Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bridging the Gap One Recap (App) at a Time

What does your classroom typically look like during the last five minutes of class? Be honest! It sometimes is a collection of backpacks zipping, talking, and the occasional student who wants to get homework done. The last five minutes of class is critical to the comprehension of our students. Yet, how many of us are guilty of wasting 5 minutes a day? If we waste five minutes a day for a week, we have wasted 25 minutes of instructional time for a week, 2 class periods a month, and 18 class periods a year. How can we better use this time period?

I believe the key lies Carol Ann Tomlinson's quote, “Formative assessment is the bridge between today's lesson and tomorrow's.” How can we better bridge the gap between today and tomorrow?

Recap:

An excellent tool to accomplish this important task is called Recap. Available on the web or as an iOS App, teachers can develop classrooms where students can respond and reflect on what they have learned through short video messages.

How Does It Work?

Teachers have to create an account and create a class for students to enroll in. Students have the option of enrolling in a class via email address or with a pin. This is a very helpful feature for students without email addresses.

Student Login with a Pin:

In order to use the pin feature, teachers will have to manually enter in the names of their students. If you are familiar with SeeSaw, the process is very much the same. If you are having students use the pin to login, they will enter the pin and then choose their name from a list (much like SeeSaw).

Creating a Recap:

Assignments are known as "recaps." Teachers can enter in a question via text and / or with video instructions. This is perfect for students, who may have difficulty with understanding what you are trying to ask and may need to hear your voice.


As a teacher, you can set how long you want student "recaps" to be (2 minutes or less), when it is due, who to send it to (perfect for differentiation), and include an Assess Self Poll question.

Student Recaps:

Students will receive a notification that they have a Recap due and have to respond to the question(s). Students will open up the Recap and use their device's camera to record a brief message answering your question.

Receiving Student Work:

Once students are done with their Recaps, teachers can access their dashboard and watch student activity. They can see who responded, view poll responses, and leave timely feedback for students.

I also like the daily recap feature, where teachers can see the Recap question(s) and responses of their entire class in one video. Very cool!

Conclusion:

Providing students with options for how they respond is an important component of learning. Recap provides students with the ability to verbally share their responses, which is helpful for students who struggle with writing or typing. I also like the fact that students need to quickly respond to a question in 2 minutes or less, essentially creating an elevator speech. It is so important for our students to quickly gather, assess, and state their thoughts in a logical and organized fashion. This can be a great tool for helping students do so.

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