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Has Video Killed the Red Grading Pen?

Posted on 06/15/2018

Teachers are experimenting with video feedback as a replacement for traditional written mark-ups.

Feedback is a funny beast. We all need pointers on our performance, but giving and receiving feedback can be fraught with misunderstanding. Take red pens. Social psychologists and sociologists have found that, as opposed to blue ink, grading in crimson can lead to more aggressive critique External link opens in new window or tab. The recipients of these mark-ups, meanwhile, may see their teacher as less approachable External link opens in new window or tab.

Fortunately, some simple, creative changes can help. In the past few years, a handful of educators, working in different disciplines and various education levels, have been experimenting with video feedback. They’ve created a website with recommendations External link opens in new window or tab for teachers who want to try it out themselves.

Technology has limitations, of course. Teachers need to master their smart phone or computer’s basic recording techniques. Videos must be relatively brief (about five minutes or less) lest the files become unwieldy to share. But technological advances are making the task easier and easier. For example, screencasting apps, which create the video equivalent of a screengrab, now let teachers highlight specific passages in a student’s work as part of the video.

The video format offers advantages over written comments. For example, video carries more communication cues, such as tone of voice and facial expression, than a written message. Those clues make it easier for learners to correctly interpret their teacher’s meaning. Teachers typically use a casual, conversational style, which learners see as authentic and accessible.

Source: Hechinger Report External link opens in new window or tab

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