How can educators collaborate with students and leverage their expertise to improve their instructional practices to benefit future learners?
ISTE Educator Standard 4’s second indicator, focuses on the ideas of collaboration and co-learning with students. In researching my inquiry question for this module, I began exploring how educators can cultivate collaboration with their students, and create authentic learning experiences for students to showcase their discoveries. As I reflect on the current school year and the shift my students are experiencing with remote learning, I think about the learning experiences my students are having and the ways in which they are growing in their discovery of new knowledge.
This reflection is what drove me to my inquiry question for this module, and fostered several essential questions. What digital tools are available to assist teachers in collaboration with their students and help them to leverage student discovery and expertise? What if teachers created opportunities for their current students to demonstrate their understanding and also pass on their knowledge to benefit future learners? I believe that in exploring these questions around how to cultivate collaboration, it creates opportunities for students to experience a feeling of ownership in the learning process and empowers them to be motivated to transfer their experiences, discoveries, and solutions on to others.
The recent shift to remote learning led me to the discovery of Screencastify, a digital tool that allows for the efficient recording, editing, and sharing of videos. This digital tool has also served as a solution in the exploration of my inquiry question.
Getting Started with Screencastify
Screencastify offers three different ways for users to record themselves and connect with their audience. While recording, users can select to record a browser tab, their whole screen, or to simply use the webcam. These recording options allow a user to develop interactive, creative videos by capturing their screen and using the drawing pen and highlighting tool or use the webcam to record themselves in various ways.
When it comes to sharing videos with audiences, this digital tool provides ease for the user and offers a variety of sharing options. Created videos can be directly uploaded to G-Suite applications like Google Drive and Google Classroom, turned into a creative GIF, or users can export their videos as MP4’s and upload them to their YouTube accounts.
Not only is Screencastify a powerful digital tool for educators to use to enhance their instruction, but recently added features to this tool have also helped to empower students to demonstrate their understanding in creative ways.
Features that Promote Student Collaboration
Screencastify’s most recent feature, Screencastify Submit, has presented educators with a collaborative opportunity to directly engage students in the video creation process. This feature gives students direct access to the recording options and provides a platform for students to share videos with one another. While educators need to create Screencastify accounts, through Screencastify Submit students are able to upload their videos without the need for a personal student account or the downloading of any applications.
The ability to have student videos uploaded into assignment pages, allows students to be able to view and comment on videos submitted by their peers. Not only does this foster experiences where students can showcase their understanding, but it also provides an opportunity for students to see the creative ways their peers did as well. Sceencastify Submit is a very recent feature offered by Screencastify and is still in Beta testing. I think that this provides a unique opportunity for students to give feedback to their teachers on the use of their feature, and have ownership and voice in the continued development of this application.
Master the Screencast Jr. is a certification class designed to teach students the foundational skills necessary for them to effectively use this digital tool. Through this class, students learn how to navigate this Screencastify, use the different creative features provided, share their videos with their peers, and practice being responsible digital citizens. At the beginning of every school year, I do a lot of practice with my students on digital citizenship and teach them foundational digital literacy skills. These skills will help them to successfully navigate through various assignments and digital tools they will encounter throughout the year. I think a class like Master the Screencast Jr. provides incredible value towards cultivating collaboration and creating authentic learning experiences.
In addition to the lessons that are provided in this certification class, I think educators could extend this instruction by creating an opportunity for students to showcase their understanding. One way I am thinking about using this with my students is by having them create their own Screencastify tutorial videos demonstrating the skills and tools they learned in this certification class. Not only does it help to solidify their knowledge of these skills, but it also creates an authentic opportunity for them to experience their first Screencastify recording.
Ideas for Demonstrating Student Understanding
The exploration of this digital tool has empowered me to think of other ways I could use Screencastify to cultivate collaborative opportunities for my students to demonstrate their understanding. One way for students to use Screencastify is as a type of formative assessment. When it comes to students demonstrating their understanding of new concepts, Screencastify provides an opportunity for students to practice verbal reasoning being concise in their explanation. I am excited to use this digital tool as an assessment option for my 5th-grade math students. I believe that many of my students who are growing in their ability to justify their thinking would benefit from using a digital tool like Screencastify. Another way educators could use Screencastify with their students, is as a helpful digital tool in practicing public speaking. In preparing to give a presentation, students could record themselves to practice eye contact, building audience engagement, and summarizing the material they’re presenting. Using Screencastify would create an authentic space for students to rewatch their recordings and get direct, constructive feedback from their teachers and peers. Educators could also use Screencastify to foster collaborative opportunities through peer-feedback during the writing process. While peer revising and editing, students could record their screen while reading their peers’ writing and providing them with feedback. Not only does this help to strengthen revising and editing skills, but it provides learners the chance to here more explanation and clarification around this feedback. These examples and many more, are all ways educators can use Screencastify to collaborate with students and leverage their expertise, to improve instructional practices.
Do you have other ideas on how students can use Screencastify to collaborate and demonstrate their understanding? If so, I would love to hear them! Please share in the comment section below!
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