Many of my most memorable moments as a teacher have come when I was able to work with my students individually. I always used those opportunities to build positive relationships, identify misconceptions, and help put a personal spin on what we were learning. In fact, one of the main reasons I became a teacher was because of my high school English teacher Mrs. Wilcox, and the personal attention she gave me and my classmates. Mrs. Wilcox had a gift for what Sarah Brown Wessling calls “writer talking to writer (and) . . . thinker talking to thinker.”
But with close to 30 students in my classroom, one-on-one time is at a premium. I’ve found there are certain things I need to do to “set the stage” for making that time both effective and efficient – the most important being allowing my students to have access to content and feedback whenever they need it.
Those who help students with their writing have a huge challenge. The writing process has many steps and students need their teacher’s insight all along the way. With so many students needing so much guidance how can one teacher do it all? Some teachers are beginning to rely on podcasts and screencasts to give their students personalized feedback and focus that valuable one-on-one time on the most important concerns. Check out this fantastic explanation from ELA teacher Sarah Brown Wessling on how she is able to give her students the time and attention they need to improve their writing.
While Sarah uses an iPod and a voice recorder, for those of you with an iPad, a Dropbox account, and the free Screenchomp whiteboard app, you can use the same idea to give personalized feedback of your student’s work without having to cart home stacks of papers. Check out the video below for an explanation of how you can do this.
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If you prefer text and pics for your how-to’s check out this Tildee I created about using Screenchomp for personalized feedback.
Do you teach a subject other than writing? You can still use the same concept to grade anything from individual math problems to Spanish verb conjugations. The trick is to tweak it for whatever situation you are in. In fact, why not take it a step further and have your students create their own ScreenChomp explaining how they set up a particular physics problem, or peer reviewing another student’s work. The options are endless!
If you have any other ideas or questions about Screenchomp and personalized feedback please leave them in the comments below.
Dan Spencer is the Educator Emissary for Techsmith, as well as the Educational Technology Consultant for the Jackson County (MI) Intermediate School District. Before that he spent a decade teaching his students chemistry, physics and engineering. Follow his tweets at @runfardvs.
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