If you read my last post, you know that I taught e.e. cummings’ “anyone lived in a pretty how town.” We’ve been done with this unit for a couple weeks now, but I am just now finding time to post some of the student examples. The finished product involved the use of Google Docs (where they had a copy of the poem and their own notes about it), Quicktime Player (with its built-in screencasting capabilities), and USB microphones. I would have loved to use Jing so that students could select only a portion of their screen for the screencasts, but the software was out of date on the students machines. Instead of updating a whole cart of Macs, I went with Quicktime Player and its full-screen screencasting option. When finished, students uploaded their screencasts to Google Docs, made the file accessible for “anyone with the link,” and then pasted their group names and the link to their screencast into a Google Form. This gathered all the links into a simple spreadsheet for me, and grading was a cinch. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results!
The results testify to the power of screencasting as an assessment tool. How often have I delivered instruction and watched heads nod, thinking this meant that the students were understanding, then graded exams in dismay as I discovered that they didn’t really “get” it at all? Screencasting allows every student to share understanding. It allows me to verify that they understood. When I graded the cumulative exam for this unit, I noticed that students had mastery of this poem. I firmly believe this was the result of having wrestled with the material individually and in groups, working toward the production of an extemporaneous screencast about the poet’s method and the poem’s meaning. Magical!
I sought approval from my students before sharing their work here. They were proud of what they accomplished, and rightly so. Their work is commendable!
If you took interest in the lesson and would like to hear a few of the finished screencasts, please check out the three samples posted below.
Well done, students!