In the social studies classroom teachers can help their students strengthen Speaking and Listening skills — essential for college and career readiness — through a variety of activities. Video journals offer students an opportunity to connect with each other and develop these skills.
A video journal is a response that is captured using a camera with audio recording. The message might relate to a students’ opinion on a news clip they just viewed or a passage they have read. This journal entry could be an open response or an answer to a specific writing prompt. Instead of writing a journal entry students record their response using a webcam or tablet camera. Their messages can be uploaded to a learning management system like Edmodo or Schoology to be viewed by teachers and classmates.
In order for students to grow as articulate speakers, they need practice getting their message across. Students can fine tune their speaking skills as they generate a response that covers they key points they would like to include. Encourage them to practice before recording to build their fluency or jotting down notes to help them stay focused. For students who struggle as writers, this type of task can help build their confidence. Video journals can also support English Language Learners who may feel more comfortable having discussions and conversations around a topic before writing a response.
Video journals can support listening skills by giving students an opportunity to be an audience member. After students post and share their video responses, other students can watch and respond by offering their own opinion or giving feedback. As students spend time listening to other video journals, they can reflect on what they need to do to strengthen their own responses.
To get started using video journals with your students, first think about what tools are available to you class. If they use Chromebooks with webcams you may want to have them record using this device and share a link to their message. In classes using iPads students might record their response and then upload them to a learning management system to share. You will want to set parameters for this type of work including minimum and maximum recording times. It’s also important to have conversations with students about finding a good place to record their video journal or how they can use headphones and a microphone if they are in a noisy area.
Using video journals can engage students in content while building their speaking and listening skills. Students who might be hesitant to talk in a whole class discussion can strengthen their understanding of course content with video journals.
Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.
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