Rethinking the Computing classroom with Stream

Daniel Kerr

Daniel Kerr is currently a teacher of Computing and ICT at Sandymoor School in Runcorn. After gaining a BSc honours degree in Web Development, Daniel successfully completed teacher training specialising in Secondary Computer Science. While teaching at Sandymoor, Daniel works alongside Microsoft as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. MIE Experts advance the conversation about improving student outcomes through innovative uses of technology in teaching and learning. Daniel has also participated in a Primary school Computing project between schools in Merseyside and Poland. The project, entitled Comenius Regio, aimed to support the use of tablet technology for Primary school-aged children and their parents.

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Website: www.sandymoorschool.org.uk Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Images courtesy of author. Images courtesy of author.

Being a Computing teacher means that I have to demonstrate and model concepts and topics through the computer regularly. Whether it is displaying to pupils how to open an app or access a program through to skills building knowledge of software tools and techniques, modelling is an essential part of any Computing teacher’s toolkit. In the past, I have found that pupils watching a live demonstration of, for example, changing the background colour of a leaflet they are making or inserting code into a computer program can result in them wanting to revisit the steps taken to achieve this in order for consolidation to happen. This is where Microsoft Stream has made me reconsider how to approach modelling in my lessons.


Stream is a video service available through the Office 365 platform where users in schools can upload, view, and share videos securely.


A screenshot of the Stream app in use at Sandymoor School.


The Stream app from Microsoft has transformed modelling in the classroom for me because I am now able to record screen captures, video tutorials and step by step instructions which pupils can watch and replay during a lesson. This means that pupils can become increasingly independent as they can watch a video tutorial via Stream and work at a pace which is suitable for them. Pupils who want to advance further can by watching the next video tutorial in a playlist or pupils who have missed a lesson can see what was uploaded on a previous date.


In Stream, subject channels can be created. For example, here at Sandymoor School, there is a video channel for Computing, Languages and English to name a few. These channels can be followed by pupils and they can use it for out of class learning in addition to following tutorials during lessons. This makes the app ideal for flipped learning to take place, as video content can be uploaded before a lesson which gives pupils a snapshot of where their learning is going next.


Channels have been set up to enable pupils to ‘follow’ different subjects.


In the classroom context, I have used Stream to create a sequence of video tutorials on how to work with different tools in Photoshop. In advance of a lesson, I record my computer screen using a screen recording add-in in PowerPoint, which lets me capture a series of steps and button presses. An good example of this would be in a Year 9 Creative iMedia lesson, where pupils were tasked with creating a mood board with layers using Photoshop. By recording how to set up the page size and insert, overlap and resize images in the software, I was able to convert this into a video file. The video file was subsequently uploaded to Stream which can then be shared with my class.


Recording the screen and then uploading a video file to Stream is a different way to model skills.


By modelling through a video clip, pupils were able to pause, rewind and skip the ‘how to’ guide I had set up for them to enable all pupils to make progress with the task. Some pupils decided to ‘split’ their screens, by having Photoshop on one half and Stream on the other, to allow them to match the instruction to the software. It is really beneficial in terms of modelling because if pupils miss a step, they are able to go back with the tutorial clip until they have mastered that skill.


Lastly, Microsoft Stream has the ability for pupils and teachers to add comments underneath uploaded video content. This means that the app can be used as a way of creating an electronic dialogue in lessons. The teacher can post a question underneath a video clip, which can then display responses from the class. This adds an additional dimension of collaboration and interactivity in the classroom.


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