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Podcast: #TechWithHeart with Stacey Roshan

/ Jason Sholl

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad: Welcome to the Deeper Learning with WeVideo podcast. I am Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad and I am super excited to have Stacey Roshan on today. Stacey is a math teacher and director of innovation and educational technology at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland. She's the author of Tech With Heart: Leveraging Technology to Empower Student Voice, Ease Anxiety, and Create Compassionate Classrooms. She has a keen interest in discovering and bringing innovative tools into the classroom to engage students and make learning feel like play. Stacey, we've been connected on Twitter for a while now and I'm so excited that we finally have a chance to have a conversation. Welcome.

Stacey Roshan: Thank you. I'm so excited to be on.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad: Yes. Well your book was such a big hit, so I know that our listeners will be excited to hear about how you came to write the book and then give a little bit of information about what the book's about.

Stacey Roshan: Sure. To be perfectly honest, it was such an organic process. I didn't set out to write a book. But as teachers we love to reflect and I started blogging and I just found that I had all of this stuff that I had shared, but there was a huge backstory missing to it. Kind of that more personal narrative and why I started flipping my classroom for example. Why I started looking for certain ed tech tools to provide solutions in my classroom. And so I just kind of started piecing together that story and I started writing and all of a sudden I had this book. And so yeah, that's kind of how it came about. And so Tech With Heart is really about how I've chosen certain ed tech tools to create a classroom environment that I really wanted in my classroom.

So as a student, I start and talk about me as a student and I was that introverted perfectionist, but also the type of learner who needed some more time to process and think. And I think oftentimes when we talk about that slower processor, we think of students with a learning accommodation and so forth. And that wasn't me. I never had a specific learning accommodation but I needed time to think, I needed that think time. And the classroom is not always conducive to that, especially with hand-raising and being the first to chime in and being loud and vocal. And so that's where I've really been able to embrace some of these ed tech tools to provide a different solution than I had as a student. And it's made really easy for me as a teacher and I think it's really deepened the level of relationship that I'm able to form with the students in my classroom. So that's what the book's about.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad: That's fantastic. Stacey, I want to key in on so much greatness you shared, but specifically talking about you as a learner and then just learners in your classroom. We all have different interests and backgrounds. We all learn at different rates and I really think it's phenomenal when technology really connects with the individual learner. And for the student who is not ready to share out loud, but we need to know what their thinking is, when technology allows us to be able to capture the thinking of a student that the student feels it's safe and they feel they are in a positive environment to do so. So I've loved the purpose for why you thought that you needed technology to enhance your classroom.

Stacey Roshan: Yeah, yeah. That process over the product. It's hard to picture, but I think that tech tools can really help us there in being able to see all different students' process. Not just the one who comes to the board or the one who's talking out their solution. Because now we can kind of give a voice and when I say give a voice, that can be in different ways. That can be through written text, that can be through a drawing and that can be through them verbalizing something, whether that's allowed in the classroom or through a video. And allowing them to talk through why are you doing what you're doing and how are you doing that? And emphasizing to students the importance of that because we are making a point to bring attention to that as teachers.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad: Absolutely. And especially in mathematics. That is an area where a lot of teachers will, I'll hear the comments around it is really difficult and challenging to do some of these creative endeavors and use these tools because they feel that math content and standards today are still asking students to do very algorithmic processes and they're still having to do lots of practice and repetition. And I think you and I both know that's not how math is learned at the highest levels. So I love to hear more about how you're using technology to help students reason and justify, especially in the context of mathematical discourse.

Stacey Roshan: Yeah. I teach AP calculus so I understand the pressure of a packed curriculum and the need to get through a lot of content much too quickly it feels like. And so I guess that is actually where everything started for me, in teaching AP calculus. I felt like I was talking so much, there was so much to get through in a lecture and there wasn't enough time for me to hear from my students and to kind of play with the math and to just experience it as this puzzle that it is and to have fun with solving some of the problems because we were on a time crunch. And so that was when I looked to technology to help me out. I found out about screencasting, I started making videos for my class and just posting them for students to watch and then classroom time was freed up so we could do that problem solving and we could have those deeper level discussions in the classroom.

When I started flipping my classroom, it was just about sending the videos home. They just watched a video and took notes on a PowerPoint that I had printed out for them with a lot of blank white space. And that has really evolved over time. Now I'm always putting it in a platform like EDpuzzle where I can create little moments of interactivity, but also just to inform both students' needs and my own teacher needs because students as they're watching the video, they see what they're getting correct, they see what they're getting incorrect and they can rewind a certain portion because they see they got the multiple-choice question correct or incorrect. And then I can also see those analytics before I even step into the classroom.

So I know what questions we need to go over as a class. I know what students I need to get around to for the day. So just loads me with all this information that I never could have had before. So that was kind of my next iteration of my flip classroom. And as I talk about in the book too, and I just want to make clear to everybody that I always talk to, my flipped classroom, I started doing this in 2010 and it's now 2019 and each year I add on another element. And so it's been a real process, a real evolution. It didn't all happen overnight and it continues to get better as I see more tools that can help me out. But also I just think about why I'm doing what I'm doing and what my students need and how I can get to their needs a little bit better.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad: It's fantastic that you, just like all the amazing teachers will continually evolve at your practice over time. And instead of saying, okay, flipped classroom looks like this and then continuing to use that idea over and over and over, you've seen, hey, this works better and you're using changing environments, you're using how your students learn better and you're adapting your instructional strategies to match how they learn. And I think that's exactly how we should be implementing technology in the classroom. And as you mentioned, EDpuzzle. And earlier when we were talking before the podcast, you mentioned WeVideo and how you use WeVideo in your school. So I would love to hear more about how you think video creation can help students to learn better in class?

