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Practical experience with screen casts as a writing feedback tool and vocabulary extension

Abstract

Over three semesters screen casts were successfully used with Elementary English language learners for writing feedback and peer learning. As a result, accuracy improved and students were more engaged in redrafting. Amongst improvements noted were all the students started passing their final writing assessments. Screen casts have conventionally only been used for scaffolding instructions or content. As well as allowing greater autonomous learning and increasing peer learning, it is postulated this methodology actually reduces the teacher’s work load and is as efficient as audio or handwritten feedback. ARTICLE%204TeWT.pdf

Since the publication of this article in 2012, I have convinced a number of other colleagues to start using this method of feedback.  All have had positive feedback from students but not all have continued with its use.

In 2013 term 1, only a few Pre-intermediate (PI) ESOL international students took advantage of this method. This was mainly because their writing requirements are only two pieces per 10 weeks compared with a weekly input at Elementary level and due to a delay in the  illustration of the usefulness of screen casts. I will not make that mistake in term 2.  Another colleague has convinced all the teachers in International ESOL Intermediate to give feedback in this manner after a successful term 1 and all of these students will have  screen casts for their writing feedback this coming term.

Instead of using screen casts for writing feedback I  concentrated on using them for expanding vocabulary knowledge for PI vocabulary booklets, which include filling out a table with pronunciation, part of speech, translation, word in a sentence, collocation and word family.   I also encouraged other PI teachers in the team to at least be the voice-over and manipulator of the mouse in two screen casts each and convinced one teacher to make one with a little support.  However, the majority of the research around a word addressing pronunciation,  collocation and word family input for 12 units was done by me, and the embedding of the screen casts into our Moodle platform. Student access and feedback to these video screen casts was overwhelmingly positive and general knowledge of words in class appeared to be better than previous terms.

We have just had a colleague, Lisa Simperingham, illustrate the use of www.quizlet.com for the making of interactive vocabulary flash cards.  The possible uses of this site extend far beyond a screen cast but students' vocabulary booklets would be the content they could use to create sets for the units and access to screen casts would be helpful.

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Comment by Hazel Owen on April 15, 2013 at 14:32

Loved reading about the myriad, innovative ways that you have used screedcasts with ESOL students. It is really refreshing to read about an approach that has been implemented, researched, as well as tweaked and adapted over time. It is also neat to read about how you and your colleagues are working together to develop approaches that are relevant for both them and their learners.

How did it work with the screencasts and the vocabulary booklets? What sort of feedback was given? Have you noticed a shift in the quality of the student vocabulary booklets? Do all students value the screencast feedback 'equally', or do some prefer it more than others?

Do you have any plans (or have you) encouraged students to create screencast feedback for each other?

Very much looking forward to hearing how things go as you explore screencasting further :-)

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