Monday, March 24, 2014

Webinar: iPad Video Production for the Flipped Classroom

Presented on Thursday, March 27th 2014.  iPad Video Production for the Flipped Classroom is one of a three part webinar series hosted by the Graduate Admissions Department at Canisius College.

Can't see the embedded video?  View it on YouTube.

Webinar Description:

Canisius Professor and Amherst Middle School Teacher Rob Zdrojewski will demonstrate iOS apps his students and fellow colleagues have used to create screencast videos for the flipped classroom. Join us as we explore iOS Screencasting apps such as ScreenChomp, EDUcreations, and Explain Everything. Numerous student samples and lesson plans will be provided as we demonstrate the app workflows. Learn how simple video production and screencasting on a iPad can be!

View My Presentation Outline here:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Amherst Students Creating Screencasts for Summative Assessment

I've never been a huge fan of taking or administering final exams.  As a teacher I completely understand the need-- as good teaching requires you to gauge what somebody has learned at the end of a major unit or project, in order to inform future instruction.  That makes sense to me.  However, I just feel that one-size-fits-all bubble sheet testing never really gauges true understanding of content.  Sure they make assessment convenient, especially when you have hundreds of students on your roster like I do.  But I'm convinced that with the many technology options now available, there has to be a better way for teachers to verify what students know!

Screencasting is often defined as "a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture, often containing audio narration."  In other words, it's a video anyone can make, and anyone can watch, at a time most convenient to make or watch, where somebody narrates and elaborates on anything you can view on a computer screen.

For the past few weeks in my classroom, our 7th and 8th grade students have been involved in an authentic learning project.  They are learning how to use a variety of digital tools to create proposals on how they'd spend a fictitious $30,000 to design and construct the "Ultimate Dream Bedroom" (see introduction here).   The project involves using Edmodo to conduct group brainstorming, Google Spreadsheets to calculate final costs and potential room sizes, Google Forms to create classmate surveys, 3D Floor Planner app (free within Google Drive) to create a virtual walk through, and finally TechSmith Relay to create a summary screencast that showcases all of their work over the past few weeks.

Embedded below is an example of such a student produced screencast:

Can't see the video?  Watch it on YouTube.

Since my students are using TechSmith Relay to create these videos, they have the option of creating screencasts on their home computers instead of having to record in class.  Simon chose this option as you'll see in the video above.  Sometimes having 25+ kids recording videos in a computer lab can be a bit intimidating, so kids appreciate having that opportunity to record in a more quiet and familiar location.  Before we had TechSmith Relay this option wasn't as possible unless the parents purchased some decent screencasting software themselves, and obviously I as a teacher cannot require that for every child!

So now I'm happy to say that we've discovered yet another alternative to the bubble sheet final exam.  If your students have the capability of creating screencasts, why not use that option for your summative assessment instead of the one-size-fits-all assessments that have existed since before I was a student decades ago?  It gives the student voice and choice to demonstrate not only what they've learned, but more importantly an opportunity to say it in their own words- literally!

Comments or questions?  Please leave them below and consider subscribing to my teacher blog for more articles that showcase how educational technology can be used to empower students in the 21st century.

Friday, February 28, 2014

(Beach Edition) Amherst Middle School Tech TV Program

Today was a unique broadcast day for our Amherst Middle School Tech TV students.  Normally we present our live daily broadcasts from our "virtual TV studio", but the kids decided since the temperature was negative 2 degrees in Buffalo, we'd shoot on location in the tropics instead.  It's amazing what you can do with greenscreen software like WireCast on a Mac!

Enjoy our special edition video embedded below, and watch any of our past shows at

Can't see the video?  View on YouTube or SchoolTube instead.

Consider subscribing to our twitter stream @AmherstTechTV for daily updates!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Using Edmodo for Data Driven Instruction (DDI)

In today's video blog post, I wanted to feature an instructional practice that classroom teachers like myself are now using more than ever.  Data Driven Instruction (DDI) is the formalized approach that permits teachers to look closely at many data points, and make decisions on what (and how) to best teach their students.

In the video embedded below, I demonstrate how I've been using Edmodo lately to analyze data from assignments and quizzes in my classes.

Can't see the video?  Watch on YouTube.

Do you have ideas on how to use Edmodo for DDI?  Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Attica Tech Workshops on Edmodo and iPad Video Production

On Wednesday, February 19th 2014 I will be presenting the following two technology workshops at Attica Central School District's Staff Development Day focusing on technology integration:

Using Edmodo to Engage Your Class

(View my presentation outline HERE)
So you've heard of facebook, but are you wondering how can social networking benefit your classroom and yet still be safe? Learn why Amherst Middle School Teacher and Canisius College Adjunct Professor Rob Zdrojewski has abandoned his boring teacher website in favor of using Edmodo as a free “digital learning platform” to engage students and parents, and offer a means to host online Professional Development. Learn more about the many great features at

iPad Video Production: Digital Storytelling Projects for Any Curricular Area

(View my presentation outline HERE)
Attendees will learn the basics of iPad video production with students. Apps such as iMovie, Videolicious and ScreenChomp will be demonstrated along with optional accessories used to turn your iPad into a movie making powerhouse! Bring your iPad and leave with a new creation to use immediately.