Students are often given the opportunity by their teachers to reflect on what and how they have learned. Traditionally, however, students reflect on their learning process solely through writing. This strategy provides a new, authentic way to for students to document their thoughts: through video reflections. In this strategy, you will learn to use student video recording to increase student voice, personalize reflection questions for students, and give students a more engaging and natural mode for reflection. With student voice videos, students are able to express their reflections via natural language, a format that is familiar and comfortable for them, and files that can be shared with teachers, peers, families, or even with the students themselves to track progress over time. As a teacher, you will gain insight into how students are thinking about their own work, and you can adjust your own practice and support of students accordingly.
Determine the purpose of having students take time to reflect via video instead of in writing. How will you use video to maximize the impact of the reflection?
Identify the prompts to which you want students to respond via video. Some ideas for topics are:
Growth and Progress: At the end of a unit, semester, or year, ask students to reflect on their growth or progress in a specific area. This could be a specific class, content area, academic skill (i.e. writing), or even a non-cognitive skill such as organization or emotional regulation in which students feel they have grown.
If you've been focusing on a specific element of your teaching practice (i.e. building in more group work, or supporting students social-emotional learning) then consider asking students about their experiences in that area.
Work/Project Reflection: At the end of a project or long-term work product, have students reflect on the work they did to get to a final product. Students might even share two work samples - such as an early writing draft and a final essay, or a early failed quiz and a final successful test - that they describe in the video.
Goal Achievement & Next Steps: If students set goals at the start of a week, month, or unit, give them the opportunity to reflect on their progress towards that goal, and identify the next steps they'll need to take to achieve their goal, via video.
Set up the logistics for video recording.
Choose the tech tool you will use. See the "tech tools" section below for a variety of recommended tools.
Ensure you have the classroom logistics set for the recording. Identify a quiet place for students to record. Consider rotating students or groups through recording stations to cut back on background noise or to deal with limited available technology. Alternatively, you may ask students to record their videos independently at home as a homework assignment, as long as they have access to the necessary technology or can reserve the technology at school.
Preview the activity for students, and ask them to record their responses to the prompts. Make sure to frame for students why you are having them record their reflections via video.
It may be helpful to model for students how to reflect on their work. You could show a video example of a teacher reflecting on his or her work, or model strong and weak reflections and ask students to analyze what makes a reflection strong.
The first time you do this, students may feel awkward recording themselves. That's okay! They will feel more natural the more often they do this.
For students really struggling to get started, consider providing some reflection sentence stems for students to use as they learn how to reflect using video.
If appropriate, provide students with the opportunity to edit or enhance their videos. Some of the tech tools listed below provide opportunities to add text, emojis, and more to their videos.
Take time to review & reflect on student videos.
Student voice videos will provide you with invaluable insight into each student's perspective! Consider using the videos for the following:
Send a quick text or video response to each student's video. This shows students that you took the time to listen to their video and gives you the opportunity to respond individually to something they shared.
Conference individually with students about what they said in their video. This could be a good opportunity for you to check in with them on their next steps for growth.
Identify any implications for your teaching based on student reflections. For example, if several students identified a specific area in which they were still struggling, you could build in some additional instruction/practice time for students in that specific area.
Making the commitment to ask for, and listen to, feedback from your students can transform your work, attitude, and the success of your teaching. Although it can be difficult initially to hear authentic feedback from your students, it will ultimately allow you to improve your own practice, model a growth mindset for your students, and improve teacher-to-student communication!
Identify what topics you want to ask students for feedback on. Craft questions, either specific or open-ended, to guide student feedback.
For example, you might ask:
What has been going well in class?
What resources have been most/least helpful to you in class?
What else could I do to support your learning?
Do you have any questions or concerns you'd like to share with your teacher?
How have you felt about our recent use of laptops in class?
If you've been working on something specific with your BetterLesson coach, consider asking for feedback specifically in that area to assess your progress.
For example, you might ask a question that ties directly to the Growth Area you've been focused on. If you've been working on the Growth Area "My students work productively and effectively in collaborative groups," you might ask students:
How often do you work in student groups?
How productive is group work usually in our class?
How well do you currently collaborate with your peers?
What is one thing that would make future group work more productive?
For more ideas about what kinds of questions, see the "Seeking Authentic Feedback to Improve Practice" strategy.
If appropriate, after you have requested feedback from students, share back with students some of your key takeaways and how you will be implementing the suggestions you received.
Student-produced videos can be used as assessments that are engaging and fun for students.
Explore the "Mirror, Mirror On The Wall" lesson by High School Biology teacher Ashley Cooper included in the resources below to see how students reflect on their own level of learning and work collaboratively to critique other groups' inquiry lab presentations.
Explore the "Student Created Introduction Videos" lesson by High School Chemistry teacher Emilie Hill included in the resources below to see how students use video editing software to make an introduction video about themselves.
Flipgrid is a video discussion platform great for generating class discussion around topics, videos, or links posted to the class grid. Students can video record their responses to share with the teacher or class.
FlipGrid can be used by students to record their video reflections to share with the teacher.
Recap (by SWIVL)
Recap is a free response and reflection website and app that allows students to provide short text, audio, and video responses to teacher (or student) prompts. Students can access Recap via a join code or email and password, depending on whether teachers opt for occasional or long-term use.
Recap can be used by students to record their video reflections to share with the teacher.
Seesaw allows for the documentation of artifacts, audio, video, and writing that can easily be shared with an entire class or with parents as students build their seesaw portfolio. Seesaw can also be used as a class discussion tool via its blog feature.
Seesaw can be used by students to record their video reflections to share with the teacher.
YouTube & YouTube Capture
YouTube is a video hosting platform. The YouTube and YouTube Capture apps allow students to record and upload to Youtube directly from an iPhone or iPad.
YouTube can be used by students to record their video reflections to share with the teacher.