I have been selected by the Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning and the Michigan Department of Education along with 10 other educators to create video podcast for the MI learning chanell of iTunesU K-12. I will be developing 25 video podcast all of which are demonstrations of biology labs.

My hope is that these "labcasts" will be download and watched by students prior to their participation in the lab. This, I hope, will lead to better understanding of the lab procedure and the reason behind the lab activity.

I have completed two of my podcasts so far. This week I finished one entitled "leaf pigment chromatography." I am interested in feedback from science teachers on the usefulness and quality of this project as well as from all teachers on suggestions for improvement.

The videos will be posted on my youtube channel as they are developed and will be available on iTunes by next fall.

Thanks for your feedback!

Tags: biology, high, ipod, labcast, podcast, school, science

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Hi, I like your films, and I find the idea of making those podcasts great. I will definitely download all of them. I just have one advice: involve your students in making the podcasts. You and your students will have unforgettable experience for the rest of your lives. It will be student centered education where students learn and teach each other. You will not have to do all the work and carry all this responsibility, you will share it with the kids :) and, selfish me ;) I think it will be a lot of fun for me to see what your students do :)
Hi, I really have to second this. Why not just be a producer/director? Or at least work alongside some students? Also, have you considered breaking a labcast such as this chromotography one into two parts? Have the first part give the introduction, background and methods while the second part shows what might happen. The second part can be published after the lab has been completed in class, leaving no bias towards a particular result.
Hi John,

I liked your chromatography labcast, and the idea of labcasts in general. Do you think that students will watch these before lab activities are started in class?

I am not a bio teacher, so the only thing that was unclear to me in the labcast was you mentioning at the beginning of the video that the leaves were lettuce and then spinach toward the end of the video. Did I misunderstand what you said?

Given the recent online articles about teachers moving lectures online and requiring students to do more active tasks during class, I look forward to seeing the progress of your labcast series.


Thanks for adding your thoughts.

You caught one of the errors in my video-- I did say both lettuce and spinach. I used lettuce in my demonstration. Either type of leaf will work fine, so I decided not to go back in and edit.

My plan is to require students to watch the videos before the lab either on youtube or by downloading them to their iPod. I would give a short, simple quiz before the lab to ensure that they did indeed watch the video and to confirm that they know what they need to do.

Having the labs on video also solves a continuous problem for science teachers-- students who are absent on lab days. Running labs is hard enough as it is, but there are always a handful of students who are absent on the lab day which means you have to run the lab multiple times for 1 or 2 students. For some labs this works fine, for others, it's just impossible because of the setup that is required. In this case, an absent student could watch the lab being done via these videos and complete the written portion of the lab.



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