Isn’t it great when you walk away from a keynote with something you can actually use immediately?
This is what happened when I saw Lodge McCammon give the closing keynote at IntegratED IPDX 2017 in February. He introduced us to Paperslides, a new-to-me combining of the low tech paper-glue-and-scissors we all love and miss with the ease and versatility of making videos for flipped or blended learning.
At this point you’re probably thinking, “These sound interesting, Doug. But what exactly are they?” That’s an excellent question, Dear Reader. And I could spend a lot of words explaining paperslides to you. But that isn’t nearly as neat (or meta) as actually using a paperslide video to explain. And with that I turn it over to Paper Courson and Paper Sophie-
This was made, all told, in about two and a half hours. But that’s because my student teacher Veronica and I got caught up in the fun and it got a little more detailed than we initially planned. But it went exactly like my paper monsters explained. I scripted the whole thing out, we decided what needed slides made, sketched out what the basic plan was, and got to cutting and gluing. We rehearsed twice and shot it in one take. Honestly, the hardest part was figuring out how to get the iPad we used in the correct position without letting it fall on Veronica’s head.
But it’s not cool if you show your students how to do something and then don’t allow them to do it. After all, the goal of any nifty teacher tech is to hand it to students so they can create. At the same time Veronica and I had been banging our heads against the converting units section of our math standards. Yes, there’s giving the kids all the different measuring implements and letting them go to town, but we’ve got a big group. There had to be a more efficient way. Enter paperslides, one of those wonderful moments of serendipity that happen in classrooms. We (she- hey, she’s a student teacher, she needs to practice this stuff) broke the class into groups of three and assigned each group a one step conversion to represent using a paperslide. This allowed the kids to practice converting units by explaining the process, while also allowing them to make a paperslide video, while also keeping them from going completely overboard with their first paperslide video and thus keeping the timeframe tight and focused.
They were given a little under an hour total to design, rehearse, and shoot a class-wide paperslide video. This is what we ended up with after the hour-
It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it wasn’t meant to be. And now we have a student-created review and a new type of presenting learning that the kids are clamoring to use again. So much so that we just wrapped up some vocabulary reviews using a slightly more time-intensive version of the technique. That first, whole class one though, that was a fun challenge to set up and shoot. Felt like a baby OK Go video*.
The combination of simple video making, incredibly high student engagement and creativity, and ease of set-up and execution makes paperslide videos something I’m going to keep in my Teacher Pocket for a long time to come. Steal my Courson and Sophie video. Show your kids. Make good things.
If you think this is cool, you should check out Dr. McCammon’s videos. They’re ridiculous.
*side note- if you’re not using Ok Go videos to inspire students to get to the making, you’re doing it wrong.
Doug Robertson is the CUE Blog Editor and an eleventh-year teacher currently talking at fifth graders in Northern Oregon. He’s taught in California, Hawaii, and Oregon in 3rd, 4th, and 6th grades. He’s the author of two books about education, He’s the Weird Teacher and THE Teaching Text (You’re Welcome), one novel, The Unforgiving Road, and is an active blogger. Doug speaks at teaching conferences including CUE Rock Star Teacher Camps, presenting on everything from technology to teaching philosophy (or teaching The Weird Way, to use his words). Doug is also the creator and moderator of #WeirdEd on Twitter, which happens every Wednesday at 7pm PST.