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Re-imagining Video-Based Online Learning

NSF Award #: DRL-1416789

The familiar YouTube-style videos of solutions to math problems have been used world-wide to help students learn basic math. The NSF project, Re-imagining Video-Based Online Learning, based at San Diego State University, is creating a model of online videos that embodies a more expansive vision of both the nature of the content and the pedagogical approach. Rather than the procedurally-oriented expository approach of videos that dominate the internet, the videos produced for this project focus on developing mathematical meanings and conceptual understanding. They feature pairs of students, highlighting their dialogue, explanations, and alternative conceptions. The initial work is being done on a unit for high school students on geometric-algebraic connections with parabolas and on a unit for middle school students on proportional reasoning. Despite the tremendous growth in the availability of mathematics videos online, little research has investigated student learning from them. Consequently, a major contribution of the future work of this project will be a set of vicarious learning studies.

## Elizabeth Hassrick

Really great to see the students working with each other, in real time, in tandem with a view of their workspace activities! Wow. This is novel work. Can you provide more details about how you are evaluating the way this new format impacts learning?

## Joanne Lobato

PresenterOur plan is to conduct a set of four vicarious learning studies in Years 2-3 of the grant. Two qualitative studies will investigate the particular meanings and ways of reasoning that learners appropriate from observing the dialogue of the students in the videos, as well as the learning trajectories of vicarious learners for each unit. Two quantitative studies will isolate and test the effectiveness of the dialogic and the conceptual components of the model by comparing learning outcome gains for (a) conceptual dialogic versus conceptual expository conditions, and (b) dialogic conceptual versus dialogic procedural conditions.

## Joe Le Doux

This is a wonderful idea. What you are doing with your video project is similar, in my mind, to what happens in the learning environment that I created called the Problem-solving studio (check out my video if you get a chance!). The students work in teams to solve problems. The idea of doing this on video is fantastic!

## C. Walters

Joe – I just checked out your presentation. I agree that our projects seem to have some similarities! We believe that online video has the potential to offer powerful learning experiences to students who might not have access to such experiences in their own classrooms. We hope that our videos allow viewers to vicariously engage in dialogue-based learning. We would love to have more classrooms operate like the one shown in your video, and we hope that our videos act as a proxy for such classrooms in the online environment!

(I’m a graduate student working on this project with Dr. Lobato)

## Philip Vahey

Nice job, Joanne and team! I’m also interested in hearing about what you find in terms of students learning from watching the videos.

## Joanne Lobato

PresenterHi Phil! The grant just started in September. We are spending the first year producing the 2 units (16 lessons). We have done some focus testing on prototype lessons but this was to inform development. Starting this fall, we will begin the 2-year research phase. Our plan is to extend the emerging literature on vicarious learning studies by conducting 2 qualitative studies (looking, for example, at the language the vicarious learners appropriate from the “talent” in the videos) in addition to 2 quantitative studies. We will keep you posted!

## Robert Teese

While I watched your interesting video I kept thinking of Derek Muller’s dissertation. I was pleased at the end to see that he’s on your advisory board. He was also very helpful in our Interactive Video Vignettes project. In fact, he appears at the end of our video.

We had good experience interviewing passers-by at a fair, but when we put college students in front of a video camera they often clam up or try to figure out what we want them to say. Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER) tells us what students usually predict for various situations, but students on camera don’t seem to spontaneously come up with the same range of things. We often have to script them according to DBER results. Do you have any techniques for getting your students to cover what you want them to cover?

## Joanne Lobato

PresenterHi Robert! I am so glad you wrote. I was about to leave a note on your discussion board. We were very inspired by Derek’s dialogue-based Veritasium videos and dissertation study. When he was in San Diego for our first advisory board meeting this past January, he showed us some of your videos, which we greatly enjoyed!

Your experiences with undergraduates is very interesting. So far we have not have a problem with middle school or high school students clamming up. I think it helps that all our pairs have been friends. Also, we are flexible in terms of what gets covered. For example, in our first parabola lesson, we had an overarching goal for students to create a parabola from the geometric definition. But the two students you see in our Showcase video spent a lot of time struggling with whether or not the focus should be on the directrix, an issue that we did not anticipate. However, we thought it could be a mathematical goal of some importance to vicarious learners to sort out and left in an edited version of the dialogue surrounding this issue.

## Mike McKean

I might add that we seem to have no trouble getting students who watch the videos to talk to our interviewers for their reactions. We filmed eight students in seven interviews (all individual except one pair of sisters) to see how they reacted to different formats for our videos. I transcribed the videos, and the students (high school age) readily shared their thoughts when asked for their reactions. We included quotes from a few of those students at the end of our video.

## Lisa Hogan

Dialogue, making meaning, struggle – it’s beautiful. I believe these videos will be helpful to students and teachers. Watching and listening to students can really provide insight into students’ conceptual understandings and misunderstandings. Too often we forget to listen. Will you include videos where students have misunderstandings but through their dialogue and struggle correct their misunderstandings? Videos demonstrating students learning mathematical concepts by “taking apart their misunderstandings” will help teachers and students focus on learning instead of simply completing a task! Are you looking for high school classes to work with?

## Joanne Lobato

PresenterLisa, Thanks for your comments. I love your question. The short answer is “yes”! There are several nice instances in the first parabola lesson in which the students have a misunderstanding or partial understanding and are able to work through it together. First, they thought that the focus should be on the directrix, but figured out that this would produce a line rather than a parabola. Second, the two students were measuring the distance from a point to a line differently (e.g., one student formed a perpendicular segment between the point and the directrix and measured that distance while the other student looked at a much longer distance from the point to the directrix). Using string and a scissors they were able to sort this issue out through dialogue.

## Lisa Hogan

Wonderful! Thank you.

## Avron Barr

Great idea! I realize from the discussion that you are early in the project, but have you thought about whether this type of video might have to be longer than the typical procedural ones and, if so, how to keep the learners’ attention? For a general public audience, by the way, words like “meaning making” and “conceptual learning trajectory” might need some explanation.

## Joanne Lobato

PresenterEach lesson is broken into chunks that are only 2-10 minutes in length. The chunks are of different types:

1. Comprehension: The task that drives the lesson is posed and students make sense of the situation.

2. Exploration: Students work on the task (often by creating something or exploring an applet).

3. Explanation: The students explain their reasoning or share discoveries from the Exploration phase.

4. Repeated Reasoning: Vicarious learners are directed to stop video, work on task and then compare to what the kids in the video did.

Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.