What makes a good video tutorial? – week 7

How do we find out about our students’ understanding? How do students get feedback about their learning? How can we practically and effectively embed technology in our assessment?

At the beginning of the 7th week, I reflected upon the assessment which is handled in the project. Course 5 Final Project UBD

My colleague and I considered the following characteristics of assessment:

– it includes relevant, explicit, and public criteria that are tied to learning goals

– it occurs frequently and in conjunction with every significant performance

– it comes from multiple sources and includes self, peer, teacher, expert feedback

– it gauges progress and informs planning


Using the four quadrants in the following assessment grid, developed by Ron Ritchhart at Project Zero, I looked over the variety of assessments that should be used throughout the unit.   G4 video tutorial-Assessment Coordinate Axes

The vertical axis represents the structure of the assessment (from informal to formal); the horizontal axis indicates the beneficiary of the assessment. For example, external exams and practice for those exams would be placed in the upper-left quadrant, as they are both formal and assessed by (and primarily used by) a teacher or external examiner. In the lower-right quadrant would be a self-assessment along the lines of students writing a reflection in a journal about how they feel about their current piece of writing. Given a prompt by the teacher, they might be directed to discuss what they find difficult and how they have seen improvement, and they could comment on anything that confuses or frustrates them. (from Teaching for Understanding 2: Understanding in Practice)


Here are my findings:

At the beginning of the unit, much of the assessment is informal: students listening to one another as they work in a group, responding orally to questions form the teacher or a peer. More formal assessment takes place later in the unit. I also realized that we employ a lot of class discussion. The use of protocols is a valuable assessment tool. It can offer a great amount of feedback to students about their learning. Class discussion gives students a view into their understanding and allows us to see how this understanding is developing.

Due to the schedule, we can’t afford to spend much time on developing a rubric. Working with students to develop criteria, however, is another powerful method of revealing their understanding and ensuring that the teacher and students agree on expectations. Rubrics can be used both to develop and to assess understanding, and students can play an active part in rubric development.

1. How do we find out about our students’ understanding?

Teachers know that it is not a singular summative assessment, but an ongoing process that pushes students to reflect upon their learning. This contributes to their understanding of key skills and knowledge in a unit. Assessment needs to be an interactive process of receiving and providing feedback and guidance throughout the learning experience, as well as including opportunities to put new insights gained from this feedback into practice.

2. How do students get feedback about their learning?

We should keep in mind that every activity should incorporate ongoing assessment: ways in which the teacher and students can monitor the learning process, indentify misconceptions and gather the information needed to scaffold the next steps in the development of understanding. In addition, assessment can take many forms and variety is the key to success.

3. How can we practically and effectively embed technology in our assessment?

Student learning should be checked by multiple people (e.g., by student, peer, teacher, expert)  at different times in the unit, and it should be checked both informally (e.g., through observation, discussion) and formally (e.g., through selections from portfolios, analysis of work in relation to specified criteria).  From our studies of COETAIL, we have learned how easily technology can help us share and reflect student learning with multiple people at multiple times in the unit.

 Final Presentation


What makes a good video tutorial? – week 6

Design group tasks that support both meaningful collaboration and the core learning are not easy. The group projects need to tightly align with learning goals, and students should understand what is expected as individuals in support of the group’s work.

Learning Goals:

– Students will obtain the skills necessary to make sense of the facts that they discover in the study of Japanese culture

-Students will develop and polish their collaboration skills and understand that different people learn in different ways

-Students will understand the design process (planning, goal setting, managing, etc.)

-Students will learn a variety of transition words and apply them to instructional writing

-Students will understand how to import content into iMovie, edit it and then save it by exporting it


Before assigning individual roles within each group, students and teachers co-developed a list of the various roles and skills that are needed for video making.





