As a pre-service teacher, have you ever thought about what you would do if you had to be absent and had to depend on a substitute, who is not familiar with the material and the style of your class? Have you ever thought about how you will accommodate for all of your students, attending to all of their individual needs? The program Metta, formerly known as Soo Meta, can allay the concerns involved with those issues.
Richard Byrne, author of the blog “Free Technology for Teachers“–a blog that talks about the newest and most useful technology applications for the classroom–describes how Metta is an effective tool for allowing students to not only be consumers of information presented on the Internet but also creators of it. In his post “Metta – Create Multimedia Presentations and Quizzes Online,” Byrne goes into detail about how Metta allows you to pool videos from YouTube, or ones that you choose to upload from your hard drive (with your own face and voice), images from the Internet or from your desktop, as well as content from Twitter or Pinterest, in order to create the most engaging and interactive presentations possible.
In order to create a presentation, you log on to Metta, where you will be presented with a screen that asks you to add a title. After you do so, press the green “Create” button, press the “skip this step” button on the following screen, and you will be shown the storyboard for your presentation. To the left of the window, you are able to see the list of clips that are included in your presentation, a plus sign where you can add a new clip, and the toolbar, above all of that.
By entering a keyword or phrase into the search bar up top, you can search for a video from YouTube (or choose to upload one from your hard drive) that will be featured on the striped rectangle where the green video camera appears. You can also search for an image (or upload one from your desktop) that will appear as the clip background, as well as search for media on Twitter, which will appear on the “Type your text here” bar, if you choose not to type in your own description.
Finally, as mentioned before, Metta allows the creator to embed quizzes into the presentation to assess viewer comprehension. To do so, simply go to the “Poll” menu on the toolbar and select “Add New Poll.” Then, you can type in your own question and the responses from which the viewer can choose from. When you are done with your presentation, you can press the orange “Watch All” button, which will save your work and allow you to preview it. If you are satisfied with your presentation, you can then choose to publish your work and provide access to it through a permalink or by embedding it. For more information on how to use Metta, see the YouTube tutorial below.
As his blog is geared towards educators, Richard Byrne always includes a section on how the tools can be used effectively in the classroom. In this particular post, Byrne suggests that students be assigned to create a trailer for a book they have read, using the various types of media from the web as well as recordings of themselves giving explanations. Byrne also suggests that students create a “digital collage” of media surrounding a current event that has been widely talked about through different technologies.
While these are excellent suggestions, I chose to make my first project on Metta from the perspective of the teacher. As I mentioned earlier, Metta can be used if a teacher is aware of an upcoming absence, so that an entire day of instruction is not lost. In the Metta presentation on the Gettysburg Address I made, I am playing the part of an absent teacher who is using Metta to teach her class about the Gettysburg Address, assesses their knowledge about how closely they were listening, and then assigns them group work to complete in relation to the media they have just viewed. When viewing my project, which is linked to the image below, please be patient, as it takes a few moments for the presentation to load.
Also, “Flipped Learning,” a new method of educating students, is becoming more popular by the day, and Metta is a tool that can be used to make the process of such learning feasible. Flipped learning involves recording the lectures for the students to view at home, on their own time, at their own speed, and the classroom time being used for work, and applying the skills that were learned through the lessons that the students had viewed at home. Flipped learning allows the teacher to spend more time aiding his or her students who may have had trouble understanding the content of the lesson, as he or she does not have the pressure of continuing with the lecture so that those who do have a full understanding do not waste any of their time.
The quiz feature on Metta allows for the instructor to test certain ideas that the students should have accrued from the flipped lesson, and then view what percentage of the class was able to answer each question correctly. Therefore, if the teacher sees that the greater majority of the class answered a particular question incorrectly, he or she can spend time reviewing that specific content, ensuring an understanding of it, and not spending time reviewing content that the students are already comfortable with.
There are different versions of Metta, each having a different price and therefore having different features: a free version, which I used to make my project, a plus version, which costs $3.99/month, and a pro version, which costs $12.49/month. I was able to create my project with ease and was able to create, in my opinion, a satisfactory product. Although Richard Byrne mentions that Metta is an advertiser for his blog, which could insinuate that this post is only present because of their monetary support, I believe that he wrote about the program for reasons other than monetary support from its creators, as it an excellent tool for teachers and students.
For more information on Metta, beyond my post and that of Richard Byrne, feel free to check out:
- Michael Karlin’s post “Metta – Flip Web Content into Video Lessons” on his blog “The Ed Tech Roundup“
- Lindsey Sipe’s video tutorial on Metta (when it was still called SooMetta–but it still includes the same features) entitled “Using Soometa.com in the Classroom.mp4“
- The review Metta entitled “Metta-Digital Content Based Storytelling Tool” on EdTechReview
- There is a free mobile Metta application that can be downloaded to the iPhone and iPad.
- For more information on Flipped Learning, watch the Apollo Group’s video on Flipped Learning–a video that discusses how this method of instruction allows for the students to become better prepared for tomorrow
- An article, “Metta.io-A Powerful Free Tool for Flipped Content Creation” on how Metta is useful in a Flipped classroom
Do you think you could possibly use this to teach your class when you are absent? Do you think that this will be a useful tool for your students to use to reflect their understanding of the content you teach them? Please feel free to comment on this post to share your thoughts! Also, to learn about another cool tool that is able to create similar presentations, take a look at Katie H.’s post entitled “Alchemy Smartbinder: Creating Lessons online.” Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about Metta.