Using screencast software to provide student feedback

In this guest post William King from Brauer College explains how he uses screen-recording software to provide detailed feedback on student work. 

Giving effective feedback is an essential part of the teaching and learning process. The impact of feedback on student achievement has been highlighted in recent years by academics such as John Hattie who gives it an effect size of 1.13. The most successful form of feedback is by giving it face to face with your students, but in a class of 26 or more kids this is not always possible. This is where screen-capture software comes in.

Screen capture software allows you to record as if a camera was pointed at your screen. Using a microphone you can also record your voice to provide a detailed commentary. Jing is a free to download screen-capture tool that allows you to record what is happening on your screen and also to take screen-shots.

When thinking about what comments make it is important to follow a regular structure and I tend to use the Goals, Medal and Mission approach as suggested by Geoff Petty. Petty stresses the importance of giving feedback that contains real information and not just general praise or encouragement. His structure involves stating:

  • Goals: What the student should have been aiming for, which could include learning intentions or success criteria,
  • Medals: Where they are in terms of meeting those goals,
  • Mission: How to close the gap between where they are now and their goals.

It is important to write down some dot points on each of the above before you begin to prevent constantly having to re-record due to being unsure of what to say.

After installing Jing, look for the sun icon at the top of your screen and select Capture

To use Jing simply download the program. When installed you should have a small sun at the top of your screen. Open up the document that you wish to give feedback on. I usually go through the document and mark it up using the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word before recording, so that I can see the particular areas that I need to focus on. When you have marked up the piece of work and written down some basic notes it’s time to record. Hover your cursor over the sun and select the prong marked ‘Capture’. Take the Jing arrows and use them to position the recording window over the screen area (containing your document) that you want to focus on. Then click on the video button when you want to start recording. Make sure to use a microphone as this will ensure that your voice comes across clearly so that the student can hear what you are saying. It is important that when recording that you don’t re-read the whole document, but simply hone in on which areas are most important for the student to improve in.

Jing allows you to flick between documents while you are recording so it might be handy to have a copy of the assessment criteria that you can open and refer to if necessary. Don’t open and close too many screens while recording as this can be confusing. Scroll through the document as you speak and use the cursor to point out the relevant annotations. Jing will give you 5 minutes to record your feedback but I wouldn’t use more than three as this is already a lot of information for the student to absorb. When you have finished save it to the desktop or the Techsmith site.

Remember to give students a reflection sheet to send back to you with their comments on what they should be able to improve on in their mission. Jing offers an interesting source of feedback for students and also a means for providing detailed commentary. Plus it can really help if you have bad handwriting!

Thanks to William for sharing his experiences, and to William’s colleague Leanne Hampson for introducing us to his work. William makes use of Jing for recording his feedback videos but there are other free screencasting options such as Screenr and Screencast-O-matic that could be used in the same way.

The method outlined above would also be a great way to provide annotated student work samples for students, or to model writing processes. Let us know in the comments how you’ve made use of screencasting software in your classroom.


Assessment rubric for Book Trailers

Since Book Trailers have taken schools by storm and many classes are using them as creative ways to respond to texts, one question is how to assess them.

Whitefriars College library coordinator and School Library Association of Victoria President Rhonda Powling (@bibliokat) has developed a fantastic rubric for assessing book trailers and it could be adapted for other creative text responses.

Screen shot 2010-08-04 at 8.35.55 AM

Many thanks to Donna for sharing this fantastic resource.

Feature wiki – Whitefriars College “Reading – Active and engaging

Whitefriars College Head of Library and Information Services (and School Library Association of Victoria President) Rhonda Powling has created an incredible wiki. Entitled “Reading – active and engaging”, Rhonda’s wiki focusses on strategies for engaging students with reading, particularly for boys (as Whitefriars is a boys’ school).


Rhonda has introduced her students to ‘Book trailers’ This  is where students make a movie style trailer advertising a book. Rhonda’s rationale for introducing the student to book trailers includes:

There are many students who seem disengaged at school. It has been said that young people are not reading and won’t write anymore than they absolutely must.
Outside school, however, it is a different story. Studies have shown young people are reading and writing incessantly, updating their MySpace/Facebook pages, keeping blogs and WebPages

In other words they are reading and writing but in different modes and media to the more traditional print literacies of the 20th century. Indeed the definition of literacy is evolving all the time. Literacy can no longer just encompass print-only works. In the 21st century literacy must include digital, hypertext, images and the plethora of communication media that make up the complex systems that bound in today’s world.

The complexity of messages in today’s world means that our students have to not only know how to “read” them but also know enough about them to be critical viewers, with the power to analyse and understand the obvious and more obscure meanings of the messages around them.

Students are bringing multi-literacy skills to the classroom and teachers tap into their interests and skills and then enhance their students’ understanding of these various diverse texts. This will enable them to become skilled at critically viewing any of the diverse texts that is presented to them so that they can confidently use all the media around them to learn, clarify and communicate information rather than by passive users who can be coerced, confused and persuaded by the unscrupulous.

Some statistics: (in 2008)
· 73% or ¾ students on the internet watch or download videos
· ½ of the young internet users say they watch YouTube
· Many young people post videos to blogs and even more forward on a link in an email
· They are socializing, researching, playing games, getting news via technologies.
In schools we need to look at innovative ways to capture the interest and commitment of students to the understanding the deep-thinking and as the learning world because more and more immersive these initiatives are an important step.

 Rhonda has supplied some examples of book trailers developed by her students.


 The General

Nemesis Book 1: Into the shadows


Rhonda has included the process of storyboarding and planning before students begin filming:



Also included is an assessment rubric:

Assessment rubric

Assessment rubric

You have to agree that Rhonda has created a sensational unit or work and seeing the students’ brilliant efforts only reinforces what a wonderful job Rhonda has done to bring the love of reading to students in this age of multimedia.


edmodo is a communication platform specifically designed for students and teachers. Being designed specifically for this audience, privacy of students was a main concern for developers.  

My Edmodo Homepage

My edmodo Homepage (no link as page is private)

As the edmodo blog states:

  • ‘What is edmodo? edmodo is a private microblogging platform that teachers and students can use to send notes, links, files, alerts, assignments, and events to each other.
  • How does it work? Teachers sign up for accounts, and then create groups. Each group has a unique code which is distributed by the teacher to the class. Students then sign up (no email address required) and join the group using the code.
  • What is the locker? All users can add any post or reply to their locker. After posts have been added to a user’s locker, they can be organized and filtered using tags. Posts can also be sent directly to a user’s own locker.
  • What are the edmodo and supportgroups? During the initial stages of edmodo, when a teacher signs up they are automatically added to the edmodo and support groups in order to give all early-adopters a chance to connect and report bugs.’

edmodo has the facility for teachers to upload assignments and also for students to click on the ‘turn in assignment’ button which uploads their responses. Teachers can even send their assessment and feedback to students via edmodo. edmodo developers are keen to hear from users about this idea and how it has worked (or not worked well) with classes.

edmodo also provides comprehensive ‘how to’ documents in the form of a wiki. There are currently four guides; a how to for teachers, a how to for students, posting to edmodo and uploading an avatar. A how to use edmodo video can be accessed here.

edmodo seems to be a very interesting and potentially valuable tool for classroom teachers and students. A bonus is that students do not need an email address to use edmodo.