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Jun 30, 2022

How to Effectively Remix Different Teaching Strategies

Screencastify Squad

Video has become one of the most prominent educational tools. And students across the world watch educational videos to gain new skills and acquire knowledge.

But instead of finding online tutorials for your class, you should start making your own videos. 🎬

In this episode of the EdTech Heroes podcast, our host Nef Dukes welcomes Melissa Fierro, the Technology Integration Specialist at Kankakee School District #111. They chat about the benefits of video tools, why it's better to create personalized videos for students, and how to effectively remix different teaching strategies.


👋 Name: Melissa Fierro

👩‍💻What she does: She is the Technology Integration Specialist at Kankakee School District in Illinois.

🏫 Company: Kankakee School District

✍️ Noteworthy: Melissa has served as science department chair and math teacher in the same district.

📱Where to find Melissa: LinkedIn | Twitter

Key insights 

Find your sunshine. Teaching is, above all, a passion. So when you struggle to find that passion or you feel unmotivated to teach, it's essential to pause for a moment and try to find your sunshine again. 

Melissa explains, "Remember what your passion is. Remember why you're doing this, find that again. And to see that light flicker a little bit and then to catch after a few days is just huge. Find your sunshine, find why you love teaching again, and remind yourself of that. And help them remember it and just reminding them, 'You're the educational expert in your classroom.'"

Make your own educational videos. Instead of spending hours online looking for the perfect video for your classroom, consider making your own. Chances are that your students will prefer watching your personalized tutorials over anyone else's videos. Melissa talks about the benefits of recording your own tutorials. 

"I was spending so much time looking for the right video, and I wasn't finding what I was looking for. And that's when I started using Screencastify — I'm just going to make my own videos. There's got to be a video recording system out there somewhere that's free. I don't need a lot of time. I just need little bits. And that's how I found Screencastify."

Be yourself. Some teachers find it hard to record themselves, and that's perfectly normal. But you have to remember that kids will be kids no matter what you do. Your safest bet is to just be yourself. 

Melissa says, "When you're making videos for your students, just be yourself. Don't hide who you are from your students. And so if you're having a bad hair day, you're having a bad hair day. If you woke up late, and you forgot your coffee, and you forgot to put your makeup on, but you've got to get that video done, just get it done and be yourself. Don't be afraid to be yourself."

Related episode 🎧

Learn more about mixing things up in your classroom in this episode of EdTech Heroes with Natalie Conway!

Episode highlights 

ISTE is all about sharing the best education practices💡

"It was my first experience of being around other people like me, who were passionate about technology and digital education and getting, not just devices in students' hands, but good education and great practices into teacher's hands, and so ISTE is all about that."

Sometimes, active listening is all it takes to get through 🙋

"It's hard for me sometimes because I'm a helper, and I'm like, 'Ooh, I see a problem. I want to solve it.’ 

“And, I can't always do that. I have to make sure that they're ready to hear what I have to say. And so, sometimes it takes all year before they're ready, and they're like, 'I remember you mentioned something about recording videos. Could you share more about that?' [...] So just being there for them and listening and then waiting for them to be like, 'Hey, so I heard that you helped so and so down the hall, could you show me how to do that?'"

An occasional email detox can make teachers more productive 📧

"This year, we had a detox year where I sent as few emails as physically possible to my teachers. And so, when I did send emails because we got a couple of new products near the end of the school year, 'cause I like to try new stuff at the end of the year — when I sent out information about them, the teachers were ready to hear it. They were able to hear it."

The sprinkle method 🧁

"Instead of just doing that whole, 'I'm just going to ice the cake and give it to everybody,' I like the sprinkle method better — we're going to put it where it needs to be, at the right time at the right moment. So, I think that goes back to when I was a science teacher, and I did discovery-based project-based learning, and I think that's how I've taken on coaching as well."

We can remix different teaching strategies and ideas 🔀

"I've always worked in Title I districts, and I love where I work. It is fulfilling in so many ways for me — making sure that my teachers know that what we do in our district works in our district. And if you've come from somewhere else and it worked there, that's great. Let's make it work here. 

“Let's take what you've learned. Let's take what you've learned at a conference, which you've learned when you came from somewhere else, and let's make it work here because our students deserve the very best."

Highly quotable 

[07:40] "As a technology integration specialist, I'm a tech coach. I help my teachers and administrators utilize the technology in their classrooms to the best of their ability and help with best practices and integration of their materials into their classroom so that it's not just another thing. Because, for teachers, the big thing is we don't want another thing. We want it to be where it's taking at least one or two things off of our plate."

[14:18] "Nobody goes into teaching because they get three months off. Nobody. We became teachers because we're either passionate about our subject matter or about helping students learn and grow."

[39:31] "If you were just to look at him, you would think that he was just sitting back there being all chill and not doing anything, whereas he now had the resources that he needed to be successful in the classroom. And that, for me, was huge."

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