As some 8th grade Algebra students prepare for their final exam at our school, they will be able to learn from each other while they review – whether they are at school or at home. How? Each section of the Algebra study guide will have a QR code that can be scanned to view a video made by their classmates. They can watch and listen to their peers explain a linear equation or how to solve a percent change problem. The videos were made in class two months ago using the iPod touch to record with. Details on the process for creating the videos are in my earlier blog post Student Algebra Videos made with iPods . In this posting, I want to share what we did once the students were done creating the videos.
Making the Videos Available
Once the student videos had been created, the two Algebra teachers I was working with (Andy Elder and Cheryl Hoffman) viewed the videos to check for accuracy. A few groups were asked to remake their videos because of some errors in the explanation of their concept. After the remakes were done, I took the videos and uploaded them to SchoolTube. Our students do not have access to YouTube on our network, but do have access to SchoolTube.
I created an Excel spreadsheet to organize the links. The spreadsheet had 3 columns: Video Title, URL, and QR code.
As each video was uploaded to SchoolTube, I copied the short link for the video and pasted it into the spreadsheet next to the appropriate title.
Creating the QR codes was the final step in the process. Originally, I thought I would have to create one code at a time, which would be very tedious. I did some research and found some blog postings on how to generate QR codes in a Google spreadsheet . However, I found that the QR codes took a while to load when I would scan them with an iPod touch. I decided to look for a different tool that would allow me to create a batch of QR codes. Thankfully, I found one. QRExplore allows you to create QR codes in bulk and download them as a zip file. I simply copied the URL column from my spreadsheet, pasted it into the creator box, and downloaded the zip file with the codes. The codes were then pasted into the spreadsheet in the appropriate places so that the spreadsheet displayed the Video Title, link, and QR code for the video. The completed spreadsheet can be accessed here.
Mrs. Hoffman and Mr. Elder then placed the QR codes and short links into the study guide with each matching section. The completed study guide can be viewed here.
The students enjoyed having access to the videos done by their peers. Many of the students would watch the videos even if they understood the concept it covered. We have used other videos in the past that we found online for student assistance, from sources similar to Khan Academy. Many of these videos were regarded as a “last resort” by the students and they would only view them if they absolutely had to. This was not the case with the student created videos. The students wanted to watch the videos. Even though their reason was just to see the job their classmates did, the students still benefited from viewing a refresher on the concept they would be working on.
Several students asked Mr. Elder and Mrs. Hoffman if they could use their own iPod touch or Smartphone during the review. Our district had recently revised our policy on personal electronic devices, permitting teachers to allow students to use their devices in the classroom. Both teachers agreed and told the students to make sure they downloaded a QR scan app onto their device so that they could use it with the study guide. Out of the group of 38 students in Algebra, about 12 students used their own iPod or iPhone to use with the study guide. One student even commented that she wanted to use her own phone so that the links to the videos would be saved on her phone. It was evident that the students were excited to use their own device as a tool for learning.