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Since most of the work that I do with teachers spans across several weeks, it can seem disjointed and disconnected. I wanted a way to connect with teachers between visits. I knew that there would need to be specific feedback and nonverbal cues for this to be successful.
So, I tried using Educreations to narrate my ideas about teachers’ units in progress…After reviewing the feedback I’d provided (the second or third viewing for many), the units began to improve. The questions that arose were deeper and more pointed than before. Having specific feedback, delivered at an individualized pace, really moved the process forward.
Shelly Blake-Pollock, the teacher and author of the TeachPaperless blog (http://teachpaperless.blogspot.com), encourages his students to publish online. Beyond that step, though, he offers feedback on their writing online as well via screencasts, or video recording of his computer screen. Screencasts, or “JingCrits,” that he creates are short, less than 5-minute video clips where he highlights student work on screen and offers feedback (View an example – http://bit.ly/bsgVQQ).
Blake-Pollock sends each student a link to their own feedback. The response, Shelly says, has been positive:
So far, the reaction to Jing comments has been overwhelmingly in favor. In fact, both students and parents have been pushing me to produce as many JingCrits as my time allows.
This kind of feedback can connect with auditory learners who may prefer to get their feedback in another format besides cryptic comments on a post-it attached to their piece of writing. The teacher reviews student writing online, offering specific feedback, recording the feedback as a video recording. The teacher reports taking only 5-8 minutes to record feedback that would normally take 20 or more minutes to write out as feedback.
JingCrits get their name from The Jing Project, a free screen-recording tool available athttp://jingproject.com that enables you to post videos online. Using screen-recording tools to offer feedback–whether from teacher to student, student to teacher, student to student–can offer tremendous benefits to students. This kind of video/audio feedback contribute to the demise of one writing myth–“it takes longer to grade writing.” As Shelly’s JingCrit demonstrates, writing workshop facilitators can grade for discrete skills. The focus on the lead of a paper is helpful.
Writing Workshop facilitators may be familiar with the Carroll/Wilson Analystic Scale for Classroom Use. The scale enables teachers to assess quickly and effectively what they have taught their students. Developed collaboratively with students, the scale embodies intelligent writing assessment. Simply, you only get graded on what you were taught. Imagine having students and teacher develop a Carroll/Wilson Analytic Scale for Classroom Use–centered around what has recently been taught in class–then offering video feedback on a piece of writing using that scale.
The video of the Analytic Scale, shared online with students, serves as a perpetual “model” of how to provide feedback.
Shelly has found a quick way to offer feedback his student writers need using screencasting. Some free web-based services that do not require you to install anything on your computer include ScreenToaster.com, ScreenCastle.com, and/or Screencast-o-matic.com. Online tutorials are available for each, but you should be able to get going fairly quickly with 15 minutes of exploration.
My own experiments at the University of Warwick show that video feedback goes beyond simple language correction. In fact, it works best when you want to elaborate and expand on your feedback and not simply correct grammar or spelling, for example when you want to offer comments on an essay’s structure, content or ideas.
In the language classroom, it is also useful for work on vocabulary. A teacher can take notes on pronunciation mistakes that are made in the lesson, and after class write the list into a text document, turn on the screen capture and read through the words and highlight where the stress falls. The resulting video can then be sent to the whole class. Teachers could send a weekly video of pronunciation mistakes or vocabulary they want students to learn.
We know from research that students value face-to-face feedback, but with large classes this is not always possible. So could screen capture offer an alternative? Students seem to think so. “It’s as if my tutor is sitting next to me,” is a common comment the OU are hearing. Students find it engaging and many point out they play the feedback several times.
Imagine that you have a video that you would like to have your students watch on their own, but you would like to include your own notes as they progress through the video. This will enable you to do that.
Imagine that one of your students have just made a recording of a lesson that they taught in their student teaching. She has posted it in her digital portfolio and then shared the link with you. You have the opportunity to provide time-line based feedback.
More about VideoAnt–also from Dr. Z Reflect’s blog—appears below:
VideoANT from theUniversity of Minnesota is an online tool that allows you to annotate videos. This system allows you to identify significant parts in the video and then make synchronized annotations…VideoAnt is limited to working with files that are online. The only way that you can specify a video is to provide the URL for it. These videos must be .mov, .flv and YouTube files.
Have you thought about offering video feedback, whether on K-16 or adult learning projects? I’ve been thinking about using videocasts for offering feedback on administrative tasks, such as budget proposals, web site design, etc.
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