The list includes:


  • A manager’s job is to lead the group: help people in the group, complete their job, and organize the group
  • Required skills: knowing when to help people, good at explaining things, and organization skill
  • A dancer’s job is to dance perfectly and to show the actions very clearly to audience
  • Required skills: dancing skills


  • A scriptwriter’s job is to write the explanations of dance
  • Required skills: clear explanations and know how to write for the audience


  • A camerawoman’s job is to video tape the dancers
  • Required skills: hold the camera still, look at the detail, and know what to zooming and when to be quiet


  • An editor’s job is to put the final tutorial together
  • Required skills: attention to detail and computer skills


  •  A researcher’s job is to find the background knowledge of the dance
  • Required skills: reading, writing, typing, and searching for information


-Sound director

  • A sound director’s job is to be in charge of the sound, to record voice, balance the sound, and select and insert any music
  • Required skills: good at listening, good computer skills, and creative
  • An illustrator’s job is to draw pictures that explain each step of the process
  • Required skills: good drawing skills, good eyes, nimble hands, creative, and good imagination


-Video diary person

  • A video diary person’s job is to records the behind the screens action and makes a video recording after each step of the process
  • Required skills: pay attentions to the details and behind the scenes, good at telling stories, and creative


Based on their interests, strengths and skills, students chose tasks they would do and discussed how they would work together: what needs to be done, by which team member, and by when.

Next week, each group will start on their project, at last!

What makes a good video tutorial? – week 5

Not only for students but also for people of all ages, working in groups is complicated on many levels. Nevertheless, we know that collaboration is one of the 21st century skills our students must develop. It is crucial that teachers establish opportunities for students to work together in meaningful and productive ways on assignments that are important and engaging. Even though my approach to the 21st century skills is limited, I can see it is this context that students develop and polish their skills of collaboration.

Draw a conclusion from my experiences; collaboration is a key to succeed the project. As I mentioned on my post on May 24, I realized that understanding of “collaboration (share responsibility)” is the key for project success that leads students to their learning.

This week, when I needed to assign students to groups, I realized an important role of homeroom teachers. In elementary classrooms, homeroom teachers are the one who observe students daily bases and know their strengths and skills that they can bring to group work. Grouping can have a major impact on succeeding group work and developing students’ collaboration skills, therefore, I assigned students to groups under their advice.

Students formed groups of five or six and began planning what tasks they would do and how they would work together. Students made an agreement with their group members about teamwork and planed their project. The following sheets from “FreeBIEs” were used to design and manage team projects.

This contract can be used by a project team to agree upon about how they will work together.






This document helps a project team organize what needs to be done, by which team member, and by when.


Next week, each group will discuss the group tasks and individual roles.

What makes a good video tutorial? – week 4

Good projects involve meaningful inquiry that engages students in their learning. It needs to capture the heart of the project and link to the core of what we want students to learn. Without meaningful inquiry, students may not understand why they are engage in the project, and if you asked them, “What is the point of all these activities?” they might answer, “Because of our project, making a tutorial.”

It is also necessary to look back on the inquiry periodically and make sure students understand the purpose of their projects.

At the beginning of the 4th week, students reviewed the inquiries of their project:

-What can we learn about Japan from the dance we know?

-How do we know we have learned the dance?

-How to share our understanding of the dance?

and developed their SMART goals.


Specific- What am I trying to achieve?

  • What am I making?
  • Why am I making it?

-We are making a “Tokyo Ondo” video tutorial to help people to learn the dance and prepare for the school event.


Measurable- How will I know that I have achieved my goal?

  • What will a good example look like?

-We could test the tutorial on our parents who don’t know how to dance the “Tokyo Ondo” and see if they can learn the dance from the tutorial. We could achieve our goal if everyone could dance the “Tokyo Ondo” perfectly.

-A good video will have good dancers, good explanations and good filming.


Attainable- How do I know that I can achieve my goal?

  • What skills do I have that I can use?
  • Who do I know that can help me?
  • What have I done in the past that is similar to this?

-Japanese dancing, editing, filming, speaking, researching, and collaboration skills

-Teachers and experts

-School tour filming and explaining, video making


Relevant- Is this like anything else you are learning about?

  • What are you learning about in your other subjects?
  • Can you connect this goal to any of your other subjects?

