How can we involve high school students in observing Kindergarten and 1st Grade classrooms without ever leaving their school? Start by offering a Digital Walkthrough!
Traci Silvey, Child Growth and Development teacher at Liberty North High School and Tara Harvey, Innovation and Learning Coach, have partnered together to give this class (above) a rich learning experience which includes observation hours in an Early Childhood environment.
The unfortunate reality is that subbing out a teacher to take a group of students on a field trip, providing district transportation and requiring students to miss other classes as they travel to and from elementary schools can be a deterrent for these rich learning experiences.
Our solution for this observation?
The high school students stay in class at Liberty North and participate in a Digital Walkthrough.
How did we create this experience?
One iPad with earbuds for the facilitator on location, Google Hangout, and some creativity.
Throughout the observation I was at EPiC Elementary in both the Kindergarten and 1st Grade classrooms. With the camera reversed, the device was held looking into the classoom. Earbuds were worn on location so that I could hear the high school conversation, but it wasn’t distracting for the elementary students. As the person on location, you are able to walk around and whisper into the microphone, reducing the amount of distraction in the classroom. High School students can ask clarifying questions to better understand the environment and to direct the facilitator to zoom in on sections of the classroom where they want a closer look.
Our tips for success? As the facilitator, be careful not to swing your iPad around quickly or you might cause motion sickness in some of your observing participants. It is also important to preview the observation checklist first to ensure all parties have a general idea of the types of activities they would like to observe.
Overall rating? From my perspective, it was a grand slam! Even though face-to-face is often the preferred mode of observation, the Digital Walkthrough will allow us to open more classrooms across the District for this high school group! We saved time and money that goes into planning and initiating field trips as well as reduced the amount of distraction from the elementary perspective.
Our next steps? We will debrief this observation to determine changes that will kick this project up a notch and then continue to utilize technology to create more connections!
Special Thanks To: