Saturday, October 15, 2011

Grading Student Writing Drafts Part 2: Jing

This is not something I discovered on my own, and there are several other teachers that I know of who use Jing for this purpose (names are escaping me)

My use of Jing is an extension of my use of Awsome Screenshot.  As long as I have been grading papers, I have been talking to myself while I grade -- a habit that drives everyone around me nuts, except for those of my colleagues who do the same.  And truth be told, I'm really not talking to myself, I'm talking to the student whose paper I'm grading, except my words float uselessly unheard into the atmosphere, never to help develop anyone's writing at all.

Enter Jing.  Jing is (the basic version) a free offering by Tech Smith (makers of Camtasia).  Jing allows me to record, in five minute video segments, the annotation process with a vocal background track -- me giving an explanation for each annotation.  To be clear, I am not telling students how specifically to correct their papers, but I can cram 20-30 mini grammar lessons (reminders of things we've already gone over) in about five minutes.  As for my own learning style, after recording a class of videos on a particular assignment, I know what points need to be revisited in class due to common errors.  No going back through papers tracking common errors.  If I've had to verbally re-explain something four or five times for a recording, trust me, it's memorable.  I also let the students know on the recording that theirs is the umpteenth "paper" where I've seen the same error, which seems to take some of the pressure off when we revisit the concept in class.

So far, my students really seem to like the correction videos, and they are effective.  However, I cannot tell a lie.  The are time consuming.  I range from 5-15 minutes per student per assignment.  It's a lot, but I feel it's worth it.  What it has also done for me is to limit the number of graded writing assignments I give -- that is not to say that my students are writing less -- on the contrary, in fact -- but I've set their blogging and commenting on each others' blogs apart from the graded writing, so it serves a different purpose.

Here's a sample in an eportfolio.

What do you think?


  1. I do this, too! I agree with you: Students like it, and screencasts are better than just written comments (whether on Google Docs or otherwise). The problem is, as you say, they take a long time! Even if I do a good job and limit my screencast to 3-5 minutes, the entire process of uploading the screencast takes another 2-4. I'm definitely trying to improve my efficiency, though. Thanks for this post!

  2. I like Jing too. I've been using it for over a year, and I agree, making them is time consuming. However, I view it as personal feedback that if I didn't make a screencast the other option is to take up class time to meet with students. But, one trick I've learned is to make the screencasts at school, because the school's wide bandwidth means they upload usually in less than 30 seconds.

    This week I used Jing to grade El Cid powerpoint projects. The best part is the pause button so I can skim each slide first and then resume the recording. Then I embed the link on their KidBlog site. You can also embed screencasts on Edmodo.

    I also use Jing for sts that are sick for several days, are going on vacation, for grammar review videos, and for parents that don't make it to Back to School Night, How-TO videos for new web2.0 sites, etc. So many possibilities!

    I'm waiting for an app that will let me use a writing utensil specifically made for an iPad so I can bring their written work up on the screen and use the utensil to make annotations, then e-mail it back to them. Using a mouse to circle words w/ Awesome Screenshot is cumbersome for me.

  3. Yes, the mouse annotation is quite cumbersome, but I have gotten quicker at it with practice! It's amazing how quickly the tech evolves, though, isn't it?