an onomatopoeia.  As a perspective science teacher I think I can find quite a few things to engage the students’ interests.

Another point of view I was able to take was that of a teacher evaluating the student’s performance on the WebQuest.  The performance statistics were not of greatest importance to me, as I was more interested in how I was able to evaluate the students.  Creating an assessment and then ‘grading’ the assessment became a separate task for me.  I found that to be quite fun as well, I was able to write comments on the answers that were incorrect.  Seeing how other WebQuests prompted student learning was interesting as well.  I don’t have to simply assign questions to be answered, a PowerPoint, or a presentation.  Student-made models, posters (digital, not poster board) and even videos can be the assignment.

Although I haven’t met the ISTE Standards yet, I feel that through this assignment of analyzing all aspects of the WebQuest concept, I was able to gain more knowledge and confidence in the areas I was lacking in.  Through the development of effective and engaging WebQuests I will be able to facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity.  Additionally I was able to, and will continue to, design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments.

One of the most important issues I have acknowledged since the beginning of this course is the importance of technology in education.  Student-oriented learning, especially inquiry-based learning, and not teacher-based instruction appears to be a more effective method of teaching.  WebQuests address both of these statements, combining inquiry-based learning with internet-based learning.  The teacher is the facilitator and guides the process while the students explore and discover answers using their imagination and skills necessary for effective communication.  I look forward to borrowing shared WebQuests to introduce my future students to higher level thinking.


Children are naturally inquisitive beings.  From a young age children learn by touch, which is why toddlers tend to put objects in their mouths, and by the time speech has developed the endless slew of questions has begun.  This natural curiosity about the world around them has its downsides, but it can also be a positive driving force in education.  In 1995 an educator named Bernie Dodge of San Diego State University (my Alma mater) developed a method of teaching which was inquiry-based and student-oriented.  The format of the method is simple in nature, but allows for the students to ask questions as they learn.  The lesson format is primarily internet-based learning and is called a WebQuest.

This week’s assignment was to work in a group with two fellow classmates and to develop our own WebQuest.  As a group interested in teaching middle/high school science we narrowed our topic down to the human circulatory system.  I invite you to click here to view our group’s WebQuest and to participate in the lesson.

Digital Citizenship

How would you define “digital citizenship?” I ask this question because this week’s project was to design a presentation/poster outlining the elements of digital citizenship.  We all have an idea in our mind on what a good citizen is in the physical world.  I define such a person as one who is honest, kind, respectful, productive and law-abiding. Of course I could go into more detail on what each of those aspects entail but you probably get the gist.  Now we live in a digital world where people can communicate, purchase and sell goods, work and learn without physically contacting with another person.  The anonymity of the digital world has many advantages but it also has many disadvantages and can be dangerous.  People often lose touch with core beliefs of being a good citizen and can display poor digital citizenship. The following presentation summarizes the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship as outlined by Mike Ribble in his book, Digital Citizenship in Schools, Second Edition.  I created this presentation with my intended audience, teenagers, in mind.

“Do not compromise yourself and put your goodness in the same impermanent category as whatever circumstance is happening. Be the best you in every circumstance.”       ~Steve Maraboli


Connected Educator

Well, I did it.  I joined the growing group of 319 million active users in the social networking and microblogging service called Twitter (, 2016).  My preconceived notions of Twitter was that it was a place for celebrities to “tweet” about what they were eating that day, or for social media enthusiasts to “tweet” what they were feeling that day.   I had a very simplistic idea of what Twitter was used for besides hashtagging and sharing too much of irrelevant information.  A couple weeks ago my professor introduced the class to Twitter as a microblogging service with the power to collaborate with millions of people around the world.  To further boggle my mind, collaboration with users could take place instantaneously in a live Twitter chat! I was skeptical.  How could educators be taken seriously on this network that also has users “tweeting” about their breakfast burrito?

I participated in a live Twitter chat with my professor as the moderator and the class quickly joined in on the conversation.  Since the chat was an introduction to Twitter it was kept relatively informal in order to familiarize us with the format.  I learned how to “tweet” a response as well as “retweet” and “like” a post. I found myself getting a little lost in the chat, perhaps it wasn’t updating as quickly as I had expected it to.  I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to refresh the page or the page would refresh automatically.  I ended up going directly to the professor’s profile to see the generated prompts.  I do believe after participating in this chat, as well as speaking to other educators who passionately value Twitter, and my own small venture into Twitter on my own, that I could benefit from using Twitter.  I found relevant topics in regards to education, classroom management, and teaching techniques.  The information shared through Twitter is vast and I have yet to engage in topics that interest me personally or the subject matter that is specific to what I would like to teach.

Another part of the assignment required students to expand their personal learning network (PLN) by connecting with fellow classmates on LinkedIn and following them on Twitter.  In addition, we were to read our classmates’ bios and initial blog posts about ISTE standards, answer the question posed at the end of the post, and provide an online resource to add to the conversation.  I was able to add two classmates from my section of class: Mary H. and Holly W.

  • Mary asked the question, “What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of adapting technology in the classroom?”  I responded that I feel the inaccessibility of technology and internet at home is the most challenging aspect and I included an article on supporting students without home access.
  • Holly asked the question, “Does anyone else feel not so confident in the digital world like me?”  I responded to Holly with absolute honesty…no I am not confident in my abilities when it comes to technology and the advancing digital world.  It’s scary but I have to try to catch up in order to “survive” as I said.  I included two youtube videos, one Tedx Talk about confidence and another Tedx Talk about embracing student knowledge.

I was also able to add two students from the Monday section to my personal learning network.  I was excited to see that the two students, Rob F. and Kelsey P., were also aspiring biology/science teachers like me.

