Interactive live lessons via YouTube

Because of Corona the schools were closed, I decided to give live physics lessons on my YouTube channel Breaking Lab. The live character was crucial, because this way an interaction could take place. This was achieved with a live quiz, questions in the chat function, live guests and experiments. In addition, there was a final test at the end, created by my colleagues from the ZuS of the University of Cologne.

The first two streams were implemented in cooperation with the Physics Didactics Department of the University of Cologne and the Dr. Hans Riegel Foundation. I myself studied physics and social sciences as a teacher and am currently writing my doctoral thesis in physics didactics.

In the following I would like to introduce the project and present the learnings, as well as show a possible future.

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Views on the first three livestreams (Status 10.05.2020)
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Number of classes (28 children per class) "taught" in this way

The Internet will never replace school and teachers*, but you can work hand in hand to optimise education!

Elements of the livestream and their function

Quiz

The live quiz was a central element of the stream. With it, users could answer live questions asked in the stream via QR Code or by entering a code. In this way, both viewers and viewers received feedback on whether they had understood everything correctly. At the same time, I could see whether all viewers understood the content or whether I needed to go into more detail on a particular point. Due to the competitive character of the quiz many viewers were motivated and the drop-out rate of the quiz participants was very low at a little over 10%.

Live Experiments

Experiments are a central part of the physics lessons and of course could not be missing in the stream. It was important that the stream was aligned with three cameras and that a live director showed a camera during the experiments, which showed the experiment from close up. This was possible with so-called remote cameras, which can be controlled from a distance and with which pre-rehearsed positions can be saved. 

Prerecorded videos

A great advantage of videos is that they can be better prepared. You can work with animations, each word can be specified and the timing can be optimized afterwards. Experiments can be shown from several perspectives, time can be paused or slowed down. For this reason videos were created especially for the stream, which were shown in the stream and discussed afterwards. It is a big advantage that already existing material can be used, for example animations of friendly YouTubers could be integrated and DMAX provided material of an experiment where an arrow was caught with the help of a pickup truck. Furthermore, the formulas were derived with the help of animations and the forces of the magnetic field were made visible with animations.

Live guests

In the second stream, which dealt with the topic "electromagnetism", the chief developer of the hyperloop drive of the TUM was switched on live at the end. The audience could ask him questions in the chat, which were then asked by me. Thus a strong connection between theory and practice could be created. In addition, this interview was teasered at the beginning and thus provided the motivation for the lesson. The offer was well accepted. Especially good was the fact that the interview guest also followed the stream and was therefore able to respond to experiments and graphics from the stream. Through the live direction it could be controlled whether the guest, the presenter or even an experiment was shown in full screen or side by side.

Chat

Via chat, users could ask questions, exchange information with other viewers and give feedback. After so many comments were written during the first livestream that it was difficult for me to read all comments, the next livestream had one person permanently screening the comments for questions and playing them through with a Google Doc. This led to the fact that more questions could be answered and the questions were more substantial. It also turned out that it works very well that viewers write live if they can't see or understand something well and you respond to it directly and ideally correct it. All in all the number of comments is of course very high, so it is unrealistic to respond to all comments. For this purpose, additional moderators could be used in the comments, who are professionally competent and answer questions. This has already been partly done by André Bresges and has proven to be successful.

Final test

Nach Abschluss des Streams wurde ein Test freigeschaltet, welchen die Zuschauer alleine beantworten können. So können sie ihren eigenen Lernzuwachs messen, zudem wird am Ende automatisch eine Teilnahme Bescheinigung der Universität zu Köln erstellt, in welcher die Inhalte und die erreichten Punkte vermerkt sind. Diese kann von Lehrpersonen oder Eltern genutzt werden, um im Blick zu behalten, was die Schülerinnen und Schüler gelernt haben, worauf im Unterricht aufgebaut werden kann und wo noch Unterstützung nötig ist. Bei den Fragen handelt es sich um validierte Aufgaben, die sich bereits bewährt haben, somit sind die Tests auch aussagekräftig. Zudem besteht die Möglichkeit bei Aufgaben Hilfsmaterialien, wie weitere Videos oder Hilfekarten anzubieten, mit denen sich die Kinder selbst helfen können.

Learnings and optimization

Of course there are still many learnings that should be implemented or further optimized. The Learnings were drawn from the comments, as well as from a feedback form, which was linked under the stream, and personal feedback from teachers and the lecturers of the University of Cologne. Do you have any further suggestions for improvement? Please send me a message via my contact form.

  • Greater involvement of schools and teachers
  • Name and address a clear target group
  • Moderators in the chat, who answer questions in parallel
  • Slower speaking rate
  • The quiz was very popular
  • Live guests were a highlight and allowed to combine practice and theory
  • The cooperation with the university was important in order to work in a didactically sensible and correct way
  • The possibility to watch the stream also later was taken by many people
  • Not every teacher finds YouTube the right place for lessons
  • There has been too little promotion of the stream to the target group
  • Too much content was covered in a short time
  • Some teachers found jokes and remarks that were off-topic difficult

Future

The feedback on the livestream was very positive overall and many people already wish for more of these streams. Now my team and I would like to realize streams for different subjects in the Corona time, whereby we want to work together with teachers and also the didactics of the universities. According to the topic, a YouTuber, who is familiar with the topic, should moderate the stream. For this we are still looking for partners who support us in this, both in terms of content and financially.

But also after Corona the streams should continue, here the idea is that the streams take place in a month rhythm. The main aim is to have spectacular experiments and guests. School classes watch the streams in class with their teachers, can participate via quiz and chat and interview prominent scientists and guests like Alexander Gerst. The experiments that will be shown will go beyond the means of a single school lesson and thus deliver something special.

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