screencasting screencastify

10 Ways to Use Screencasting for Formative Assessment

Screencasting is a useful assessment tool. While I use it for my video tutorials, I also have my students make their own screencasts to help me assess their progress. In this blog post, I’ll share how I use screencasting to assess student work. I’ll also give some suggestions for using screencasting in formative assessment. Specifically, I’ll mention features of Screencastify, the tool I recommend for students to use for Google Chrome or Chromebooks.

screencasting screencastify

(If you’re unfamiliar with screencasting, see the “Getting Started” section at the end of this post.)

This is a sponsored post by Screencastify.

Why Screencasting Is a Useful Formative Assessment Tool

For their assessments this week in my class, my students are demonstrating the process they use to code their video games. They’re explaining their code and how it works. They’re also running their video game and letting me see how that works.

What I Learn When I Can Look “Under the Hood” of Student Projects

When students are showing me their code, I sometimes realize that they don’t understand what they’ve done, or that they haven't actually set up their code correctly. Therefore, by seeing how students are displaying their code, I can actually determine whether they understand coding at all. I make a note so that I’ll have a list of things to discuss with each student.

I’ve also noticed when students aren’t doing the assignment correctly. As we program in Scratch, the video game is supposed to start and the commands are supposed to run. However, some students will just pick up the mouse and move it manually. That's not really a program, just something that they're doing on the screen. When students are screencasting, I can very rapidly catch these types of things that I might otherwise miss in the busy noise of my classroom.

Bandwidth Savings when Uploading to Google Drive

Also, saving screencasts to Google Drive is an advantage because I don't have to download those large video files. I can just go to the link and see what the students have done.

So, when you're teaching programming, a tool like Screencastify is so useful because you can understand exactly what students are learning. Therefore, it's pretty much my daily formative assessment tool when teaching programming of any kind.

Screencastify is to Chromebooks what Explain Everything has been to iPads all these years — a formative assessment tool well-suited to any device running Google Chrome. So, in addition to being able to capture screencasts, Screencastify can also let you write on the screen and do a variety of other things with the toolbar.

10 Classroom Uses for Screencasting for Formative Assessment

1. Assessing code

Students explain how their code works and show what happens when they run it. (We've already discussed this one above.)

screencasting formative assessment chromebook screencastify

When students do work on projects, they can make a quick screencast and send the link to their teacher in Google Classroom or their LMS for fast formative assessment.

2. Demonstrating a skill

This practice fits with the old adage:

“If you want to understand something, teach it.”

For example, you might want to make sure that students understand how the advanced Google search works. Have them demonstrate it in a 20- to 30-second video. You’ll notice that when you give students a time limit, they may have to record and re-record. (The Screencastify restart button helps with this.) Working through the steps and explaining them out loud will cement their knowledge.

3. Explain a math problem

Often in math, the right answers aren’t enough. We need to know that students understand the process. To help with this, you can bring up a white screen and then use the screencasting tools to write on it while giving an audio explanation of a math problem. This is great for math teachers and can turn your Chromebook into a very simple way of ensuring that you understand how students are working problems.

math formative assessment screencasting

Since chalkboards were invented, teachers have had students work problems on the board to see their process. Now, using screencasting, every student can work on their board at the same time and be seen by their teacher and evaluated.

4. Peer review for writing or other online work

Students often prefer verbal feedback, but it can require quite a bit of your time as a teacher. Now you can use this technology for peer feedback. Have students bring up another student’s Google Doc and record a screencast about what they find as they're going through it. Now, admittedly, sometimes Google commenting is best for small snippets of feedback. 

However for longer verbal peer review feedback in a blended or online classroom, this technique can be useful.

Give students specific things to look for. For example, if you're focusing on comma use, then have them find three issues. Or have them talk about three things that they like about the piece and perhaps explain three places where it's unclear.

When they’re finished, students can just attach the link from their Google Drive and the other students can listen and understand exactly what the issues are and where in the document to find them. This has advantages over the even face-to-face conversation the specific problems are easy to spot in the screencast.

Remember that this is a useful tool for evaluating both the student receiving feedback and the student giving it.

peer feedback formative assessment screencastify

Screencasting of writing or online projects is a fantastic and quick tool for peer feedback in blended an online classrooms

5. Reading and translating languages

If a student in your class learning a new language, they could go to a website that uses their new language and translate some of the content. They could also read the different language aloud and then translate it for their teacher. This is an authentic way of assessing whether students are able to comprehend and translate another language.

