How I … save time marking by using personalised video feedback

Recording a video for every student? How can that possibly save time? Well, Penny Butterworth, Head of English at GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, has an innovative solution for giving personalised feedback that better enables students to learn asynchronously. Read on to find out how.

Do your students jump straight to the grade at the end of their work and not read their feedback? Do you deliver whole-class feedback sessions, frequently admitting “I know some of you did this really well”, or “this doesn’t apply to all of you”? Well, that was definitely me, and using pre-recorded videos has completely redefined how I approach personalised feedback for my students.

Loom is a free screen-recording programme which allows you to record what’s on your screen, whilst also filming yourself, and showing different documents in the same recording if that’s what you need. PowerPoint also offers a voice-over function and I’m sure there are other providers out there, too.

Here are two specific examples of how I use this simple program in class:

  1. Scenario: Year 12 have written their second essay on a topic; some students have really flourished and developed from their first attempt, others… haven’t.

Solution: Students reread their work and fill in a reflection grid on their strengths and areas for development. They only receive my feedback when they can show me they have completed this. I then make use of the private channels we use for every student in Teams to send them the link to a Loom video reviewing their work; they each watch their own feedback video and complete their reflection grid, putting my verbal feedback into writing.

Benefits: I can already hear you say, ‘Recording a video for every student? I don’t have time for that!’. However, I have found that by recording verbal feedback instead of hand-writing or typing feedback, I am often shortening my marking time. The students get much more from my feedback through the process of listening and then transcribing than they do from skim-reading written notes. Additional benefits are that I can use the videos to show students who need it suggested writing scaffolds or examples of work at the next level; students who don’t need this can be shown a resource for further research, or I can record an extensive discussion of a higher-order idea and ask them to respond to it – it’s entirely personalised. Students love the control they have over the pace of their feedback, as they can literally pause me whilst I’m explaining an important concept, and re-play if they didn’t catch it the first time around. Loom offers a ‘reaction’ feature, so I can ask students to engage by ‘liking’ when I mention a particular concept, or ‘high-fiving’ when they hear my explanation move to a top-band response, for example.

  • Scenario: Year 11 have written a piece of descriptive writing and there are several important areas where students have struggled; not every student has struggled with the same elements.
  • Solution: When reading their work, I will identify the key misconceptions or areas for development. Instead of writing out the same comments on multiple pieces of work, I simply direct students to ‘Watch Loom A/B/C’. This will then take them to a directed explanation of their misunderstanding, with explanations which are relevant to them.

Benefits: This prevents students having to sit through recaps of concepts they have already mastered, and prevents me repeating myself in written feedback. These videos can be set to be available for a specified time, or I can make the links available permanently, so students can use them to revise the following year, saving me further time making revision resources.

There are so many brilliant ways to use this simple little tool; I hope these examples help other GEMS teachers to personalise their feedback and allow their students to learn asynchronously.