I Heard It Through The Vine: Sharing Student Learning

In my opinion one of the most important aspects of a successful physical education program, or any educational program for that matter, is that it is visible to the school and wider community. By making the learning that is taking place visible to all stake holders it promotes connection with the community, allows advocacy for quality physical education allows for celebration of student achievement.

The researchers at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero have been exploring Making Learning Visible since 1997 and have identified that it addresses three aspects of teaching & learning:


In the coming weeks I will be blogging more about Making Learning Visible & Learning Groups, but for today I want to focus on the idea of Documentation. In November 2012 I blogged about Documentation in Early Years PE  and mentioned the role that the Reggio Emilia educational project had to play in the emergence of this educational philosophy.Documentation means different things to different people. Project Zero believes that the main features of documentation as practiced in Reggio Emilia is a focus on HOW and WHAT children learn.

“Among many other possibilities, documentation is visible listening.”
                                                                                                                                                   – Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Although there are many different elements to documentation, the focus of today’s blog is on collecting evidence of individual and group learning.  While anecdotal notes, students reflections, audio recordings, photographs and videos are all different ways of collecting this evidence of learning I want to share with you a fantastic tool which has really changed the way in which I have been able to collect evidence of student learning in my classes.

Team #PhysEd meet Vine.

Vine is a short-form video sharing service which is owned by Twitter which allows users to record and edit five to six second-long looping video clips. The beauty of Vine is the fact that the camera records only while the screen is being touched, enabling users to edit on the fly.

I have had a dedicated Twitter account set up for my school #PhysEd program (@issphysed) now for the past two academic years and try as much as I can to send at least one tweet per day containing a photo showing what it is that we have been doing in our PE classes.

As much as photographs are a great way of quickly capturing the action in your classes, I think video gives a much better representation of all the movement, joy and energy of students during their physical education lessons. The problem I found with video was that I was using my iPhone or iPad to take the videos and without any way to quickly upload and share them on the fly my phone/iPad was filling up with videos which sat there for some time until they were uploaded to our YouTube Channel or our #PhysEd Blog.

Enter Vine! The ease of use and the fact that it connects directly with my school Twitter account enables me to take highlight style videos and have them uploaded and tweeted out instantly. Check out some of the Vines that were tweeted out below.

As you can see the richness of what is taking place is enhanced through the use of video. Although it is only a quick snapshot, I believe that you can gain a greater understanding of what is taking place during the activity/lesson than by looking at an individual photograph.

Highlighting & Sharing the Learning

The idea of Twitter, or Vine for that matter, as a place that parents will go to as a place to view documentation of their children’s learning is still a very new concept, not only at my school but I would guess at most schools. There has been a culture of class blogs in my school for a few years now and most parents check them regularly to see what their child has been up to in class.

Here is where Vine has really become an valuable tool for me. I have been running a PE Blog for my school community for 3 years now and after initially being very motivated to post regularly to it, I found that it was often a few weeks passing between posts. Vine has served two purposes for me. Firstly I has allowed me to quickly capture what is going on in my lessons and post it on Twitter straight away. Secondly through the use of a tool called Storify I have been able to compile the Vine’s and tweets into collections.  Storify allows users to create stories by importing content from various forms of media into a timeline. Users can search for content related to their story from sources such as YouTube, Twitter and Instagram and then drag that content into their own Storify story timelines.

Taking inspiration from ThePhysicalEducator.com’s This Week in PE (TWiPE) series, at the end of each week I go to Storify and collect everything that was tweeted out that week from our Twitter accounts about PE into a Storify collection and then embed it in my school PE Blog. This take me all of about 5-10 minutes at the end of the week as I am not creating new content, simply collecting things that have already been shared and reposting them. You can see an example of a Storify collection below.

Making the Learning Visible

The ultimate goal of all of this is to make the learning that is taking place in PE as visible as possible to as many community members as possible. Gone are the days when physical education classes were relegated to the gyms and fields at the far ends of the school campus. By making the learning that is taking place visible through the use of tools like Vine, we are enabling the community to join us in our #physed programs.

I know that there are a few physical educators out there at the moment who have used Vine successfully to document the learning taking place in their classrooms. In particular our good friend Blue Jay Bridge, who blogged about his use of Vine back in April 2014. If you use Vine in your program please comment below so that we can connect and share the ways we use Vine to document learning.

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks as I continue to blog about Making Learning Visible & Learning Groups. Be sure to never miss out on any of iPhys-Ed.com’s future posts by connecting with us via TwitterFacebook or subscribing to our RSS Feed.

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