Friday, August 24, 2012

Video Pals - Part 1

I have this idea in my head and need to flesh it out on paper (well blogging I guess).  I'm thinking about making my students video pals (like pen pals) with other students of mine.

As you read, please keep this in mind:  This activity only exists in my head right now, I've never tried it.  I'd love your feedback and opinion (good or bad).

Here it goes:

I teach two different courses this year; Algebra 1B and Pre-Calculus.
I want to find a topic that is challenging for Algebra 1B yet not too easy for Pre-Calculus.

I'm going to assign partners in each class (both Algebra and Pre-Calc).

I'll start with giving the Algebra pairs something challenging, like a packet, or activity, or real life problem, or something (help me out here).  Each Algebra pair works to formula how they are going to ask for assistance as the Pre-Calc pairs will be instructed to not do the problem for them.

The Algebra pairs video record their question(s), upload it to the computer, and e-mail(?) it to the Pre-Calc video pal.

The Pre-Calc pairs receive their video from their Algebra Video pals and work on coming up with how to help their pals, record it, and send a video back.

This will go back and forth until it's done.  Whatever "it" is.

That's as far as my thought process went.  Now my questions for you....

1) Has anyone done anything like this before?
2) Any suggestions as to what topic I could try?
3) What are the Algebra 1 students trying to do?  Are they answering problems?  Are they completing an activity?  Are they building something?
4) How do the pals share their videos with each other easily?
5) I'm overwhelmed now.   Should I start with pencil and paper rather than video OR be brave and JUST DO IT?


  1. I say do it. I'm really excited by the possibilities of having students screencast explanations of their problem solving work using jing, and I like the twist you are taking. I could imagine that a lot of back and forth could be difficult to keep track of, but it sounds like a very worthwhile project.

  2. I really like this idea. It hits on so many big ideas we want our kids to learn. How to approach a problem, knowing what they need to answer it, communication, being able to explain math, not just do it. I think the time would be worth the gains. Just when I was excited to have only one prep, you make me want my honors classes back :)