Notes from Discussions: Teaching Knitting & Crochet Online

I think everyone enjoyed getting together and talking about our experiences. Thanks to everyone who shared. Here are the notes as presented by the various scribes.

Young Children : Virtual teaching tips

Submitted by Cameron Taylor-Brown

Offered by Jamia Weir, an art teacher in a k-5 charter school in Los Angeles.

She Zooms with up to 50 children at a time during school art periods, which are short. (e.g 45 minutes)

Front loads her lessons with the lecture, sharing of images and talking through what the lesson will look like. Does this via screen share and also uses her iphone screen by joining twice (but with audio OFF) Kinder can handle about 10 minutes of this intro, 3rd and up about 15-20 minutes, then the rest is hands-on artmaking.

She thought her Zoom “art camp” model might helpful to us.

Her art camp is groups of 10, mixed age K-5

10:30-11:30 artmaking

11:30-12:30 lunch – Jamia keeps her screen on, everyone eats and socializes, sometimes she puts them at different “tables” via breakout rooms, then brings everyone back for the artmaking . Said an hour felt excessive initially but she soon discovered the social aspect, especially with everyone physically distanced, is really important. 

12:30-1:30 artmaking

even the little children learn how to manage zoom, even kinder can mute and unmute. Older kids often join twice and use their phone cameras.


Notes from 7/18 Discussion Group

Submitted by Varian Brandon

Technology

Discussion about getting a 2nd camera to work properly.

The Hue HD Pro document camera  was discussed. Note: works best with plug the camera into the computer after logging in.

Make sure you have a camera with a fast refresh rate.

Discussion about software to help with “hands” camera.

IPEVO Visualizer software can enhance use of document camera

Other solutions:

Hugging IPad as 2nd camera

Iphone – CameraVision app helps

With IPhone…lock exposure and focus by holding finger on screen until says locked.

Lock screen orientation form control panel.

Connection problems: Look into getting a new router.

Lights: Getting light with more color options can help

Higher light level not necessarily good for color. Suggestion to check color before you start teaching, especially if color is part of presentation. Also remember light color can be dependent on time of day.

Moved on to working with students…

Students send pictures (text or email) of class work or issues to instructor after class. Instructor takes time (not class time) to answer questions.

Also, set up 15 minutes sessions after class for 1:1 sessions on Zoom for extra help.

Question about recording classes for later posting on YouTube…issue of privacy. Need clearances from all involved.

Possibility to record and post to YouTube as Unlisted video. Then send url to students.

Class and Student Management

How to get students?

  • Talk to yarn stores and guilds
  • Hold Knit Along or Crochet Along
  • Facebook
  • Local Parks and Recreation

Decided holding 3-hr classes on Zoom not possible. Easier to break down class into smaller sessions. 90-min sessions covering 1 hour’s worth of material is about right

Present teaching points. Give students time to work on points. Then inform students what time next points will be presented.

Suggestion to vary presentation to help retain interest…even more so than for an in-person class.

Encourage students to ask questions.

How do you handle that one student who has not done homework or does not have the skills required for the class? Honesty best policy. Cannot hold up whole class for one.

How to handle student who wants to monopolize class? Suggestion to have that student put comments in chat area to preserve them for class (rather than take up class time.)

How to show student work during class time?

  • Just get them to hold it up
  • Provide pre-class set-up requirement and instruction…including easy ways to get 2nd cam set up, background suggestions, mic etiquette, etc. The more you educate students before class, the more they will get out of class.
  • Be careful of virtual backgrounds. Does not give clean picture to see student work.

Bottom line…we are all learning. Be honest We may learn certain types of classes do not work well on Zoom. May need to look into other formats on Zoom (Webinar?) or another company format (Teachable?)


Notes from 7/18/20 Discussion Group

Submitted by Ellen Taylor

Sarah’s Technology breakout group – this group was all working on Zoom platform.
Arkon mounts and stands were backordered.  All were very pleased with items when they arrived. (Reminder from Edie: Use coupon code edieeckman to get 20% off if you decide to order something.)

Deborah had purchased the Hue HD Pro camera for $80.   Said that it plugged right into her computer and was very easy to switch to Hue camera view.  Her struggle was downloading software. There was a way to split the screen to use both cameras but she hadn’t yet experimented with that.  It is also able to record video but she had not tested that either.  This camera was on sale on Amazon for $50.


Cameron talked about dual monitors and preloading your content (videos, still shots, powerpoints) so that you weren’t fumbling with things last minute.

We talked about seeing students’ hands.  Cheryl (I think) rigged her magnetic dashboard phone mount from her car to a mount created from an old peanut jar and a medication bottle to create the correct angle to be able to film her hands so her granddaughter could see.  She also had an Ultra Bright lamp she got on Amazon with different intensities and colors.  She was going to post lamp info to Edie.

Beth’s People Management breakout group –  this group had worked on different platforms; Zoom, Teachable.

Lisa’s community college used “conferzoom”. She set up individual 15 minute “live” online session.  She had students send questions and pattern so she could prepare.  She was usually able to answer questions in about 10 minutes.

Ruth’s students had her cell number and email.  They sent her photos and questions.  She responded via text and email.

Heidi was teaching “live” online classes.  Sent outline of course content, taught content and sent followup email going over content again.

