SAMR Model Rating: Modification
Grade level: All
Subject area: All
Cost: Free to $8.25/month
It’s bound to happen, you are teaching a new concept, a difficult skill, and half of your class is absent on a field trip. You have given them the work in advance, knowing full well that they will be unable to complete it without direct instruction. You have a few options: Hold a separate catch-up session with all of them at lunch when they return (which a few students will actually attend), or use Educreations to record your lesson while you are teaching to the kids who are in class, and share it with everyone on NEO. You hear a lot about screencasting, but most of the time the teacher is taking time out of class to record the lesson. Why not just do it live? It’s an easy choice if you ask me.
I used Educreations recently in the above mentioned situation. I was teaching a lesson on Pedigree Charts, a skill that is part logic, and part understanding of genetic principles. After teaching one class period to a half-full room, I realized that I could solve my conundrum by recording myself while using Educreations the next period. I did prep my students a bit to let them know that I would be recording, but I didn’t limit any of our normal dialogue that absent students would normally miss. This allowed the students who were absent to experience the whole lesson, not just the skill taught. At times we did get a little off topic, but this is what normally happens as students have lesson driven questions. I thought it was neat that anyone watching would get the whole spectrum of things discussed that day.
I like Educreations for many reasons. For one, it is really easy to use. The color choices are sufficient without being overwhelming. You can import pictures, or draw them yourself. You can write with a finger or stylus, or type with the same ease. Objects are easy to move and edit. It’s clean and simple. All of this can be done with the free version. One downfall of the free version is that you can only have one draft (set of slides) at a time. I just use this as a running whiteboard basically. However, when you do choose to record (with the tap of a button) it will save that lesson separately for you. From there you can share a link of the video. This is what I did with my Pedigree lesson. I recorded the use a few slides and shared the link on NEO so the students could watch it at home. The video opens in any web browser without any extra software needed. This is also nice because even students who were there but need a refresher can go back and watch it again.
With the paid version of the app you do get more options, but none make me feel like I’m totally missing out. The features that I could see being useful are the ability to use a laser pointer on your page, saving unlimited drafts, and being able to export your lessons.
The options in education technology are overwhelming, but I feel this app accomplishes a big task without being any extra work. It’s definitely worth your time to give it a shot!