Using Ustream for online student review sessions

For those of us who still give tests (i hope to move away from test sooner or later) it can be difficult to get students to study for them let alone show up for a review session. If anyone comes to the review session it is usually the “A” students anyway.

If they will not or cannot come to a review session how can we take the session to them?

While watching parts of EdcampKC on ustream the realization came to use ustream.tv as a method for test reviews. I had seen ustream used before, so I’m not sure what was different this time.

So I announced the review sessions to my students. I ran two broadcasts on two different days at two different times. Hoping the different times and days would accommodated more students. Interestingly the same 10-15 students showed up on both days.

Once students signup they are able to backchannel in a text box to the right while seeing and hearing the instructor (me) on the left. When I asked questions they would type in responses. I was also able to request they search for certain images or concepts online. They would then post the link in the “chat” text box and everyone would go to the link and we would discuss it. Also, ustream can record the broadcast for later playback. Students not able to join the live session are able to watch a recording the broadcast later. Ustream only records the video. Chats are lost.

One of my favorite parts is when students were asking questions and other students were answering with comments or website related to the question. I would love for this to turn into students organizing and running their own study sessions. Not sure how to light that spark yet.

It was also exciting to find out parents and even some families were watching the stream. Who knows, they might learn something or more importantly they might gain a stronger interest for the student’s learning or school environment, thus becoming more engaged parents.

Other ideas:

  • run broadcast during class time for students in in-school-suspension to watch real-time.
  • students at home because of out-of-school-suspension to watch
  • students at home because of illness
  • students gone on family vacations (as you know some parents do not plan around school schedules)
  • parent able to watch what happens in class and how their students might be doing. (there might be legal issues, need to research this option)
  • online chat with parents to start the year and through out the year.

Anyway – the quest continues to increase student engagement.

Here is a quick screencast of the most recent review we did for Verts and Inverts class. The audio is a few seconds ahead of the video because of the screencast. The students on the other end see it synced. http://screenr.com/2zc Check back in a couple of days and I hope to have a screencast showing how to use ustream.tv

This link is for video of an entire session with biology students.  http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/10792736 – it takes a couple of minutes before we start rolling.

Adam Taylor – @2footgiraffe

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About 2footgiraffe

High School Science Teacher Dickson, TN
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4 Responses to Using Ustream for online student review sessions

  1. John Sowash says:

    Great idea, Adam. Having 10 students show up for an online review is impressive. I doubt my numbers would be that high.

    Will you comment on the impact of these review sessions and reverse learning on you as a person? Because I’m in a similar situation, I know how time consuming these new ideas can be. How are you able to maintain balance between your personal and professional life now that the walls of your classroom are coming down?

    • 2footgiraffe says:

      Great question John. So far I have only done one reverse learning lesson and three online review sessions. I plan and schedule them when my kids should already be in bed. That helps to eliminate sacrificing time with the family. My wife is working on her masters degree so in the evenings she is studying anyway.
      Honestly the biggest struggle at this point is keeping up with grades in the computer. I typically have everything updated weekly, however, with the extra time I have been using preparing web2.0 lessons, review sessions, and reverse learning I haven’t been updating grades but every 3-4 weeks.
      Actually, now that I think about it 25-50% of my Sundays are spent preparing as well. I am taking careful notes on my lessons plans this year hoping I will not need as much prep time next year.
      The other factor is trying to many changes in one year. I have not implemented all that I would like but I have been doing more than I probably should. I think second semester I’m just going to hone the web2.0 and tech stuff we have done this semester. Ya know make it better and more effective.
      That being said the impact of online review sessions and reverse learning on me has been huge. It is extremely invigorating when the students embrace it, love it, and are able to learn and grow as individuals and as a class. As i mentioned in the post, my favorite part is when the students start to answer each other questions. For some reason they love to help and be helped by other students when they are on the web. In class students often get offended when other students answer questions that were addressed to me. In class some students will not even ask the questions in the first place. – Wow you got me rolling. I guess I should do a legitimate blog about this idea. What a great teacher you are to guide me in this direction.
      Hope that helps answer the question.

  2. Kit Hard says:

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for sharing your Ustream experiment with the community. This a great example of using technology to deliver synchronous and asynchronous learning.

    Have you run into any issues with the ad content which Ustream is running on recorded sessions? I’ve noticed that there is an option to pay and have the ads removed but it is fairly expensive.

    I’m presenting on Ustream at the Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning conference this year. Mostly, I’ve used Ustream to facilitate professional development and school announcements, but I would love showcase examples of teacher facilitated uses like your study sessions. Would you be open to letting me share your examples during my presentation? Do you have any other examples of teachers using Ustream?

    If you would like to take a look at the Ustream resources I’ve created here’s a link to my blog posts on using Ustream. http://edtechkit.blogspot.com/search?q=ustream

    • 2footgiraffe says:

      Kit,
      I’m glad you liked the post. Learning from this activity has been great. I have not run into any issues with the adds as of yet. I’m trying not to worry about it till we get complaints from students and parents. The option to pay to go add-free is too expensive as you point out.
      Feel free to use the examples I shared. The others I have are more of the same. Here is my channel with the other examples. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/taylorchinesescience
      Thank you for the link to your resources. I hope to improve what we have done so far.

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