Designing and running a great class


This section is designed to be used in conjunction with the concepts and thinking in the Digital Teaching Principles. The foundations of pedagogical reasoning explored there underpin good digital teaching and learning in general, and iSee in particular. That perspective is built on here to provide practical advice and examples of well designed iSee lessons and activities.

Pre-class organisation

Designing great iSee lessons

Example lessons and use cases

Teaching and trouble shooting


Pre-class organization

iSee session setup

To access iSee you will need to be a staff member at a school or organization that has an iSee service subscription. If this is the case and iSee has been integrated with your Learning Management System (LMS) you can simply add the iSee module to your LMS course. If the LMS integration is not available then you can set up your session manually using the iSee Management Portal.

Ensuring network and device access

Network - to work, everyone participating in the iSee session needs to be able to access the iSee servers on the network they are using. Generally anyone on a home network or tethered to a mobile phone data connection will be fine. Some corporate and education department networks block a lot of traffic by default and iSee may need to be whitelisted on those networks to be accessible. If it is not accessible you will need to contact us to get the relevant network information for your IT team to enable iSee access for your network. iSee typically requires a minimum of 1.5MB/s down and 0.5M/s for adequate performance.

Devices - iSee is currently available on Windows and Mac devices (browser version coming soon). It will work well on most laptops less than three years old but may have reduced performance on older laptops or low powered processors. You can find the required device specifications here.

iSee App - iSee currently requires an app on each participants machine to function. Some education departments have iSee pre-installed on machines, for others it is on the software catalog. If this is not the case for you then you and your students can download the iSee app from here.

Setting up any accompanying technology, software or hardware

Headsets - using a headset is recommended but not essential. The headset microphone is helpful in reducing background noise and typically allows participants to keep their headset live while they are interacting in iSee. A stereo headset with microphone is recommended and for easiest setup should be connected prior to opening iSee. Bluetooth headsets should be avoided as they don't have enough audio channels to support iSee use. For additional information on audio setup see here.

Additional screens - ensure the machine has a dedicated graphics card if the screen is 4K so that it has sufficient capacity for a smooth iSee experience. Try to line up the camera with the screen so that the default for the user is looking into the camera. Set the screen iSee is on as the secondary monitor as screen sharing captures content from the primary monitor only.

Additional cameras - additional cameras can be either directly connected to the computer via USB and switched using the camera toggle in iSee, or they can be fed into an external switcher that sends a single camera feed into the computer.

Additional microphones - additional microphones can be either directly connected to the computer via USB or audio jack and switched using the microphone toggle in iSee, or they can be fed into an external switcher that sends a single microphone feed into the computer.


Designing great iSee lessons

When designing great iSee lessons and events it's good to reflect on how you will integrate five key areas:

Relationships

The best learning environment is one where students and teachers love to be. Where they are immersed in a world of positive experiences that support and encourage them to become their best future selves. Research consistently shows that when the rate of positive experiences falls, both students[Saby et al] and teachers[Rusu et al] lose motivation, reduce effort and even withdraw from education all together. Building positive relationships with peers, teachers, content and the learning space therefore needs to be at the core of learning design to ensure long term success.

Skilled teachers look to deliberately engineer positive relationship experiences into their learning design. iSee is particularly helpful in this context, as it uses a shared 3D game environment that students are familiar with and already want to be in. This provides a natural tendency for them to explore, team, play and create, so good learning design looks to harness this for positive social and learning experiences. As you reflect on the design of your activities, it's helpful to think about how you are deliberately creating opportunities for students to:

  • develop friendships and belonging
    • is there time for students to develop and maintain relationships?
    • how will students be investing in building a learning community?
    • how are you working with students to ensure their learning space resonates with relevance and cultural inclusion?
  • be rewarded for positive behaviors
    • how are you achiving a common understanding of what positive behaviors are?
    • where will you be an exemplar of those positive behaviors?
    • how are you fostering peer identification, recognition and feedback of positive behaviors?
  • celebrate individual and group and group achievements
    • how are achievements (social or learning) being identifed, including by peers?
    • where is individual diversity and ability celebrated, even within teams?
    • how is celebration extending outside the classroom to the wider community to foster confidence and belonging?  
  • develop a sense of personal accomplishment
    • where is agency used in personal goal setting?
    • where will students have opportunities to achieve and display mastery?
    • where will students have opportunties for positive self reflection and gratitude?

Working with your students to develop group and individual challenge based activities can be an easy and effective way of engineering these poisitive emotional experiences. Importantly, it helps the teacher position themselves as a team member and positive source of assistance in completing the challenge, rather than the center of power that needs to be overcome, fooled or avoided.

Good iSee classes deliberately create positive things in a student and teachers day where they experience joy, friendship, curiosity, surprise, delight and achievement and want to be back for more.

 

Meaning

More than simply learning, 'meaning making' is an active endevor where motivated students grapple with acquiring the concepts, skills and processes they need to construct their future selves. Meaning is something that is built by that investment and grappling.... not found, instructed or given.

What are your students doing to help them build meaning?

Skilled teachers employ strategies such as the cognitive apprenticeship model to help students navigate and engage with these concepts, skills and processes in a way that resonates and works for them. In these approaches the teacher deliberately positions themselves as the facilitator, guide or coach within a zone of meaning making and use their learning design to specifically engineer student centered environments where students can bring their own resources, interests and experiences to bare.

iSee has been deliberately created to make it easy for teachers to engineer meaning making into their learning design. Skilled iSee lesson designers develop solo and group activities that are based on active learning pedagogies and harness the individual agency students have in iSee to explore and interact with their peers, content and the space itself. These approaches deliberately avoid forcing students into passive roles such as listening to lectures or presentations and instead empower the students to seek out and engage with the knowledge and skills they need in order to accomplish their goals.

