Sunday, February 22, 2015

Evolution of the Lecture: Trojan War Stories

My freshmen students have begun learning about the background information for our study of Homer's Odyssey.  In years past, I would give a two day lecture to the entire freshmen class on the Trojan War, repeating the stories during seven 43 minute periods per day.  It was an epic task-- I had to keep my pace and remembered the tales as I channeled the muses, but I enjoyed every minute of it, modeling age old oral storytelling techniques: pacing, repetition, voice variation, etc.

Years later due to scheduling constraints and other curricular demands, the other freshmen teachers and I decided not to continue with the live lecture. I still would tell the stories to my students in class. But when I started to give the tales last week, something changed.  My enthusiasm waned as it became an epic task to keep my freshmen students focused for the lecture.  I tried. I really did, but when they constantly wanted to interrupt and needed to be redirected back to listening, I realized I didn't have the strength of Hercules to continue.

Not wanting to face defeat, I decided to take a different approach.  Saturday morning, I wrote up a 10 page script to go with my Trojan War Stories slides and I recorded a screencast of the tales.  Using TechSmith's Camtasia to record and edit, my 90 minute lecture became a 54 minute video that still made students focus on listening skills.

Anticipating that playing the video for the whole class would still result in me having to redirect student behavior, I pulled it into EDpuzzle today and spent about 30 minutes putting in questions in the video to check for student understanding.  I purposely chose where to insert the questions, chunking the material.

Tomorrow students will wear headphones, watch my lecture in EDpuzzle, complete the questions, and submit a reflective writing task in Edmodo on the process and comparing/contrast the live lecture to the recorded one. I am looking forward to the formative data and reading what the students write, and I anticipate that most will state that they enjoyed the video more than the live lecture.  I will share screenshots of the data and student feedback later.

For now, you can check out the Stories of the Trojan War as told by me, Mrs. Baker.....

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