March 15th, 2022 by Anastasia Procner

Lab Experiments Anywhere – video chemistry lessons with Pat Kalmi

Patrick Kalmi Edtech talks podcast

What do you do when your wife is in the hospital about to have a baby and your chemistry class has a big exam coming up? Almost a decade ago, Pat decided the answer was simple – record a video lesson. And when his students aced the test, he decided that maybe he was on to something. Soon, he was recording all of his lectures, and even entire experiments. 

To hear him tell it: 

Eight years and dozens of videos later, Pat came on our EdTech Talks with Explain Everything Podcast to talk about how his video chemistry lessons have evolved, how his students have benefited, and share some wisdom he’s picked up along the way.

How Pat’s video chemistry classes came to be

Pat’s very first video lessons were basically just him talking over screen recordings, and looking back, he sees a hundred ways they could have been better. But you have to start somewhere! And despite any shortcomings, Pat soon realized that chemistry lessons in the form of whiteboard videos not only allowed him to provide his students instruction when he was away, but also make the best of his class time with students, who could come in with a general knowledge of the topic they got from watching a video beforehand. This is, of course, the essence of the flipped classroom model.

“Every teacher who makes video lessons will say: every video you do will be better than the last. If your goal is to make a good video for your students to watch, then they’re going to get better as you go.” 

Taking it up a notch…or ten

Fast forward a little while, and Pat was combining his knowledge of tools like the Explain Everything whiteboard and EdPuzzle to turn recordings of himself doing different experiments into full-fledged video chemistry lessons complete with reviews and quizzes. He even threw in a chill audiotrack here and there to make sure his students were in the right headspace to absorb knowledge!

Check out the video below to see just how much his chemistry videos evolved over the years:

Helping other teachers make video lessons, too

Pat’s students aren’t the only lucky people at his school, and a digital whiteboard is not useful only for chemistry classes. When the pandemic hit, Pat was absolutely ready to meet the moment, and he used Explain Everything to teach his fellow teachers how to use the Explain Everything digital whiteboard (inception, anyone?) so they could carry on with their work, too! With an entire library of explainer videos’ worth of experience under his belt, he created a training video to teach his colleagues how to use the whiteboard app so the show could go on despite the circumstances. 

“When all of my colleagues were like, what am I supposed to do? I was like, I know what I’m gonna do. And I told them that if they needed any help, I could show them how to use Explain Everything.”

Watch the whole EdTech Talks Podcast chemistry episode

Check out the full EdTech Talks Podcast episode to find out more about Pat’s journey from awkward screencasts to his school’s resident explainer video virtuoso!

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Anastasia Procner Explain Everything

Pat Kalmi talked to Anastasia Procner – Explain Everything Online Instruction Specialist, ESL Instructor and Psychology student.