Last year I switched to a gradeless classroom, and one of my goals was to give students detailed feedback on their errors to help them better understand the material. Unfortunately, my detailed feedback did not help all of my students. I found that there were some that did not understand my written feedback, but when I worked with them one-on-one and talked through the feedback, they were then able to make sense of their errors.
In May of 2018, I came across the article Has Video Killed the Red Grading Pen by Daisy Yuhas on the Hechinger Report. This article talked about teachers recording a video of themselves giving written and verbal feedback to students on their work. I realized this is what I needed to do to help my students better understand my feedback.
In the summer, I searched YouTube to find a video that would show me how to build a stand for my iPad so that I could record the students’ paper and my voice while giving feedback. I actually built two stands, one for home and one for school, and I was ready to go at the beginning of this school year.
At the end of September, I gave my first assessment, and I was excited to record the videos. As expected, it took longer to record a video giving written and verbal feedback than it would have if I was just simply writing the feedback on the students’ papers, but I was hopeful that the extra work would pay off with better student understanding.
The following day at school, I signed out my school’s computer cart, and I had students bring their earbuds to class. The students watched the videos on an online portfolio site called Seesaw. Last year and again this year, I am using Seesaw to keep track of students’ assessments and self-assessments, and I am now taking advantage of the feature to upload videos to each student’s portfolio.
As I had hoped, the videos were a huge success! I watched as some students stopped their videos and rewatched sections where they had made mistakes while others rewatched the entire video a few times. After watching the video, students were given the opportunity to retake a similar assessment (retakes are an important part of my class). The results of the retakes showed that the majority of my students were able to use the videos to build a stronger understanding of the material.
The feedback from the students has been very positive. The most often heard comment was that it helped them better understand the mistakes they had made. I spoke with a parent of one of my students who said that her daughter could easily explain to her what she did incorrectly after watching the video. The extra time was well worth it, and I am looking forward to learning more about how this type of feedback affects student learning and understanding over the course of the school year.