Friday, 4 February 2011

Flow

FluidPhysics-Flow

I've just had one of the quietest teaching hours of my life. An entire class totally absorbed in collecting and recording media. Apart from the odd blast of "Humorous" music from incompetech and people laughing at their webcam capture. In the tranquility these are just some of the things I've been able to do:


  • show a student how to layer a duck picture (complete with handrawn headphones) onto a photograph of an empty seat using paint.net
  • help someone add an animated gif of a bee to their edit
  • spend a respectable amount of time helping a child with special needs clearly identify a scenario and check back at regular intervals to see how they were getting on
Would that teaching were ever thus. So I wondered what were the factors that made the lesson go so well .
  1. It's a great project, pitched at the interests of the student - fun and challenging but with a clear manageable outcome. These students were clearly motivated.
  2. All the tools are accessible from every workstation and students are reasonably familiar with them, or they are simple to use.
  3. It's for individuals which means the social difficulties of group work are avoided and each version of the scenario was owned by the author - they chose which game to capture, they were the hapless gamers.
  4. The non-linear nature of the collection process means that if there is a problem with one procedure they can leave it and come back later.
  5. I'm completely at home with the tools and materials myself which means I know how to help and move thinking on
  6. Because of the former factors I have been able to help where and when need arose. This means students are not kept waiting long.
Result: a rather wonderful sense of peaceful delight in achievement - a shared sense of flow which is probably the teacher's best reward.

Post Script:
I asked for some volunteers who had strong feelings about the lesson, and did not mind being recorded, if they would talk to me for a few minutes. The  recording can be found in the Audioboo widget on the sidebar. It's unedited apart for disguising names, sound adjustment and removing a few irrelevant remarks. They were talking about the activities on the fifth page of this slideshow.