Hayden Reynolds, Chemistry Teacher, has been using recording technology to pre-record lessons or explanations for students. I asked him about his approach to virtual learning.

Hayden, what do you think is the benefit of pre-recording your lessons?

I think that the biggest benefit is the permanence of a pre-recorded lesson. As we know, students in live lessons are often more hesitant to ask for help when they need it, or stop the teacher in flow. In my sessions now I tend to upload a video for them to work through at their own pace, and I stay on the google meets during the lesson slot so students can come and ask questions when they need it. Some students have found that there is less pressure on them and it is easier to get all of the work done rather than if it was live. Furthermore they can refer back to this content at any time, it is all on the google classroom!

For myself, I find that doing this allows me to plan my days and lessons more effectively (my lesson delivery hasn’t had to change too much in lockdown as a result). I can make a 10-15 min video the evening before the lesson is due and then if there is an issue for either myself or the students, they can still do the work.

Which tools and techniques have you used in order to pre-record your lessons?

I generally use the apple in built recording technology, it records your screen and audio straight in to the photo section of your device. I have dabbled in other technology but sometimes simple is better. If I am presenting a whole lesson I will go through my PowerPoint slides (the PowerPoint app for iPad has in built draw functionality). If a worksheet or document I use PDFViewer app which is a really good annotation app. Finally I use my stylus an awful lot, I invested in it for when I had my ankle surgery last year and it has become such a valuable tool – I often use the same method for modelling answers for exam students.

Have you received any feedback from students on this method of teaching?

I have received really positive feedback from my year 10s and 12s, they appreciate that they can access this information at any point so it is useful for that lesson itself and revision later. Also as they are fairly used to my way of presenting information they have found the transition a bit less taxing than just logging in to YouTube and watching someone different each time even if my videos have a lower production value! They have also said it’s a nice way of breaking up the lesson structure a bit during home learning as they have a lot of reading to do right now.

Thank you to Hayden for sharing his experience of virtual teaching. He has kindly offered his help to anyone if they would like some support pre-recording lessons.