An essential part of the learning process consists in giving feedback to your pupils, how they’re performing at present and how their knowledge and skills have improved still further. For instance, this can take the form of general feedback given on a printed piece of paper (or school report).
Much more often, however, individual feedback is called for regarding a pupil’s performance on a specific task, for instance, preparation for a presentation, feedback on a homework assignment, etc. But what does this mean in concrete terms? Generally speaking there’s really not very much time afforded to the teacher to be able to do this during class time: questions regarding a presentation will be touched on briefly between lessons or during breaks, homework is returned corrected and perhaps you’ll write a short comment at the end of your pupil’s homework assignment. But, ultimately, the feedback is often poorly received or cannot be understood by the pupil. It would be nice if pupils could get as much feedback as they require, ignoring for a moment the lack of time, background noise and planning for the next lesson.
It would be great if teaching staff could give feedback in peace and quiet, without having to pay close attention to the time and preparing for their next class, namely, if teachers could provide specific feedback on individual homework assignments. And it would also be great if this were to take into account the findings of multimedia learning, so in concrete terms that there’d be feedback in the form of an audio commentary with the familiar voice of the teacher that would be given at the end of an assignment or presentation.
Brave new world? Russell Stannard, professor at Warwick University, has demonstrated how easy this could be achieved – and relatively inexpensively too – at the Online Educa School Forum in Berlin, Germany. This requires, however, that pupils are able to submit their work electronically (e.g. as a text document, PDF or image file via email or a learning management system) and, also, that the teaching staff have access to some software package that allows them to make video recordings of their computer screens. Additionally to record the audio a headset or integrated microphone would be required.
One software package that can cater to this demand is Jing, created by TechSmith. Jing is free software and runs on both Mac and PC. TechSmith also offers all registered users 2GB of free online storage. Providing feedback is quite straightforward and is described in detail on the BRN channel on YouTube (see “Videofeedback mit Jing” (transl. “Video feedback using Jing”)): You open up a pupil’s homework assignment on your computer, launch Jing and discuss the work directly on screen. How does your pupil access your video? Jing also has a pre-packaged solution for this as every registered user gets 2GB of free online storage at screencast.com, as already outlined. The completed video is sent to this platform in one click. The link to this video is automatically stored by your computer’s clipboard, so that this can be quickly pasted into an email to your pupil. This ensures that only those who have access to the URL can access and view the video. Using this method, you can review all types of homework, whatever the format. If you want to find out more about using Jing, you’ll find numerous videos on this topic on Russell Stannard’s website.