-Music (Japanese songs), Art (mask making), Library (Japanese books), PE (movement),  Brain unit (balance and learning), Dancing class ( movements of Japanese dance), Photography lessons, and Filming tutorial for piano


Time Frame – When will I complete this project? -November 30th

Once the class had decided on action that would help them respond to the inquiries, they got to start their project, making a tutorial video for a Japanese folk dance!

What makes a good video tutorial? – week 3

This week, Grade 4 Japanese culture classes reviewed the questions that came up last week.

1) How can we help our audience to learn the dance?                                             Give a dance lesson through a video tutorial                                                                                                            

2) What makes a good dance tutorial?                                                                 Accurate and clear instructions by using different presentation forms such as movies, music, voice-over, and subtitles                                                                           

3) Who is our audience?                                                                                                   The students from Grade 1 to Grade 12 and the school community  

After the review, the teachers outlined the project plan to the students and made them set the class goals.                                                                                                     

1. Set class goals

The class used SMART goals, thank you to Grace for sharing “SMART” with us, to set their own goals.      


Specific – What am I trying to achieve?

  • What am I making?
  • Why am I making it?

MeasurableHow will I know that I have achieved my goal?

  • What will a good one look like?
AttainableHow do I know that I can achieve my goal?
  • What skills do I have that I can use?
  • Who do I know that can help me?
  • What have I done in the past that is similar to this?

Relevant- Is this like anything else you are learning about?

  • What are you learning about in your other subject?
  • Can you connect this goal to any of your other subjects?

Time Frame – When will I complete this project by?


2. Review the dance

The class invited the expert to review the dance and to deepen the understanding of it. Students also asked the expert about the elements of a “good” dance instructor. Based on this dance lesson with the expert, students built the criteria to choose the best dancers from the class. Those are the criteria:


Accurate in beat, tempo, and rhythms of dance sequences

Technique/Quality of Movement

Accurate in movement, body position, sequence order, and moves are executed smoothly                                                                                           

Knowledge movement/choreography

Demonstrates an understanding of the Japanese dance style      








Next week, the class will choose “good” dance instructors based on the criteria, and will also develop their SMART goals.

What makes a good video tutorial? – week 1/2

My Grade 4 Japanese culture students have been discussing to make a tutorial video for a Japanese folk dance. Every year, students from Grade 1 to Grade 4 practice the dance called “Tokyo Ondo” and perform it at a school event. The class decided to make a tutorial for this dance to deepen their understanding of the dance, and share their learning with the school community. Students also liked the idea that the tutorial can help new students and elder students to lean the dance.

This week, students watched several dance tutorials. They though some of them were good and some were not. Students chose video 3 and 5 were “good” tutorials.

1. YouTube Preview Image

2. YouTube Preview Image

3. YouTube Preview Image

4. YouTube Preview Image

5. YouTube Preview Image


Here are the reasons why they thought those are the good ones.

Tutorial 3:

  • They give a good explanation
  • It is step by step and it is slow motion
  • There are words beside it
  • The camera zooms up so you could see closely
  • There are more than one dance instructors

Tutorial 5:

  • It has explanations and there are two people that are on an opposite side
  • It shows the front and the back

After the class discussion, students came to the conclusion that they need to consider the target audience and the purpose. There is no tutorial suitable for everyone and for everything. This made them think; what are the elements of a “good” video tutorial for Japanese folk dance, and how to make a “good” one for our audience.

Due to the schedule, I chose the sample videos for this time but I could make students to search videos that suit to their purposes.

Next week, the class will continue the discussion and build the criteria for “their” good dance video tutorial.


Innovative Learning

In a traditional teaching classroom, the teacher is the sender and the source, and the student is the receiver of the information. The learning in classroom tends to be passive and the learners play little part in their learning process. However, technology has made many innovations in the field of teaching and also made a radical change from the traditional teaching and learning.

We begin to realize that in the 21st century classroom, the role of student is more important than teachers. The role of the teacher is changing from the sender to the facilitator. This changing role of education is inevitable with the introduction of multimedia technology.

photograph: Shutter Stock

Thus I modified the persuasive writing unit that is an extension to the traditional methods of teaching.

