Creating a Digital Vlogging Diary

Over the past year, I have introduced vlogging into the classroom. Vlogging or video blogging has enabled my students to be much more creative when reflecting on their progress and assessing their work. Every student has their own iPad, so by using the built-in camera and camera app, vlogging is a very quick and easy process which enables everyone to create, whatever their ability may be.

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A student creating a digital vlogging diary using Pages app.

In Septemeber, St Cyres School refreshed all iPad devices, which now enables the students to use iOS 12 and access newer apps. In Pages, you are able to insert media into the document such as photographs, audio and video. Long gone are the days of Pages solely being a word processor and therefore being able to add video to the document gave me the idea to create a student vlogging diary. The updated version of Pages enables documents to be exported as an ePub file, creating a finished product in the form of a digital book or diary. This is a very powerful way to evidence students’ progress throughout a project or unit of work.

Instead of just vlogging in the classroom at the end of a unit, I have recently been dedicating around ten minutes to vlogging at the end of each lesson. The students film themselves reflecting on what the lesson was about, what they achieved, what they did well and what they need to do to improve. Based on this they also discuss their next steps are and what they feel their current attainment level is.

Once the video has been recorded, the students then insert it into their digital diary within Pages. They usually dedicate a page for each lesson and sometimes the students may insert more than one video from a particular lesson, depending on what activities they have filmed.

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Students can also record audio directly into Pages to accompany their vlogs

The main reason for creating a digital diary is to enable the students to reflect on their work and so that they can identify how they have improved and also what is required to improve further. The students find this task very engaging and challenging and it also develops lots of skills, such as oracy, communication, confidence, improving own learning, organisational skills and technical skills.

The aim is to create a digital diary filmed over each half term. This enables the teachers, parents or even visiting inspectors to see the learning from each lesson within the half term, without ever having been there. Due to the diary being digital and stored on the students’ iPad devices or shared with the teacher through the cloud, this enables access wherever and whenever required.

 

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Students adding in vlogs from over a period of time

 

As we are now coming to the end of our first half term this academic year, the students have nearly finished their first digital vlogging diaries. Once all of the videos have been inserted in chronological order, students will be encouraged to create an attractive looking diary by changing the fonts and adding pictures and colour. The diaries will then be exported as an ePub file and shared with me for feedback.

Transforming the Music Classroom with Apple Technology

Every student I teach at St Cyres School has their own iPad for learning and this has enabled me to completely transform my classroom into a digital environment.

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iPad devices are now used in music lessons

In 2014, when St Cyres School moved into a brand new build and adopted a 1:1 Apple iPad scheme,  I digitised all of the paper resources to substitute the sheet music and assessment forms. The benefits of this enable easy access for both the teacher and student, whenever and from wherever they have an internet connection. Photocopying has drastically reduced and gone are the days of taking hundreds of exercise books home for marking. Written feedback can now be given instantly through the collaborative features, even when the students are currently working on it themselves!

When the Apple technology was first introduced, I spent time discovering how my teaching environment could change by referring to the SAMR model. This model has four levels of how the technology can be integrated into the classroom.

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Since working with the SAMR model, I always strive to redefine the way music lessons are delivered and having the iPad devices in every lesson has enabled this to happen.

Music is obviously a very practical subject and the iPad devices have enhanced the way we compose and perform. The app GarageBand enables the students to compose and perform using high-quality sounds that even respond like real instruments, such as being able to bend a string on the guitar. Due to the quality of the sounds, this not only creates better compositions and performances but it also engages and challenges the students, so they constantly want to improve their learning.

Key Stage 3 students use GarageBand to compose, enabling them to produce professional sounding music which can easily be shared with the teacher, their peers and even family members at home. Each music classroom also has a suite of Apple Mac minis running Logic Pro X and this enables Key Stage 4 students to create high-quality GCSE compositions. Since creating music with these apps we’ve seen a major increase in composition grades.

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Students creating high-quality compositions using Logic Pro X

Due to every iPad having a built-in camera, this has enabled me to redefine how we self-assess and evidence classwork. Before the technology, we assessed the students’ work by using a paper sheet. This worked well but it did result in short and basic answers from the students. To create an engaging and challenging assessment task, the students use the camera tool on the iPad to demonstrate what they have learned, discuss what went well and what needs to be improved. They also predict their attainment and effort level. This is then shared with the teacher.

You can download my book about ‘Classroom Vlogging’ here: –

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/classroom-vlogging/id1437453991?mt=11

 

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The iPad device’s camera is a very powerful tool for self-assessment

St Cyres School has just refreshed all of the students’ iPad devices. The students now have faster processors, bigger storage and a much higher quality built-in camera. The iPad devices are running IOS 12 which enable the students and teachers to use the latest apps for learning in the classroom.

Recently, Apple has released the Everyone Can Create curriculum which is in the form of a series of books containing resources for students to create with iPad devices.

Being a music teacher I am particularly looking forward to using the music curriculum with all of my Year 9 students after October half term, so watch this space for blogs about their progress.

Click here to download the Everyone Can Create Music Book: –

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/everyone-can-create-music/id1434741739?mt=11