Since May this year, I have immersed myself into the last 2 modules required to complete my Masters in Biomimicry. One of these last modules is Teaching Biomimicry. I absolutely love this module and have learned so much about pedagogy and how to get the most out of creating learning activities. Pedagogy is the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.
Over the last few weeks, I had the opportunity to work with an amazing lady named Laura Stevens. We had to create a Vlog about Biomimicry Function, Strategy or Mechanism. A video blog or video log, usually shortened to vlog, is a form of blog for which the medium is video, and is a form of web television. Creating a vlog is not the easiest thing for novice video editors (like myself), but in the end, Laura and I were able to pull something great together. We had loads of fun creating the vlog and learning together.
Laura and I decided to focus on both Function and Strategy. We decided to create an online quiz and made use of YouTube’s built-in polling functionality. The purpose of our “Function and Strategy Quiz” was to provide students with an introduction to Biomimicry terminology, namely Function and Strategy. In the vlog we provided students with examples of organisms which are easy to remember and relate to e.g. the African Elephant, Penguin and Barrel Cactus.
The main biological function we focused on is to “Protect from Temperature”. We specifically focused on one function to demonstrate the large diversity of strategies that exist in the natural world.
Before we could create the actual vlog, we first had to create a facilitator activity guide. This provides facilitators with detail on how to use this online quiz as a Biomimicry teacher. The facilitators guide covers the following things:
- Learning objectives
- Context of the technique
- Number of people
- Type of audience
- Associated worksheet or hand outs
- Debrief & Evaluation
- Possible extensions & variations
- Risk factor
- External resources
When we were clear on what the purpose of our activity was (as well as ticked all the above boxes), we started working on a presentation and video narrative. We made use of a tool called Screencast-o-matic, to record the narrative. This tool allowed us to record voice and a minimized video of Laura and myself, whilst we talk through the presentation. This is a very user-friendly tool and is available for free – check it out: https://screencast-o-matic.com/
Once we had all the different narratives recorded, we were able to stich the videos together and make the transitions a little smoother. We then uploaded the video to our YouTube channels and added the polling functionality. Here is a vlog that shows you how to create a poll in YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aq-sXqt_bhE
This was a challenging learning journey (we redid this three times) but we had the opportunity to improve our pedagogy skillset as well as transition from novice to intermediate vloggers. Hooray!
Here is a link to our final version of the Function and Strategy Quiz: https://youtu.be/fflxTKqU04Y and a link to our presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1rPn-_3iAC7rOmScq6ZB18k8KhnP8uxolbXl_TDPfBzI/edit?usp=sharing
“The nature of our motivation determines the character of our work.” Dalai Lama XIV
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