1. Using multimedia to modify the contents of the material

Use various digital media types such as text, images, audio and video to convey information to students. By incorporating digital media elements into the unit, students are able to learn better since they use multiple sensory modalities, which would make them more motivated to pay more attention to the information presented and retain the information better.

2. Employing a variety of digital environments and media to connect learners with quality content

The value of teaching foreign language is not just making students literate but develop an international mindset alongside an awareness of their own cultural identity. It is important to connect learners with other learners, as it is connect learners with quality content. Engaging with learners of other cultures enhances student global competence.

image: 21th century classroom teacher

Using an innovative learning strategy can change a traditional classroom to that of 21st century: interactive, engaged, and student-centered classroom.


The Approaches to Learning

Teachers have their own strategies to help students manage their learning.

At the beginning of the year, I show the course goals and expectations to students and parents to discuss the approaches to learning. It is necessary for students to aware responsibilities for their own learning, not only to understand the content knowledge but also the way to learn effectively and efficiently.

How to deal with the digital distractions? How to set computer limits? How to develop self-control? How to build time management skills? These are not new skills or new classroom management strategies. I believe these are still the approaches to learning.

The rubric that I use in my language class includes,

  •  Responsibility for learning: display responsibility for own leaning, display intellectual curiosity, seek out new learning opportunities
  •  Knowledge expansion: apply knowledge to new situations, make some interdisciplinary connections
  •  Persistence: stick to a problem or task, know what steps to take- how to begin and what is needed, adjust to difficulties

and especially for middle school students,

  • Managing impulsivity: think before acting or speaking, keep immediate value judgments confidential until full understanding is reached
  • Study Habits and Preparation: display study habits and class preparation, tasks are completed without distraction of other students, completes all homework on time

about these two approaches, I often change based on students’ age levels and their readiness levels.                                                                     After the readings this week, I realized that I could modify these two as follows:

  • Time-management: set computer limits, display effective use of time to ensure things get down on time
  • Study Habits and Self-control: display study habits and class preparation, stay focus on a task and completed without digital distractions

Presenting a rubric is not enough to raise students’ awareness of how they learn best through technology. We as teachers have to show them “learning how to learn” and to be their role model as same way as we already do in regular classroom.

Global collaboration

I see the workplaces of the 21st century have a flat environment, where members are thinking about outcomes and principles with an ever-changing set of variables, and they are expected to collaborate with peers and across disciplines. Being lifelong learners is a very important trait in this new world economy and schools must prepare students for this reality.

In his article ‘The Classroom Is Obsolete: It’s Time for Something New’, Prakash Nair reminds us that we still tend to define “success” as students’ ability to perform well on a standardized test, rather than their developing skills to navigate a fast-changing world. He lists the education design principles for tomorrow’s schools.

Those are (1) personalized; (2) safe and secure; (3) inquiry-based; (4) student-directed; (5) collaborative; (6) interdisciplinary; (7) rigorous and hands-on; (8) embodying a culture of excellence and high expectations; (9) environmentally conscious; (10) offering strong connections to the local community and business; (11) globally networked; and (12) setting the stage for lifelong learning.

Those principles are not new for educators in the 21st century, however, how successfully we apply those to our schools. We might say, “successfully” to some and “unsuccessfully” to others. I realize the need of global collaboration project to develop student global competence by connecting to community locally, nationally, and globally, but I am not sure how to carry out the project along with global colleagues. It seems tough to complete successfully.

In her blog post, Kim Cofino gives a step-by-step guide to global collaborations. Those detailed lists are truly valuable not only for teachers who are willing to collaborate globally, but also for all the 21st century educators. Her contribution to the global learning community also deepens my understanding of connectivism.

Using the public services is also one way to carry out the projects successfully. There are various public services that offer place to collaborate globally; The Japan Forum (TJF) is one of them. TJF is a public interest incorporated foundation that established in 1987 under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan.

One of their websites, ‘Tsunagaaru’ offers Japanese language learners the opportunity for global collaborations. It is an interactive communication website and participants are secondary school students in Japan and other countries.

I assume that using those websites promote the connection among educators and students globally, and avoid unsuccessful collaboration.

