So a bit more technology perhaps than Latin, but I’ll return to some Latin below. I’m a Swivl Pioneer and so was alerted to the launch of Recap, a website that allows students to interact via video with questions the teacher poses. (I’ve heard this is similar to VoiceThread, which I know of but with which I am not directly familiar.)
In my Medieval Lit class, we’re focusing on manuscripts for the next few weeks, and so I thought I’d turn my class loose with Recap and some introductory videos on MSS to see how Recap works.
Once you’re logged in to Recap, you make classes:
There’s my Medieval class.
At the upper right of that screen is the ‘Add Recap’ button, which allows you to write questions for your students to answer and you can set the length of max response (2 mins max).
When I first started writing the questions, I was sticking to largely objective questions (because they were the ones that came to mind) but I realized that it seemed somewhat wasteful for students to record answers to objective questions (though I was happier with the video responses to those questions than I expected; more on that below). As I went on, however, I made more open-ended questions, including questions that required physical props; this, it would seem, is the real advantage to Recap, is the ability to hold before the camera in a dynamic way objects to enhance a response.
Once the students answer and submit, the teacher has a summary screen:
(At the risk of sounding defensive, the students were working in groups, which is why the percentage is so low.)
You can see too that students are able to rate their understanding with a simple visual key and student videos are available for watching at the bottom.
Here’s a screen-scroll of all of the responses / summary screens:
Recap also produces (and I mean that to some extent in the technical sense as well) a ‘Daily Review Reel’ (at upper right) that puts together the videos with some music, borders, and the question at the beginning. (I’m not quite sure why all of the videos didn’t make the review reel but I did find that you could add or subtract videos from the reel; perhaps they try to keep the review reel on the shorter side?)
Here’s a link to the video (Recap provides this; no embed code as far as I could find). And here’s the screen-grabbed video:
In the end, I’m always trying to assess whether a new tool like this has staying power. Is it an effective tool for me and my students to make more efficient and more successful my teaching and their learning? The easy answer is I don’t know. They were initially skeptical (at best) of videoing their answers but, once they got used to the idea, they produced good responses in a more natural and comfortable way. I enjoyed listening to the answers because their personalities came through. And even for the objective questions, which, as I said above, I felt like was a bit of a waste for this kind of format, it seemed like they had a better handle on that objective information than they would have if they were writing it down, filling in a blank, etc. I will try to do circle back to this information later to test that sense, but that was an initial impression.
So a good first foray. I think finding the right kind of assignments for this is important, but I’ll continue to experiment with it. I’m excited to try it with Latin because I feel like it could be a good way to get more students involved in a more natural way for open-ended material, i.e. students can interpret text, offer different readings, speculate on grammatical usage, etc., in what feels like a much less pressured environment (the video response) than in front of the whole class.
Ted’s full presentation is here (that he shared freely and openly with us) but I will highlight some of the, well, highlights below.
I gave my first text-based test to my Latin 3/4 class today and, when we were reviewing, one of my students asked whether we were getting vocab for the test. I considered it for a moment, really contemplating whether I could or wanted to make a list that was both helpful and fair, especially since, in a mixed class, I really should have different lists for the 3s and the 4s. And then I remembered nodictionaries.com, a website that essentially customizes a glossary to a given text, whether a pre-loaded text or a text you provide.
I’ll use Petronius’ Matron of Ephesus as an example, the text that I was testing and for which I was making the vocab lists. If you click on the ‘dozens of Latin authors’ link, it brings to you a list of pre-loaded Latin texts:
Once you click on a text, you’re given intextual vocabulary for that text:
Here’s the nice part, though. That blue box at the upper right lets you customize what is provided and how it is provided. Most important, the farther to the left that slider bar is, the less vocab is provided. The farther to the right, the more vocab is provided. All the way to the left and no vocab is provided. All the way to the right and all words are provided (even sum in that first line).
The buttons at the bottom right of the blue box allow you to make a print-friendly version. So I used the setting above (minimum vocab) for the vocab list for my Latin 4s and did the second-to-most vocab setting for the Latin 3s. Print them out and vocab lists generated.
You can too paste in your own text, but I’ve never tried that. I suspect it recognizes the words and provides vocab accordingly.
A few caveats. The vocabulary is not text-specific (probably obvious but just in case), i.e. the definitions are general and will not necessarily cover any context-specific definitions. And that minimum of vocab setting above does provide a bit more vocab than I would like. I would love an in-between setting between this and the no vocab setting.
Nonetheless, the advantages of nodictionaries.com far outweigh any minor disadvantages if you want to create customized-ish vocab lists for practice or assessments.