A few years ago, I discovered and wrote about Flipgrid, a student video response system. Teachers could pose a question in a "grid," and students (via a webcam) could record a response within the website. It was as easy as going to the URL and clicking a plus button. In the time since, Flipgrid has improved the tool -- for example, you can now respond directly to someone else's response, creating a thread of digital discourse -- but there are downsides, mainly the fact that it is not free. (There were also numerous browser conflicts where Flipgrid didn't work, but in the two years since I originally reviewed it, I'm assuming those are now fixed.) Several of our Shelby teachers used Flipgrid and gave it praise. For a time, in the nascent assortment of student video response tools out there, Flipgrid had few competitors.
Thanks to a recent Google+ post by Christy Cate, I have found another tool that is just as easy to use, will work across multiple devices (including Chromebooks and via Android and iOS apps), and best of all, it is free! Folks, welcome to Recap, brought to you by the same people behind Swivl.
How does it work? Register using your email or Google account. (It's important that you choose "teacher" during initial registration, even if you play the student to other people's recaps in the future.) Your account will come with a demo class to give you an opportunity to play with Recap's features, but adding a new class is easy. Once you do, you are faced with two options for students to log in for your class: via a class pin directly, or via their email/Google account. The pin might be best for younger students, as the graphic below explains:
|The teacher dashboard from the demo class.|
How could you use it? Reflections on a completed project or test can be done quickly: What was hardest? What was easiest? Did you feel you were overprepared, underprepared, or studied/worked just enough? Summative assessments themselves might have an alternative in Recap, especially for ECE students with compositional difficulties or ELL students who may speak more proficiently than they write. An exit or entrance slip via some Recap questions could give a teacher a much more rich and nuanced appreciation of what students know and understand. The "Daily Review Reel" would be a fantastic way to share your classroom work with parents or staff; as of now, it is automated, but fuller control of which responders/responses are included is coming soon (see below).
Downsides? It would be nice to have the capability to quantitatively assess a student via a grade or a mastery of standards (as of now, the only "grading" is a student's self reflection on whether they "got it" or not, and the ability for a teacher to give written feedback), but that might also be too heavy for Recap's intended streamlined purpose. I was pleased to see several improvements coming soon, such as a student being able to resubmit/redo a response. If they ever are able to have students respond to each other (like they can in Flipgrid), this free tool will corner the market.
|It's reassuring to see that developers intend to improve their tool; hopefully that means the site will stick around and mature.|
Do you use Recap? Flipgrid? Another student video response system? Post your thoughts in the Comments below.