Period 4 — reflection

In the course of working with Aimee Norris on our “Uploading Videos to YouTube” lesson, I was struck particularly by how little of the lesson plan was given over to the heart and soul of the matter — the actual teaching of the uploading process. It was a great example of the fact that when you communicate anything (as a teacher/librarian, as a marketing professional, as a parent…), if you want the information to stick, you have to 1) tell your audience what you’re going to tell them, 2) tell them what you’re telling them, and 3) tell them what you’ve told them. And that all of that takes time.

In this case, the nut of the lesson was the three-to-five minute process of demonstrating the upload process, but you clearly can’t just leap in at that point. You have to prepare the groundwork to make sure that everyone is on the same page and knows what they’re about to be doing, and you have to leave time for questions, because that’s part of how you “tell your audience what you’re going to tell them” — students will often lead you to what they need to know ahead of time, if they have the chance.

Once the demonstration was over, we had to plan the time — which would inevitably be longer than the “nut” was — to “tell our audience what we’d told them” by allowing them to go through the process themselves, with our guidance. Allowing time for follow-up questions plays a part in this as well.

So bottom line, in order to successfully convey about three minutes of content, we needed to plan 20–30 minutes of instruction. I’d never broken it down in quite that way for myself before, and it was illuminating to have it spelled out for me.

In terms of my own experience with this class, I would say that if I could do one thing differently, I would take it during a regular semester. The amount of work we had to do was genuinely daunting, and I frequently found myself force-marching my way through assignments, jumping immediately from one to the next, likely not taking in very much as I went.

I’m very aware of the fact that the learning process is one that takes place over time — that nothing is fully “learned” in that first moment or moments — but those first moments have to really stick, if there’s going to be something to build on later. I’m not sure that by doing this amount of work in this short a time span, I’ll be taking as much with me as I would have if the course had been spread over a longer period (or, perhaps, if there had been a less intense list of assignments — I might conversely have learned more if I had had less to do.)

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