October 7, 2016

Telling the Story of Learning through “Kid Cams” – Guest Post from Tim Kaegi

This guest post from Innovation Summit speaker, Tim Kaegi (@TLKaegi), first appeared on Daily Genius.

Given the ever-changing philosophies in the educational landscape, proving that learning is happening in the classroom has been redefined. Sure, traditional worksheets and formal assessments can still be shared and sent home, but other options to display students’ learning now exist. Digital work, audio clips, and videos can easily be shared by students and teachers through emails, the cloud, and social media. However, despite these newer trends and tools, it still seems that telling the story of learning remains concentrated on the finished product… when it should do just the opposite.

There is always more to the story. The behind-the-scenes processes, enlightenments, and yes, failures, encapture so much more to students’ learning than displaying and assessing only the final product. There are simply too many unique experiences and discussions going on within the classroom walls to let it go undocumented. But how can all of these moments be captured?

Being intentional with sound and video clips can certainly help documenting a process. Progressional pictures of student work and interaction can also help showcase a learning experience from beginning to end. There are countless variations and combinations of how to document process. Each teacher can find and experiment with their own personal styles and talents. However, there is one tool above all that can help redefine the documentation process for any teacher: a “Kid Cam”

While action cameras were largely invented for action sports, recently they have also proven to be an effective documentation tool in the classroom. Yes, it may sound silly at first, but attaching action cameras to students’ will do so much for the classroom experience.

Before diving into the three major ways a “Kid Cam” can help out a classroom, take a look at what this looks like in action. Here is an example of a girl navigating through the prototyping process of an inventions experience.

Noticeably, the footage was cut down to little snippets to try and give a little window into what the girl was experiencing: the successes, failures, and everything in between. So what does it do for educators? Why bother with all the time, effort, and money to make this happen in classrooms? Here are the three best reasons for installing a “Kid Cam” into the classroom.

Teacher reflection while editing

Recording a student’s point-of-view for a significant amount of time can unveil plenty. When editing the raw footage, teachers will become entranced in student dialogue that is not normally overheard (it’s quite remarkable how quickly students forget that a camera is recording). Teachers will also get caught reflecting on personal successes and failures as a teacher. If open to self-critiquing, editing opens up opportunities to become an even stronger teacher.

Student reflection while watching

Once the footage has been curated and created by the teacher, it can be shown to the class for even more reflective purposes. For one, the student that is wearing the camera gains a better idea of movement throughout the class and how conversations with peers go. In addition, and very importantly, the student gains an idea of what he or she actually sounds like. All of this rolls up into teachable moments where students begin to understand that they should not be ashamed of who they are. Even though it may not seem like it at times, this is how the world sees them, so they need to embrace it and be proud of who they are.

It opens a window for parents and other educators: Being able to experience the classroom through students’ points-of-view is a powerful thing. It helps improve parents’ empathy for what the students go through on a daily basis, as well as gives a better understanding of the classroom culture. By sharing “Kid Cam” videos, trust is built between teacher, students, and parents alike. In addition, other educators that are always looking for ideas can utilize the shared window into the classroom to see how the process flowed, and then adapt it to personal preferences.

A win-win for all parties involved. So go ahead and give it a try!

One more for the road? Sounds good. Here is a class giving the classroom some wallpaper.

Tim Kaegi - Innovation Summit Speaker

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