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Modelling answers in real-time

Working through maths problems and modelling answers to students online in real-time is tricky - this video shows a solution to that problem.
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Teaching virtually is a challenge, no matter what subject you are teaching, but those of you who may be used to structuring your lessons as more of a demonstrating how to solve problems on the white or black board may be finding this change to online learning even harder than most. It’s difficult to solve problems face to face in front of your students when you’re not face to face, when all you have is a webcam. I mean, what do you do? Do you write it down and each step show your class your notes? It can feel really difficult and really strange to have to teach when you can’t use the main thing you usually use to teach.
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But, in this video, which is part of our teaching virtually how to recreate that interactive classroom experience online series, I’m going to show you a really easy way of showing your working to your class without any fancy equipment. Well, I say without any fancy equipment, you do need a camera phone. So basically what this hinges on– what this trick hinges on– is the fact that in Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, or really any other platform, you can join the meeting or your live class as many times as you want. You’re not limited to just one camera. What you can do, is you can get your phone, and join it on your phone.
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So what I’ve done is I’ve sent myself a link and I’ve joined it. Now I need to go to the participants list and admit myself. Now when I admit myself, we notice that I come up here. Now I am deliberately going to choose– I’ll put a screenshot of my screen here– I can see it says to hear others please join audio. Now I definitely don’t want to join audio, because that gets this weird sort of back and forth strange echoing effect. Now let’s make it so that we can see both of me. Great. So this is not a second view for you know, maybe your more aesthetic side.
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What this is for is for you to show off to your students the work you’re doing. Because your phone you can prop up and you can have it pointed at your notebook. So first of all, what I’m going to do is I need to make sure that my screen rotation is off. And then I need to rotate my screen so that it is landscape. This is actually a very important step that if you forget will end up with your video being sideways. Now you need to change your screen around so that instead of looking at me, it’s looking down at my thing. Now, you may have noticed the stack of books beside me.
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This stack of books is here for me to put my phone on. So I put my phone right here. Straighten that up a little bit, and you can see. There we go. Now I can solve problems easy as pie. Say I’m teaching an introductory algebra class. I can say, OK, well we have x plus 7 equals 10. OK. And then you can very easily do the rearranging. And you can specifically point to things as you say it - something that is really useful. And if people have any questions, I’m not contained to just looking at this. I can see any questions that pop up. Say someone types in the chat they’re having issues. It will come up on my screen.
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And so I can interact with students in real time while also solving the problem. So you can see here. Here is the set up that I have, and you can see that it’s not particularly sophisticated or anything. The cat is not necessary, but is very desirable. So there you have it. You can see that it’s not a particularly difficult trick to use. It’s pretty simple, and it’s pretty easy to set up. So thank you very much for watching. If you found this useful, check out the other videos in our teaching virtually series.
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Or maybe head to our website and check out the free resources that we have available, as well as the virtual planetarium shows and workshops that we are currently running.

Science is a subject that often requires a teacher to model answers, or demonstrate something to their students in a step by step manner. So how can this be done in an online lesson, without relying on a pre-prepared resource that students might struggle to follow?

In this video, we demonstrate how you could work through calculations in real time or demonstrate an activity whilst verbally narrating at the same time. All you’ll need is a second device like a mobile phone and something to prop it on.

What did you think of this technique?

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Physics, Astronomy, and Space: Teaching Secondary Science

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