Yesterday I was working in Maureen’s class. She wanted me to start work on several projects with her class. The first of these projects was using Sam Animation in her numeracy programme. She wanted the students to create an animation using concrete materials such as units, tens, hundred’s and Thousands blocks to explain the process, algorithm, technique for subtraction over a 10, 100 or a 1000. The students storyboarded the process, organised the materials in their groups to explain and off they went.
After a little while it became clear that although SamAnimation could do the job of recording, a camera and iMovie in her case or Photostory in a Windows environment would have been perhaps more efficient. However that said, the process illuminated to Maureen a very interesting point. The students could do the maths, but could not articulate the logic of the mechanics of how they understood the maths to work. In other words they each had an algorithm down pat, but they did not fully understand the logic of that algorighm and therefore lacked full understanding. By introducing an elearning element into the numeracy lesson, Maureen has now got some concrete formative assessment data that she will now focus on. This information was only really fully revealed because of the videos the students created.
As you know I have long been an advocate of capturing student voice and this example demonstrates why. We may set up concrete examples on our tables for students to scaffold each other, but without some form of a capturing that conversation, we only see the end result and not the process and the misconceptions or fallacies. As far as Maureen was concerned, based on the results of her class, they all understood the process and mechanics of subtraction, but the student videos yesterday eloquently showed that they know the process but lack the understanding of how this works. Without the understanding, children will find it difficult to apply the process to other situations.