Monday Tech Minute [4/28/14] - Movenote Part 2

Every Monday morning, check this blog for three quick reasons to try out a new little piece of technology. These are all tech tips that I have used in class or that I am excited to try out very soon. If you missed last week's post on Movenote* then check it out here

*I know! Two weeks on Movenote! It's that awesome. Seriously, check it out. 

Do you have #edtech tips that you want to share? Great! E-mail them to me here! Share them on twitter! Post in the comments section below!

Monday Tech Minute [4/28/14] - Movenote Part 2

I like to try and feature new technology in this space each week. I will often discover through twitter or a great colleague a new little piece of #edtech and feature it in a lesson. It may stick for some students and bore others. If I am not careful, the use of a particular #edtech tool will slowly drift away not to be seen again. The benefit of this is the regular rotation of educational tools and the survival-of-the-fittest mindset that comes with this strategy. Any tool that sticks around must be good both for me and the kids. However, there is some danger in this. What if I made some mistake that hampered the use of the tool? What if my kids were just off that day and I read that to mean that the tool didn't work well? What if...

That's a scary mental exercise, one which is deserving of at least 3 blog posts, a book and 19 tweets. Later. 

That's how #edtech goes in my class, and that is how I came to know Movenote. It was shown to me by my brilliant wife, Angela (@autismteacher13). That's why you spread good ideas. You may end up on a sparsely-read educational blog! 

Without further babbling, three more reasons to try/ways to use Movenote in the classroom: 

1. Students get to practice presentation skills
Young students carry with them uncountable terrible public speaking habits. We can start basic and talk about the fidgets, the lack of eye contact, the desire to read content straight for a presentation or the pace of speaking. That doesn't ever get to a conversation about moving from a proficient speaker to a good speaker people want to listen to. I could write an Encyclopedia-sized book on the flaws that we teachers see coming from students as they present their work. 

As a teacher, I try to set up situations where students are forced to present information for this very reason. We don't make kids practice this skill enough. Any situation that brings up some tense nervousness and some pressure is good. It mimics the feeling that professionals have as they prepare for formal and informal presentations every day. 

Movenote uses a webcam to allow the presenter's face to be viewable during the presentation. I tell my students that the eye of the camera is like the audience in a face-to-face presentation. The more eye contact you make, the more professional it feels. We can then look at the video and, on top of whatever benefits there are for learning content (and there are plenty), we can discuss presentation skills almost immediately. This quick feedback time is vital for any good assessment.

Several learning points from this sample video. This was the
student's first attempt at Movenote - a quality first try!

2. Use Movenote for teacher-created content review
This is the first use that I thought of for my class. I give predominately short-answer/essay question assessments* and like to review main points and ideas before each test. The answers I'm looking for are more on the analysis and synthesis of ideas spectrum, so I encourage students to find the basic information from study materials, the text or the internet - even during the exam. We live in a world where basic knowledge can be found online in seconds. I want to assess students partly on their ability to utilize the greatest information database the world has ever known, not just on their recall and memorization ability.

*Check out part 1 of 3 on assessments and how we as educators can rethink how they benefit students here

Review video for test question 8. I was getting a bit loopy at this point in the night...

For the most recent test, which my students are taking this week, I uploaded a video between 1 and 4 minutes long for each of the test questions. Students were able to spend time looking at the video and coming up with information and ideas to create a well-developed answer.

3. Use Movenote for student-created content review
This is the part that I'm really excited about for next year when all of our students have their own devices. The review videos I made were for a 9th grade class on Modern World History. For my 11th grade class on US Government, I decided to let them try to make their own Movenote presentations. I had each student pick a section of the chapter, spend 2 days prepping their presentation, and finally another 2 days to get everyone through the filming of the presentations. The first Movenote above is one of those student presentations. 

Two thing went majorly wrong, but I think that both are fixable issues. First, none of the computers that we currently have were working quickly enough to make the streaming video usable. There would be really long lag times which were too much for students to work through on their first time with the technology. I think that this will be fixed when we get newer and faster laptops next year. Plus, the students will have their own laptops, which I expect will make them better at working through hiccups like these. 

The second and more major problem was the logistics of uploading the presentations to the Movenote software from Google Drive. I did not want to mess with the student's creating their own Movenote accounts, which was a mistake. Not taking that single step added 3 or 4 steps as students had to make their presentations accessible to me so that I could upload them to my Movenote account. It moved a lot more of the logistical work to me and away from the students, which is not realistic. 


Movenote has a lot of potential. I am excited to play around with it more over the summer. I think there is the potential to create some video vocabulary lessons that could be really cool. If you have ideas, I would love for you to share them in the comments section below!

Love it? Hate it? Leave your thoughts below and let's talk about it!

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