Inside a K12 Math Teacher’s Screencasts

Interview with 5th grade teacher Mike Maffesoli, Allendale Elementary School (Melvindale, MI).

Question: What type of Jing screencasts do you create?

Answer: I have created 40 math tutorial videos which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Math. So far I have made one video for each of the 5th Grade Common Core Math Standards. I am gradually hoping to create similar tutorials for 4th Grade CCSS, followed by 3rd Grade, and so on. My screencasts are designed to supplement my math curriculum by sharing concepts, computations, and sample problems to support classroom instruction.

Question: What is a typical video of yours like?

Answer: My video tutorials all feature a verbal explanation of the math concept along with a visual display. Some videos include formal graphics, particularly the fraction and geometry videos, while other videos show numeric values with calculations. I use my graphics pen to generate the written elements such as numbers, words, and simple drawings. In some videos I show straightforward computations. In others I draw right on top of the graphics that I’ve inserted. The format of my screencasts vary slightly based on how I feel I can convey each individual math standard. Vocabulary terms are also scattered among my screencasts. It is surprising that even high achieving math students can be a little shaky when it comes to terminology. An effort has been made to bring math vocab into the tutorials.

Figure 1

Click to enlarge

Figure 2

Click to enlarge

Figure 3

Click to enlarge

Question: How would you suggest that teachers use your videos?

Answer: Personally, I use them with my students in class, usually a day or two after I have taught the ‘live’ lesson. I also write the complete URL of the pertinent videos directly onto paper homework assignments. This assists my kids at night when they are actually doing the assignments. I have also found that the videos are helpful for parents who may need a little refresher or are trying to follow a certain method that was used in class. I would encourage other teachers to share the direct URLs with their students (and families) via their newsletters, blogs, or whichever other communication they utilize.

Question: What are the benefits of your videos?

Answer: I’d love to tell you that all of our students hear, understand, and retain everything that we teachers present during class. Great thought, but that would not be the truth. The videos that I create are essentially a personal mini-lesson that each of my students can receive. Better yet, the kids can watch the video again and again if needed. This can be especially helpful to English Language Learners, students who have been absent, or even as a test review for all students in the class.

Question: What advice would you give to teachers who want to create their own Jing videos?

Answer: It didn’t take long for me to realize that during an educational screencast you can ad lib… some. But to make videos more engaging and powerful to the viewers it really pays to have a good idea of the sequence and main points in the video. Keeping the purpose of each individual screencast as the driving force, I was able to contain my tutorials to their main points. It is very easy, particularly with math, to take a single topic and expand it into multiple layers. So, I would recommend new screencast creators really zoom in on the highest priority goal and let that be your anchor.

Question: Where can people find your videos?

Answer: The videos that I have made (and the ones that I will make in the near future) can be found on my math website – Besides the videos, there are also web links and print resources that are useful for teachers, students, and parents.