The 'Learning activity ideas' section contains an example range of active learning activities that can be used in online or face to face teaching scenarios with iSee. You can use these or your own active learning ideas within your learning design to create opportunities for your students to create meaning and grow their future selves.

If you get this right your classes will be dominated by designed activities that create the productive buzz of students doing, discovering and discussing rather than you presenting content.

 

Tools

An important consideration in learning design is how student and teacher digital competencies can be scaffolded, built and harnessed for more creative learning design.

In essence it is the use of digital tools that enables content collaboration and the customisation and co-construction of iSee learning spaces. The growth of digital competencies therefore increases the range of social and learning activities that can be achieved in iSee, and a good understanding of the current digital competenices of yourself and your students is an important consideration in learning design. The introduction of new digital competencies takes time, but by being built into the learning design can add relevance and context to the task to keep students engaged.

iSee has a range of easy to use digital tools such as chat, notepad, weblinks, drawing and 3D objects that can be used as part of any class. These tools can be used by students and teachers for collaboration and world building within the lesson without the requirement to access and learn any specific 3rd party software.

iSee also enables a wide variety of 2D and 3D content created elsewhere such as images, video, soundtracks, presentations, websites and custom made 3D objects to be brought into the learning space in real time. This enables iSee to be used as a great sharing, curation and showcase platform for student content created in other digital applications. Teachers with solid digital skills can also use this capability to easily include a wide variety of multimedia resources in their lesson design.

A third method is to use iSee as the live social communication application for your class while content collaboration happens simultaneously in a separate window using google classroom or office 365 applications etc.. It's easy to link individuals and teams to these 3rd party applications using weblinks in the chat or on boards within iSee.

Good learning designs help to build the digital competenices of students and have students harnessing the range of digital tools available at your school as part of the learning experience.

Games

Are you playing the right game?

When you think of games you probably think of a particular type of game called a 'finite zero sum game'. Examples of this are competitive games like netball or chess matches that have a defined end point (finite) and for there to be winners there must be losers (zero sum).

But there are other types of games, and some of these are more important for building lifelong success.

Another type of game is the 'infinite non-zero sum game'. This type of game keeps going as long as everyone wants to keep playing (infinite), and everyone can win if they work together (non-zero sum).  

So does your learning design set students up to be expert players at the right game?

Great learning designs for iSee have specifically engineered elements that help students discover and grow their strengths to keep them interested and wanting to come back for more. It also grows everyone's skills to join, build and harness teams as a key strategy for achieving in life.

Feedback

Feedback is an integral part of improving performance. This is equally true for students looking to grow and improve and for teachers looking to continuously improve their pedagogical inquiry, learning design and in class execution. The critical point here is that feedback needs to be built into the learning design and encompasses much more than simply feedback to students on their grasp of the learning content.

Feedback is both viewed and delivered through relationships. Developing an open culture of feedback, the skills to give effective and supportive feedback, and the timing of feedback are all aspects of the learning design.

What makes feedback relevant is it's ability to positively influence the future. In this context, feedback should be something that is deliberately engineered into the lesson or activity so that it can positively change the course of the student or teacher's experience and improve the outcomes.

Great learning designs deliberately engineer the culture, activities and opportunities for feedback that:

  • increase the number of positive experiences and relationships for everyone
  • assist in individual meaning making
  • help everyone to share and grow their digital skills
  • help students discover their strengths and be good in teams
  • grow the capacity to give and receive feedback and respond with positive innovation  

Example classes and lesson designs

Overview - these example lesson designs are based on classes developed by iSee users, but have been generalised to protect intellectual property and aid in adaptation to specific needs.

Home room/wellbeing

Socialization and wellbeing class/home room for isolated and anxious students (NT schools)

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STEM challenge class

Team collaboration challenge using inquiry and project based learning for STEM engagement and deep learning (QVSA/Solid Pathways)

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Class showcase

Creating, curating and critiquing a showcase of class work for internal or external use (Aurora College)

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Gamified language lesson

Using gamification to increase engagement, practice and cultural context for language learners (Qld VLA, NSW Languages trial)

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My learning place

Co-creating the learning space with students for cultural and social engagement (Aurora Indigenous project)

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Teaming with AI

Capturing the process of student learning while collaborating with AI (proposed in discussion with Sarah Prestridge)

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Virtual excursion

Taking your class on a virtual excursion to support learning goals (QVSA)

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Debating practice

Preparing students for a virtual or face to face debate (Aurora)

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Student club activity

Setting up successful club activities to support student interests and social development (STEM Girlpower - also proposed by BSDE and VSV)

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Peer math lesson

Engaging math lessons using peer learning and instruction (Aurora - jigsaw math lesson)

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3D modeling lesson

Students build a 3D model and share it with friends (QVSA)

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Immersive experience creation

Students work in teams to develop an interactive immersive experience that demonstrates mastery of a topic area (proposed with Sarah Prestridge and Ormiston College)

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Teaching and trouble shooting

Sections:

  1. Executing your runsheet
  2. Picking up and managing problems early
  3. Diagnosing issues and finding help