What this AP Macroeconomics Teacher Thinks About the AP Daily Videos
Launched over a year ago, these short, on-demand, high-quality bite-sized bits of knowledge are a far more powerful teaching and learning tool than many AP teachers currently suggest
For the first time in my over thirty-three-year teaching career, I’m teaching Advanced Placement Macroeconomics (AP Macro.)
I’ve been assigned three sections, though I have never taught an economics course and only taken one economics course in college, a course at Cal that I nearly failed. To complicate matters, the high-expectations school I teach at only offers the Macro course the first semester.
Despite the above, I’m confident that I can properly prepare my students for the May exam.
AP teachers today don’t necessarily need vast amounts of content knowledge to teach an AP course. Nor do they necessarily need to attend an APSI training, serve as a reader, or purchase any costly materials. We live in a day where for free AP teachers can get what they need to teach.
To prepare my students for the Unit I and II AP Macroeconomics tests, I relied heavily on the AP Daily videos.
Specifically, I required my students to watch each of the fifteen or so videos that CB has created for each of these two units. I will do the same for each of the remaining four units of the course
Videos are to be watched while students are away from class, with these videos usually lasting between 8 and 9 minutes.
Yes, I have heard many AP teachers describe the AP Daily videos as “boring,” worse even, but that’s not how I view the videos.
I view the AP Daily videos as content-rich, well-structured, professionally-looking, and well-presented bite-sized bits of knowledge that allow for all students to learn the needed content and skills in as little time as possible, with this conclusion reached after having watched:
- Dozens of APUSH, APGov, and AP Psych videos.
- All of the Matt Romano, Rebecca Sealock, Jennifer Raphaels, and Jen Filosa AP Daily Macroeconomic videos.
- All of the Steve Heimler, Jacob Reed, Jeff Lovett, and Jacob Clifford AP Macroeconomic videos.
Below, what I especially like about the AP Daily videos:
- That the information found on each slide is so well written and formatted that the students who want to take notes need only take screenshots of the slides, rather than have to listen over and over again to what the video-producing teacher has said to get the gist of the message. To put it another way, I find the AP Daily videos infinitely more “note-taking friendly” than any of the videos produced by the Cliffords, Heimlers, etc., though I think these teachers have also produced high-quality videos. I, in fact, show some of their videos in class on occasion, though only after having had my students watch the AP Daily videos.
- That the AP Daily video-producing teachers don’t attempt to interject humor, movie clips, silly faces, and sound effects into their videos. I prefer the no-nonsense, I’m not-going-to-waste-your-time approach; finding the alternative, and their attempts to engage, generally an unwanted distraction.
- That AP Classroom provides me with the ability to hold my students accountable to the watching of the videos by way of an online, though often administered in class, AP Classroom Topic Question Quiz.
- That AP Classroom provides me with an indication of the extent to which the students in each of my three Macroeconomics classes have answered the AP Classroom Topic Question Quiz questions correctly.
- That AP Classroom provides me with an indication of the extent to which my students have “watched” each of the assigned videos.
- That AP Classroom does not allow students to skip through a video and still earn credit for having “watched” the video. Students must watch the entire video for AP Classroom to so register.
Sidenote #1: If you’re looking for non-AP Classroom, high-quality, no-nonsense, 4–10 minute bite-sized bits of knowledge, be sure to check out the videos produced by Adam Norris (APUSH), Mandi Rice (APPsych), Kelsey Falkowski (APGov), Carey LaManna (APGov), Andrew Conneen (AP Gov), Daniel Larson (AP Gov), and Tom Richey (APUSH and APGov.) Great work!
Sidenote #2: If you’re looking for a good example of what a student’s Unit II AP Daily notes might look like here, click here.
Sidenote #3: My Macroeconomics Unit I and Unit II MCQ and FRQ test scores suggest that 75% of my students will earn a score of 3 or better on this year’s exam, that's 23% over the 2021 national average and generally on par with the school’s APUSH and APGov average. If my students’ passage rate gets anywhere close to that 75% prediction, I will credit it to the power of the AP Daily videos and AP Classroom.
Sidenote #4: My interpretation of the green and yellow color bars comes from dialogue with experienced teachers. It’s not an official description provided by the AP Program itself.
Sidenote #5: After publishing this post, I heard from Trevor Packer. “We’d never want to take the position that teachers should place greater emphasis on AP Daily videos than other great videos and resources. But you asked me whether there are any specific benefits that may be unique to AP Daily. In addition to the accountability benefit you mention, I think it’s beneficial to have videos for which AP Topic Questions have been specifically created so that there’s an intentionally designed “check for understanding” that provides the teacher with immediate data regarding student understanding of the content and skills depicted in the video. These Topic Questions were explicitly designed to detect common misunderstandings, so that combination of video + three topic questions + immediately available data for the teacher can help teachers focus their instructional time on real misunderstandings among their students rather than on stuff the students may already have learned well.”