With the ease of access of video recording equipment (iPhones, iPads, built in webcams on laptops, digital cameras), helping students to use these tools effectively to develop their metacognitive skills is one strategy that I have been implementing over the past few years. What initially started as a great way to share student performances in class with parents has turned out to have other benefits for students’ metacognitive development, and assessment and evaluation purposes.
Throughout the school year, students are provided with multiple opportunities to make oral presentations to their classmates. While students are preparing to present, I encourage them to record themselves practicing and watch back their preparations and self-identify strengths and weaknesses. This helps them to focus in on what they need to practice prior to the actual presentation. Often students are surprise when they look at themselves because they have habits that they do not realize. We have discussions about self-assessment and assessment for learning throughout the process.
On the actual presentation day, I have 1 student who has the task of being the ‘videographer’. This is a great task for students who need a meaningful job during presentations or they may drift off or cause disruptions. Depending on the grade level of your students, you can discuss camera angles and get into fancy post production; however, in Grade 4 I tend to stick with the straight forward video camera.
After the presentations, I find it helpful to be able to re-watch performances to look for specific elements (i.e eye contact, posture, gestures) and be able to provide detailed feedback to students. I provide students a copy of their own video on a USB stick to watch at home and share with parents/caregivers. I have found that USB sticks limit privacy concerns as there is really no need for other people to be able to watch the videos. While they are watching their performance, I ask them to identify things they are proud of and areas of improvement. Following this step, I am able to conference with students, compare our assessments, and if necessary show them a certain section of video to help explain to them their assessment and discuss next steps.
Eventually, students develop a portfolio of their performances over the year and they are able to look from September to June and see their development. As some other teachers also use these strategies, students will be able to compare their development year over year as well.
As a teacher, having a library of previous performances also assists in developing ‘exemplars’ and providing students with examples of approaching expectations, meeting expectations, and exceeding expectations.