Often, I meet people and they say – “Oh! You’re the Myst bloke! I’ve seen you doing a lesson on the web”.
In reality, Myst is only one element of what we do. A powerful aspect, but only one of the many ways to use technology, (or otherwise) to inspire children of all ages and abilities. But it does work in wonderful ways.
The idea that some one has “seen a lesson” is slightly more bemusing because, what they are often referring too, is a short film, made quite a long time ago, that is just a slightly static glimpse into part of the concept.
But that film has survived the test of time, and it was just an “amateur” film made, quickly, of my class “in action”.
Teachers are remarkably generous beasts. They share resources and ideas in a big way on the internet. But, as of yet, the online community of teachers sharing films of their classes is small.
I think teachers are often nervous that they aren’t doing something that other people might learn from or pick up and cherish. There are also genuine concerns re internet safety. But these are elements that can be overcome.
Sometimes filming an activity might help others if it is shared on line. It might also help the students. – It is definitely worth doing…
I made the “Myst in the classroom” film to show to other colleagues at a conference.
It was only later, that the idea of uploading it to an online site was suggested, by the children themselves, and the parents in fact. It became a habit, and we started to upload the children’s end results, and lots of other films. Every time, of course, we were careful about parental approval, seeking permission and following strict guidelines regarding protection of identity.
The children did some of the filming, and editing as well, and gained some understanding of the key elements in making a quality, short clip.
The best lessons, or the most magic moments, might never be seen, as they aren’t always the easiest to capture on film, or they might not look, or sound good, on a screen
The best learning moments are often fleeting, brief, chaotic, noisy or on the other side of the room from a camera.
Sometimes we need to stage a setting:
We organised ourselves in rows, and did the lesson in a much more static way than we normally do our activities.
We were using a borrowed camera, from someone who lived at the bottom of the playground, so it isn’t exactly high quality, but it captures some of the children’s enthusiasm, and the fact that they just can’t STOP writing.
In reality, I walk around a lot more, and don’t speak as much (!!) but, we were trying to get across a few ideas, for teachers to see just one way of working, that inspires some imaginative writing, using the immersive landscapes from Myst.
I also made the film, to give the children an insight into their brilliance AND where there might be room for improvement.
They developed some excellent critical thinking skills in this way, as well as watching their speaking, listening and group problem solving abilities, on the film.
In the end, it is about communication, rather the technology used to say it. We used Windows Movie Maker, kept it short and concise –
The idea of sharing teaching methods, whether we consider them innovative or not, is that it helps students focus more if they know they will be on You Tube, or another film hosting site. And, it helps teachers see another person in action and think “I like that. I could maybe even do better than that”. They might even share the ideas for improvements with the film maker.
Then there can only be a spiral upwards – AND A LOT OF FUN IS HAD
Category: 2) Useful n Interesting