For those of you that don’t know, Bambuser (www.bambuser.com) is a fantastic resource that allows live streaming of video from a mobile device to a weblink associated with your own account. My account is here and stores all of my videos – some of which are public, some private. It’s available to use on Android, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch and for use with a webcam on any computer.
Use in the Classroom
There is one clear use, that I can see, for any subject anywhere saving £1000s: a visualiser. You know those clunky expensive (though very nice, clear and pretty) visualisers? Stick this on your mobile phone, whack it onto a tripod and you’ve got your own visualiser.
As a Science/Physics teacher I’ve used it in this context already and have found it particularly useful for demonstrations of practicals where not all of the students can crowd round very easily. Students can remain seated and watch the projector to see the experiment being demonstrated in nice full screen. This way all students are able to see the practical properly and there are no excuses for not seeing part of the practical.
Another use in Science is filming student work, particularly whilst doing practicals. Reacting acids with metals, for example, I took my phone around and on one video I went to several groups’ practicals and filmed their work. Another example was in a diffusion practical with potassium permanganate crystals I could film different groups’ work at different stages of the diffusion. After the practical, we could then have the video up at the website and we could watch some of it and review the students’ learning from the practical. It’s hugely helpful in that it allows you to see different stages of the practical and you can highlight all sorts of ideas from safety and to the Science behind the different stages.
This has obvious applications in Physical Education along the same lines, but it’s also applicable across other subjects. Students love having their work on show, and from what I’ve experienced they have extra confidence in explaining themselves. Instead of standing at the front with their head in their book, looking only at their book and reading line for line some students that would normally do this seem to have more confidence in explaining their work to their peers. It also means that other students can see the work more easily (as opposed to the students holding their book up at the front for others to see), allowing comparisons with their own work and allowing them to ask better questions about the work.
Essentially, the key point here is that Bambuser allows more students to be included and to be engaged in the work.
There are other opportunities too, many of which I won’t be able to cover here or haven’t even thought of. You could do a starter or plenary whereby students use post-it notes, for example, to illustrate their understanding could be filmed and the ideas discussed more effectively because they are full screen on the board rather than small writing on a post-it note.
The only downside I’ve found so far is that there is sometimes a bit of a lag on the video. As long as it’s not a substantial lag, it can still be effective for real-time feedback. The lag can be avoided, or lessened, by having a better internet connection and using a lower quality video stream. It’s up to you to test it out in your setting to see what fits best for you.