Question was raised of “where to start”; “what type of class”?

Heidi said that she wouldn’t recommend beginning with complete novices.  She began with “beyond basics”. People needed to be able to knit and purl.  She offered socks and sweaters but classes didn’t sell at first.  Found she needed to offer free technique classes for people to be able to “try out” her and the platform.  After students learned the “ropes”, she was able to sell classes.  
She suggested hosting a KAL or CAL to get their feet wet both on the platform and with different teaching methods.

Google classroom was also mentioned.  Can’t remember who was using it.  Can be set up to post videos for students to watch and they can post completed assignments.   Using posted assignments as a memorial wall of progress was mentioned.

How to fill lulls was mentioned.  Cindy found using videos was distracting.  She posted static pictures of herself knitting.

Making sure quiet ones don’t fall through the cracks or if your classes are large that you don’t miss a question.  Beginning with everyone muted, speaking individually to each participant making them feel included.  Having students post progress pictures.


Notes from 7/20/20

Submitted by Linda Bogolin

Topic:  Teaching/Students

Sarah began the session by stating that dealing with difficult students is universal. As an example of that she talked about watching the Go Live Marketplace this past weekend. During the “Zoom Check It Out” there was that one student who constantly tried to derail the whole conversation. She noted that there was one in just about all of the sessions she was part of.

So, what can we do about this?

Ideas from the group:

         1 – Manage the chatter. If your student group is a manageable size, go around and ask each person how they are doing and if they have any questions.  That way, each person feels like they will get some individual attention, while also helping the other members of the group hear answers to questions maybe they didn’t know they would have.

         2 – Have help with a big group. Have a “chat manager” who can watch the chat and pool the questions so that they can be addressed at a designated time toward the end of the session. If you are alone, review the chat afterwards and have a follow-up email with questions addressed.

         3 – Know your audiences’ expectations. Cameron stated that what she does depends upon the style of the meeting, size of group, etc. Be flexible to tailor to what your audience expects. She has “guided get togethers” where she does try to touch base and focus on each person attending – however, this does depend on the size of the group and goals for the meeting.

The question of how to help those folks that are weary of zoom get comfortable with the format.

Ideas from the group:

         1 – Everyone liked (and felt that it was “doable”) Edie’s suggestion of regularly having newer folks log into the meeting 15 minutes ahead of time to get a quick run-through of how to use zoom. “Preteaching”

         2 – One person mentioned that in a class they attended, the teacher used breakout rooms to show a video to 1/2 of the class while the other half was learning another part of the technique. Then the two halves of the class would swap.

         3 – Have pre-teaching for how the student can get their camera set up to be able to show you their work. All in the group agreed that people like having confirmation that what they are doing is correct, so it is somewhat important that they get comfortable on how to show you their work.

Length of Time for Class, Group Size, and price for classes were discussed:

Time:  1hr vs 2hr vs 3hr class length:

         1 hour classes – the participants may pick up and remember 1 thing

         2 hour classes – tough to get through

                  a – have light music going during ‘work time’ where everyone is working to get to a certain point. Have focus be on your hands doing the work too. Little comments here to keep everyone working, but not too distracting.

Group Size:  One participant said that 6-8 students for a two hour class seems to be the ideal ratio for her.

Price for Classes:  Various price points among participants, but it was mentioned that it cost someone $40 for a 2 hour class at Vogue Knitting Live and the instructor was getting $125 to teach.

The last big point was:

IT IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO CREATE AN UNDERSTANDING AMONGST YOUR STUDENTS OF WHAT YOU EXPECT OF THEM!

         1 – Mute most of time to cut out background clutter

         2 – Don’t take a distracting phone call during the meeting (or hide your video and mute yourself if you MUST)

         3 – Basic etiquette for attendees – go over at the beginning. Raise hand or type question in chat, etc.

Edie Eckman Class Notes from 7/20/20:

Topic:  Technology

Software:

         1 – Beth Knits ran through different options in the “Advanced” section of screen sharing in zoom.  There is a lot the HOST can do and see about share screen.  These options work best on a desktop or laptop.  This is where you can bring in videos to show.  All were encouraged to look in the settings at the share screen options.  In the “Basic” section of share screen, you can share your plugged in iPhone.  You an also share portions of your screen.  Drawback is Students can still see you but you can’t see them.  The tutorials are recommended as being good too.

         2 – It was also mentioned that you can have the chat saved and go though any questions afterwards.  Be warned that any and all side chats between individual participants is saved as well.  So if you are leaving the setting where participants can chat amongst themselves, warn them that this is being saved. 

         3 – Teachable is a good platform that folks like.  It is similar to Craftsy was where there are places under each lesson where attending can make comments, ask more questions, etc.  Folks also use Canvas as a good teaching platform.

Equipment: 

         1 – Invest in good lighting!  Try softened lighting and lighting from the sides as well.

         2 – Make sure your computer is upgraded and has enough memory.  8G – 16G with a solid state drive is good for zooming. 

         3 – When possible, it is always better to plug directly into your router box for good bandwidth.  Having a USB Hub may help with this.

         4 – It was asked if it is better to use zoom with headphones.  It is a good way for you to hear everyone better and keep out any of your background noises.


Cheryl Floyd wrote about her cool hack for holding her phone.

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