Providing timely and effective feedback on student work is a critical component to any classroom. As students increasingly operate and create in a digital environment, emerging tools provide unique new opportunities for teachers to provide feedback on both written work and video projects.
With the increased adoption of Google Apps for Education, student writing often occurs within Google Docs. While teachers can provide feedback in the form of typed comments, media-rich options exist. By incorporating audio and video feedback, teachers have even more opportunities to connect with their students as they can choose the modality to best support their learning preferences.
If students are in a 1:1 iPad classroom, and are using Google Drive to create and share writing assignments, along with the capacity to insert text comments into the body of the paper or in the margins, classroom teachers can use a combination of Google Drive and Explain Everything to provide video and audio feedback. The process allows a teacher to export a student writing assignment directly from Google Drive to Explain Everything.
Once in Explain Everything, the teacher can press record, ink on the document (which imports as a PDF), and even insert front facing video while providing feedback. In order to give the student access to the video feedback, the Explain Everything Project (XPL file) or video file can be uploaded directly back to Google Drive and placed into a student folder. It is important to recognize that XPL project files will upload quickly to Drive, but students then need Explain Everything to view the feedback. Meanwhile, a video file will take some time to export and upload, but once in Google Drive, students can watch the video feedback on any device.
If students are creating their writing in Google Drive in a 1:1 laptop environment, there are a number of solutions that allow the teacher to provide video and audio feedback on student writing. Kaizena, which is now available in the Google Docs Add-Ons menu as well as through the Kaizena website, allows teachers to quickly open a Google Docs writing assignment in Kaizena and provide audio feedback.
Once imported into Kaizena, teachers can highlight sections of the document and record their voice in small segments. Two features recently added into Kaizena allows the teacher to insert a link to the Kaizena audio feedback directly into the student Google Doc in the margin comments. Further, Kaizena now allows teachers to create a unique teacher URL. When the URL is shared with students, they have the ability to request audio feedback on a particular assignment in their Google Drive account. The teacher will receive a notification of the request via email and can then provide the requested feedback.
Along with Kaizena, any screencasting or screen recording tool can be used in a similar approach to provide video and audio feedback on student writing. If using a MacBook, teachers can open a student writing assignment and screen record using QuickTime. Once the file is saved, it can be uploaded to a student folder in Google Drive.
If a teacher does not have access to the QuickTime recording option, a recently released web based screencasting tool can provide alternative methods to record feedback. Screencastify is a Google Chrome browser extensions that allows either a tab in Google Chrome, or the desktop of a Chromebook or computer, to be recorded. Screencastify provides a feature to upload the screencast directly to Google Drive. Once in Drive, the Screencastify recording can be moved into a student folder.
While it is common practice to have students submit written work as their final assessment to demonstrate their understanding and perspective on a concept, with the increased proliferation and access to mobile devices, student are able to increasingly create video content as their final product. But how does a teacher provide helpful and thoughtful feedback on student created video? Two solutions: VideoNot.es and Comment Bubble.
VideoNot.es is a Google Drive app that can be added directly to a Google account or accessed through the VideoNot.es website. When working within the VideoNot.es environment, the note taking process splits the screen in half with one side being a student created video that has been uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and the other being typed notes.
The critical feature in VideoNot.es is that any typed note added while watching a video is tagged to the specific location in the video. When complete, the VideoNote is automatically saved to Google Drive where it can then be shared with the student. For the student to receive the feedback on their video creation, they open the note in VideoNot.es, play back their video, and read the attached text commentary.
Along with VideoNot.es, Comment Bubble is a web based solution to provide feedback on student created video. The interface calls for a link to a YouTube video that it automatically embeds in the feedback interface. A unique feature of Comment Bubble that makes the feedback process even more efficient is the customizable feedback buttons that can be tapped by the teacher while watching the video.
When the teacher taps on a customized feedback button, the feedback is tagged to the video and added to a timeline of feedback with a time stamp. Along with pre-determined feedback, teachers can type their feedback or insert audio and video feedback. The final feedback can be shared with the student via a link to a unique URL on the Comment Bubble site.
Neither one of these digital feedback solutions is a complete replacement for a face to face discussion with students. However, there are likely specific assignments, students, and scenarios where these digital tools can provide a path for a teacher to provide effective feedback on student work.
To learn more, Greg Kulowiec will be leading Summer Workshops for EdTechTeacher in Cambridge and Chicago. He will also be presenting Redefining Writing & Feedback with Video & Mobile Devices at the EdTechTeacher Summit in July.