I often feel stifled in my writing because I feel like I should only produce a blog when I have something big to say. I am realizing, however, that I have come to know about so many great technology resources simply because other bloggers have shared their experiences.
I have decided that one way for me to ensure that I blog more consistently is to establish some routines. Since I am always experimenting with different ways to bring effective technology practices into my classroom, I am going to make an concerted effort to post a blog every week about a single piece of educational technology that I have tried. Mostly, I just want to share my experiences (good or bad) and I hope to be able to articulate the following key ideas:
- What is it and where I heard about it
- How and why I tried it
- If it worked well or not and why
This year, I tried something entirely new to me: providing students with feedback through recorded videos. I got the idea from one of my favourite bloggers, Shelly Blake-Plock, author of TeachPaperless. The basic idea is that you read through a piece of student work on the computer and use screen capture software to record a video of your comments as you are reading their work. I used a free program called Jing. The program is incredibly easy to use and the videos can be downloaded to your computer or uploaded to Screencast using the 2Gb of storage provided to when you sign up with Jing.
Seeing as I am accepting more and more work from my students electronically, using screen capture software allows me to give descriptive feedback in a way that is far more natural and personal. I was motivated to try this method for a two main reasons:
1. Time Saving
I am always frustrated with how much time I spend writing comments on student work. It seems there is no way to communicate complicated ideas quickly and effectively. In general, the less I write, the poorer the quality of the feedback. In the past, I have found myself writing comments like “unclear” or “incorrect,” or sometimes even “no!” or “?“. Clearly these comments are of no real value to a student. If something is “unclear,” why is it unclear and what can be done to fix it? Recording feedback is useful to me because in a video recording I can SAY so much more that I could ever write.
When a student watches the video, it’s as though I am reading their work with them sitting right beside me. They can see exactly what sentence/idea I am referring to and commenting on. I also feel as though students will be more willing to watch the entire video to receive the feedback. In many cases, I find that students are not much interested in written feedback on paper assignments. The video feels more like a conversation, which is a much more natural way to give and receive feedback. In addition, the video feedback is sent to the students directly as a link in an email. They can choose to watch the video when it is convenient for them. I think this is far better than handing out 30 assignments at the end of a period before the students go off to another class.
I have included an example of some video feedback that I recorded for an assignment last semester. The assignment was called, “Forces in Everyday Life” and it involved students taking pictures or capturing videos of places in their community that are experiencing forces. Students were to draw force diagrams of the object(s) as well as write a brief description of how Newton’s Laws applied in each situation.
For my first time creating feedback videos I feel like it worked very well. My students seemed to take positively to the technology as well. I am looking forward to using this approach more often in the coming year to see how effective it is with repeated and consistent implementation.
Photo Credit: quinn.anya