Stacey Roshan: Yeah. Back to that hearing student's voice and hearing how they're talking through problems, I think that's where in our math classes where we've used a lot of video. So we've used a combination of WeVideo and Flipgrid. Sometimes we use them together, sometimes we use them just one at a time. I think the power of using Flipgrid with WeVideo is that then we can easily make it a discussion. And so we can see everybody's videos on a grid and then we can reply to one another's. And as we get better at talking about our math, we can give some critical feedback, to the peers, classmates and we can talk about multiple approaches to the same problem. So one student can watch a video of somebody solving a problem and they can give a reply of, oh wow, I hadn't thought about it this way, but this is how I thought about this problem.

And so we can see those multiple approaches from the student very easily instead of me as a teacher going on the board and saying, well this is method one and this is method two. It's more, it's both more authentic and it also gives us a level of when students are solving the problem and showing their classmates how they solve that problem, they have this level of empathy that we can't really replicate as educators because we are masters of that content already. Whereas they are learning it. They're in the same spot as a person sitting next to them. They are kind of taking it in, at different paces of course. Some students get it quicker than others, but they're still going through that same process of gaining new knowledge and trying to connect it to the material that we had already done. And that's something that's so huge in math class. Can you connect that material with your prior knowledge and how are you doing that? And so as they talk it out, I think you can really hear that.

Our videos are oftentimes super, super simple. So it might just be taking your phone camera and hovering it over a piece of paper or taking a snapshot of something that you had handwritten and then just pointing it out and talking us through why you are doing each step of the process. It's not just about quote unquote showing all your work in math class, but really can you verbalize why you went from step one to step two, why you did each of those things? And that's really what I look for as the teacher and try and help students do better. And I think that because I flip my classroom and students are always watching a video for homework of me solving problems, they learn to kind of talk through the process in that same way when they're their own videos solutions to kind of be a teacher in that moment and explain it as if whoever's watching that video doesn't understand what they're doing yet and they're trying to learn along with them.

And so that's been a really important component and we're doing that in our lower school because we're a K-12 here and we're doing it from our earliest grades right now. Even students learning addition, we just give them some of those whiteboards and then they just record themselves going through the process of how they're doing that mental math. I think what's also really important about giving them the opportunity to do this through video as opposed to just moments in the classroom when they're coming to the board, those are also important moments. But Jo Boaler actually inspired me a lot and-

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad: She's wonderful. I really admire her.

Stacey Roshan: I know. And it's just the research that she's put out and that it's backed in research was so affirming to me. As a student I was much the type that she talks a lot about. But I think for a long time I was, not I think, I was scared to even talk about it. I hadn't even as a teacher come to a point where I was okay with the student that I was. And all the research that she's come out with and all of the publications she's come out with in the books, it gave me a level of confidence to actually write the book and to talk about it more and to also talk about it with my students. And just giving students opportunities to think, give them more of that think time and make them understand that it's not about being the first to respond and making sure that they have plenty of opportunities to make their voice shine. Even if they're never going to be the first one to raise their hand in class, that's okay. But let me give you a platform so that the whole class can still hear from you.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad: Yeah. Oh, that's remarkable. And now I see why your book was so popular because you are sharing your own personal insights and you're connecting to your experience as a learner and understanding that again, all learners learn differently and at different rates and have different strengths and different challenges. And so your understanding of that is such a marvelous addition to what we need more of in teaching. And I know that we as a PLN will want to add you to our network, so how can we stay connected with you?

Stacey Roshan: Thanks. So I'm on Twitter and my Twitter handle is buddyxo. Quick background on that, I was at a conference, I actually at an Alan November BLC conference in July of 2010 and that was kind of my inspiration to flip my classroom. That's what I learned about screencasting for the first time. And we were sitting in the audience and he says everybody needs to get on Twitter. And so I'm sitting there, I'm like, what should my name be? And I was like, I'm never going to use Twitter in my life, so it really doesn't matter. I was missing my dog. My dog's name is buddy and so I was like buddyxo, I love buddy. And so that's my Twitter handle forever and so I'm on Twitter. I'm also blog at techiemusings.com and those are the two best places to find me.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad: Excellent. Well I have no doubt that we will be following you and also checking your site for your latest thoughts, experiences, stories and so forth. Stacey, thanks again, it's been such a pleasure to have you on the show.

Stacey Roshan: Thanks so much.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad: Thanks for joining me on the Deeper Learning With WeVideo podcast. If you liked this topic, recommend this to your friends, give us a five-star review, and check out our other episodes on this platform.

Be sure to get a copy of my latest book, WeVideo Every Day: 40 Strategies to Deepen Learning in Any Class, available now on Amazon. You can interact with me on Twitter and Instagram at @drlangraad. You can also check out more media content on YouTube at youtube.com/wevideo.

WeVideo empowers all students to express their ideas authentically and creatively. To illustrate these ideas of sharing stories, broadening perspectives, and promoting student confidence, check out WeVideo on Twitter @WeVideo, or also check out the website wevideo.com/education. See you next time. Bye.

About the Podcast

Deeper Learning with WeVideo explores ways to inspire creativity in the classroom, activities that ignite deeper learning for students, and interviews with thought leaders in education that motivate teachers and influencers in education technology. Listen to us on your favorite podcast apps: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, SoundcloudSpotifyStitcher and TuneIn!

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