  • Rob asked the question, “How do teachers provide technological fluency and awareness to students that do not have consistent and reliable access to technology?” I responded to Rob similarly to the way I did with Mary’s question and I included the same article that I did with Mary about supporting students without home access.
  • After reading Kelsey’s blog post and bio, I included the same Tedx Talk about embracing student knowledge that I did for Holly because I felt it highlighted the fact that as educators we can take our classes on virtual fieldtrips and also to embrace the notion that students can teach us, we don’t always need to know the answers.

After completing this assignment I found the activities I participated in were relatable to the ISTE standards #3 Model Digital Age Work and Learning, #4 Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility, and #5 Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership.  I was able to familiarize myself with Twitter through a chat, model digital citizenship (by not being a bully or posting inappropriate content), and I found myself engaging in professional growth by expanding my PLN and branching off to other educational Twitter handles.  I am confident that I will use Twitter in the future to expand my network, collaborate with others in my field, and gain ideas for my class.

Tech Tools for Learning: A Collaborative Presentation

Wow! With so many tech tools out there now-a-days I get easily overwhelmed.  The who, what, when, where, why (and how)?  All the tried and true questions that get quick answers, that’s what I needed to ask when reviewing 2016’s top 200 tools for learning. In which ways can these tools assist in the educational equation? This week I teamed up with 4 fellow classmates to evaluate a portion of the top 200 list.  We decided to each pick a tool of our choice and agreed on the criteria to present.

The collaboration process was a chance for me to utilize team skills that I really hadn’t used in quite some time.  I found myself not “sitting back” as much I thought I would have but instead, having a voice conducive of a leader.  I really surprised myself.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was a “few” years older and more vocal about my opinions.  Maybe I was selfishly thinking about the project and what grade I would get.  Nonetheless, I learned about tech tools that I had never heard of before.  I got to create my very first Google Slide and Google Form too!  I really had a good time learning new applications and it wasn’t as difficult as I had built it up to be.

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”  ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Without further ado I invite you to view our group’s:

Tech Tools for Learning Presentation

Please take a moment to check out our Google Form and fill out the survey

ISTE: What is it? What are the standards? How does this relate to me as an educator?

I honestly admit I wasn’t aware of the organization called ISTE before I started this project.  I had no idea what it was and how it related to me as a future educator.  I began by reading through the ISTE website to gain the majority of my information.  After reading through the history of ISTE I found it to be very interesting.

It began nearly 40 years ago with a group of educators from Oregon having a backyard barbeque.  They began to discuss the potential of educational technology and its ability to change the way students learned.  After collaborating with numerous educators from around the world and from various educational backgrounds, the nonprofit organization, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) was developed.  This was the beginning of a system in which educators provide their students with the technological tools so that the students can collaborate and problem-solve with their peers. As ISTE stated in an online video clip, “[they] are the nexus between technology and education.”

So how would a teacher know how to implement this style or system of learning?  ISTE has developed sets of standards for educators which provide guidelines outlining the skills and teaching practices necessary to flourish in the digital age.  I will be analyzing the teachers’ standards as well as assessing my own skills in each of the standards.  Click here for the complete list of ISTE’s teacher standards.

There are five standards for teachers:

  • Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity. This standard requires the teacher to utilize their knowledge in the subject matter, teaching practices and of course technology to promote student creativity.  The teacher should be able to model and inspire the students so that they can assess real world issues and utilize technology in a variety of forms to learn and problem solve.  After reading this standard I felt pretty confident that I am on the lower end of the spectrum in regards to how skilled I am.  On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being low and ten being high, I gave myself a 2.  I think I can being interesting and engaging towards the students but I look at the technology aspect and I’m a little hesitant to give myself a higher score.
  • Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments. This standard looks at the design and development of the learning experiences that boost student learning.  The learning experiences should be designed to fit the individual’s style of learning and ability to use the technological tools.  Once again, I gave myself a low score of 2.  I do like the idea of customizing the learning plan based on the student’s abilities.  However, when it comes to my skills in this particular area I lack the knowledge of creating such experiences and assessing students’ progress.
  • Model Digital Age Work and Learning. This standard was fairly easy to interpret.  The teacher is expected to have knowledge in the technology tools, utilize the tools, and model the tools for students, peers, parents and the community.  Teachers should embrace the current technology as well as the newest technology available.  After reading this standard, I couldn’t question my score of 1.  I could be a little harsh on myself, but I know that I am not computer savvy or technology literate.  I will definitely have to familiarize myself with as many tools as I can and gain an abundance of confidence in order to score higher.
  • Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility. Again another standard that I found to be pretty clear in its purpose. Teachers are expected to model and encourage good behavior in regards to digital technology.  This includes behavior related to communication with others and also the responsibility associated with documenting sources and crediting individuals for their work.  I gave myself a score of 8 on this standard.  I feel I might be missing something but I have confidence in my own personal digital etiquette right now.  I feel I model good behavior and I can see that translating easily to the students in this respect.
  • Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership. This standard requires teachers to actively engage in professional growth, meaning continue their education of technology.  Teachers should know what new tools and resources are being developed and also how to implement them for their students.  This standard is stating that teachers are lifelong learners.  As of right now I gave myself a score of 2 because I do not participate in events such as conventions or workshops.  But I do find it interesting and of course I would like to further my knowledge in this area.  Technology is not going anywhere, it is here to stay.

As you can see I didn’t score my skills very high on the scale of 1-10. I do have a lot to learn, but I am hopeful that with technology and all the tools available that I can succeed in modeling and applying the ISTE standards.  My question to you is:  How do you score yourself in each of the five standards?