6. Explanation of student work

With the webcam enabled, students can display an artifact in their screencast. Or if they’ve created a website, a portfolio, or something else that a teacher uses to assess their learning, they can record a video as they're looking at their artifact and explain what they've done and their thinking process. So instead of the teacher looking for things, students can show you. It saves time!

7. Virtual exit slips

Class Tech Tips blogger Monica Burns uses screencasts as virtual exit slips. You can do this by setting aside the last three to four minutes of class for students to explain how to do what they learned in class. Then they turn in the link to their short screencast on Google Classroom. This is a quick way to make sure that they understand the concepts of class without just repeating what another student has said, which can be the case with class conversations instead of exit slips.

8. Book reviews, journals, or opinions

Screencasts are fantastic way to have students speak their opinions. This is particularly helpful if a student struggles with the mechanics keyboarding or handwriting. So, for example, they can display a book cover on the screen and explain about the book or give their review. They can also bring up an artifact, a piece of art, or another item on the internet and share a journal entry or their opinion about that object.

This is a great way to see if students can express their thoughts and summarize their thoughts without requiring them to write. Speaking on a screencast lets them analyze and share what they know while meeting some of the standards without struggling with the mechanics of writing. This is very helpful for students and teachers.

9. History artifacts

Students can bring up a historical document on their screen and analyze the artifact. As they show it on the screen, they can narrate and write on the screen. The teacher can understand if they’ve effectively analyzed the nonfiction text. You can also make a gallery where students can share their analysis with others in the class.

10. Fluency in reading assignments

Sometimes, you may just want the student to read a book excerpt or a part of an article. Maybe you want him or her to identify and explain vocabulary words in context. Or you might want to verify that a student is able to find a word and look it up. So whatever aspect of literacy you’d like to see the student demonstrate, screencasts are a fantastic way to assess for this fluency.


Screencastify: A Valuable Addition to a Teacher’s Toolbox

As a teacher, you always need a quick way to create and share a video when you're using Google apps or G Suite in your classroom. Now it’s easy to upload a screencast to Google Drive, copy the link for sharing — and you’re done!  

Screencastify is an easy-to-use tool saves many steps, and if you’re using the pro version of Screencastify, you can get unlimited recordings, more editing features, and even more capabilities.

(If you want a quote, let them know that Cool Cat Teacher sent you for a discount.)

If you currently have Chromebooks or use Google Chrome in your classroom, I highly recommend Screencastify Lite, but really suggest that you consider Screencastify Pro for your classroom.

You'll be glad you did.

Getting Started With Screencasting

Step 1: Install Screencastify

Students need to install the Screencastify Google Chrome plug-in.

Step 2: Set Up Screencastify

Once a student starts to record, Screencastify will give three options: save to youTube or Save to Google Drive. (You can also download the video.)

I like my students save into their Google Drive. This means that they’ll be able to access their Screencastify videos from whichever computer they use. Also, when a student clicks “link,” it will copy the link to the video so they can give it to me in our Learning Management System (LMS).

A Note about Publishing: Remember that students could publish directly to YouTube if it’s enabled on the device they’re using. While my students have YouTube channels, I typically don’t want these screencasts posted to YouTube, so I just have them post to their Google Drive. If you’re an IT Director, however, and you’re often posting tutorials, this could be a handy feature for you.

Also, remember that a screencast is unedited video. This means that my students will just be explaining their work and their process to me without editing. I like this because it’s as if the student is sitting at my desk, and I can hear everything in their voice and how they're feeling about this project.

Screencastify is an excellent tool for formative assessment in the classroom. Get your students started today.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

Anna February 10, 2018 - 8:30 pm

I enjoyed reading your blog. I am really excited to start teaching. I have recently made my first screencast for a class and it was a great tool to add to my tool kit. As you mentioned in your blog I think there are so many ways to use a screencast in classroom with both the students and the teachers. I like how to spoke of the language learners, I was thinking about that same concept the other night. I thought it would be a great tool to incorporate to their learning with both their native language and the language spoken in the classroom. Also for teacher that are teaching different languages to be able to translate and have the students see and hear the words. The potential of screen casting is endless. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and tips.


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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere