Saturday, February 7, 2015

Revamp Your Course Catalog and more for Relevancy!

Our blogger today is Maria Sellers, eLearning Specialist at South Vermillion Community Schools.


South Vermillion High School has always presented 
a well developed course description packet for students 
to prepare for scheduling classes next year. 

Reality Check: Who reads the catalog? Parents! Not students! 

Problem: We want students to be informed along with the parents. 

Solution: Digital Course Catalog 


This began in the office of our new administrator, Don Harman. He asked if this was doable and can the iCat help desk students make it happen. My answer was yes but I was not sure how we would make it happen nor if it was possible. Needless to say, I was determined.

Step 1: All SVHS students had an iPad. So we chose to use iMovie and the on board camera.

Step 2: We made a list of courses, determined when each course met (date, time, semester)

Step 3: We had 6 iCats and split the work load among them to tackle half of the classes in Fall '14. We currently have 8 students completing the remainder of the digital catalog this semester.

THE PROCESS described by an iCat

"First and foremost, I took the time to read the course catalog description which was quite interesting. I verified this description with the teacher. Before recording, I emailed the teacher to find out if there was anything specific he or she wanted in the video. Obviously, I could not place pictures of drawings into an Intro to 3D art video but there were other specifics that should be considered. 

Next, I went to the classroom in session to capture pictures and videos. I tried to video some 5-10 minute student feedback on the classes but this was tough as I had to be very careful about who I chose. After all of the pictures and videos were taken I carefully placed them into iMovie. I tried to stay around a minute and half at the most in length. Then, if the teacher was willing, we did a voice over with his or her version of the course description or other important facts that should be shared. Then I added the SV iCat Logo at the beginning to give it a more professional appearance. This year, we are placing our personal logos at the end of the movie to note who created the video.

Lastly, I exported the finished product to the Camera Roll (Medium Size). Because we were in transition of school website companies, the iCats set up their own Dropbox account. We stored all of our Course Description videos here. Then, Mrs. Sellers linked our videos to the titles on a new page in the school's website. It sounds simple but it does require about 30-40 minutes per course to ensure it is done well." 

This is only half of our course catalog! 
We will have the remaining videos completed by the end of February and again in May.

Teacher Use 
  • Imagine introducing a unit or lesson with an exciting video that describes what is yet to come! iMovie Trailers could offer this very option. You add the video clips and text. That's it! The audio and shell of the movie is already done for you. It is truly a time saver. (Teach Like a Pirate - draw them in and make it relevant from the beginning because you are going to make them curious about the outcome! Hint at what is to come but don't tell them the precise ending! "learning mystery")
  • Introduce yourself or class before school starts. Discuss classroom expectations and routines. 
  • Flashback Friday Video - make a short video review of concepts learned in Math, ELA, etc
  • Create a library of videos (using iMovie, ShowMe, EDUcreations, etc) including tutorials and mini lessons. You can house these in Symbaloo! 
Student Use
  • Reading a chapter book? Group students to create a summative video of each chapter. Place the videos into a Symbaloo Webmix. You've made a collaborative video summary of the book!
  • Bring a collection of poems to life! Ask students to team up on poems to create images and a soundtrack for poetry. 
  • Ever try Students can create videos explaining how they solve a math problem. Instead of assigning 30 problems, assign 3-5 that they will explain as they solve. You can quickly diagnose and remedy the situation! Furthermore, they are creating a digital math portfolio that can be a resource for themselves or younger students.
  • Click here for More Ideas

Maria Sellers
South Vermillion Community Schools
eLearning Specialist 

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