A Few Tips When Producing an iPhone App

I still remember the excitement when I first saw a variety of apps on my iPhone, to be accurate, at the App Store. There were unlimited possibilities on the small screen of my new smart phone. It was May 2010 when my journey started.

 iPhone 3GS        iPhone 4S

When talking about education in the digital age, we often emphasized the impact of connection and collaboration across networks that allowed us to cross boundaries: between classrooms and the outside world, amongst disciplines, within education, or between people. However, when I started to consider the role of educational apps, I thought of other aspects of learning in the digital age–individual learning and autonomous learning. Using apps could be a feasible and efficient way to reduce challenges in the differentiated classroom to instruct students from diverse backgrounds and interests, with various skills and readiness levels.

I had been struggling to find a solution to respond to the needs of all students in my classroom, not only using differentiated instruction and resources but also dividing my time with students. In the language classroom, I had been trying to reduce time for repetitive exercises that students could manage themselves to allow more time to focus on individual learning needs. This is not to say that repetitive exercises are less important. They are crucial for second language learners and moreover I think students need to engage in repetitive drills more frequently but on their own, and apps could be the answer to support learning anywhere, at any time.

I thought I had found a practical solution for this issue, but then I found that there were not enough educational apps suitable for my students. Therefore, I decided to produce a custom-made app for them.


My first app: Katakana Town-M

First, I looked for a business partner who could shape my idea and create an actual app. Fortunately, I found some reliable people and in a short time formed a team to start this project. We were all amateurs in the field of educational apps; however, the team members were professional advisers on games. They edited strategic game manuals and they knew the types of games that entertained people. I thought this point was essential to engage students in their learning. If my students use an app for learning it must be an entertaining app so they will want to use it repeatedly. I could not ignore the entertainment aspect of the app. I had to consider this even more because it would be used for educational purposes.



I learned so much through this experience and realized I could not just be satisfied in producing an app but had to share my learning with colleagues who might be willing to produce one.

Here are some tips for producing an iPhone app. I will just mention technical points, since they are not only for specific subject areas or age levels.

These are four technical points to consider in the planning:

1. Devices and OS Versions

Do you know the smart phones require different source codes for their apps?

The differences are shown in Table 1.

Table 1

iPhone Android BlackBerry
SDK(Software Development Kit) iPhoneSDK/Quartz AndroidSDK BlackBerrySDK (CLDC/MIDP)
IDE(Integrated Development Environment) XCode Eclipse Eclipse
Programming language ObjectiveC/C++ JAVA JAVA

In the planning stage, it is necessary to examine a variety of platforms and decide the devices and OS versions the app requires. In my case, for instance, the supported devices and iOS versions for my app are iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
 with iOS 4.0 or later.

There are many different combinations of devices and iOS versions. Some might have iPhone 3GS with iOS 4.0 and others might have iPhone 4S with iOS 5.1. It is necessary to consider the many variations in the planning stage and choose the devices and iOS versions for the app. This initial planning is crucial not only for the development process but also for test management when debugging for various device versions. With constant updates, it might become necessary to revise to an updated device or OS after the release of the app.

2. Usability

Consider the usability of the display. Decide whether to show your app vertically, horizontally or both. Consider the target users and the ease of use for them.

3. Network use

Does the app require a network connection or not?

I want my app to be used anywhere at any time, so I decided not to use a network. However, to make the app interactive: to communicate and compete with other users or refer to your history data, a network is required. It is also possible to do both. For instance, users can use the app to answer quizzes without a network but when they want to refer to their personal records of the quizzes, they must use the network to connect to a server.

 4. Network connection and size

If your app requires a network, the speed and stability of the Internet connection must be considered and a decision made between 3G or WiFi to connect to the network. Of course, the app should work on both. Related to the network, if the app is more than 50 MB in size (as of March 8th 2012), it needs to be downloaded using WiFi. The size must be less than 50 MB to use 3G for downloading.

Resources: Saver

Producing an app has been a challenging, rewarding and educational project. Anyone with a passion can produce an app. Technology changes our role and the way we teach.

Teachers are no longer just consumers but now teachers can also be producers.