2 Tools to Facilitate Student Voice in the Classroom


Do you need ways to help facilitate your student’s voice in and outside of the classroom?  What if you could provide a solution to not only hear each of your students, but also empower them to be digital citizens by communicating through online tools? All the while, helping educators drive their instruction through methods that help understand and foster their students’ needs.  Have you checked out Recap or Seesaw? Look no further!

Time to “Recap”

Now, there are plenty of ways that you can capture video from your students; however, you may be limited by time and means in how you present it, use it, and/or share it. That’s why we will start with the tool, Recap.  

Recap allows educators to create a free web-based account to help drive classroom instruction and provide your students an alternative way to voice their knowledge and understanding.  Further, it  provides the teacher with a solution to collect evidence of student thinking and formative assessment, while supporting  personalized learning.

Once a teacher account is created, you can create classes and add student names to each class, or provide students access through an email invitation. The educator can then create either a video or text based question to their particular class by providing students with a class pin.  

Students then have the choice to either login via computer or by a mobile device application (both Apple and Android are supported) using the class pin. They then click on their name within the class and provide a video response to the teacher’s prompt.

The length of the video responses are controlled by the teacher’s settings to limit the student recordings to 15, 30, 60, or 120 seconds.

Teachers also have the capability to assign “recaps” to individual students, as well as the capability to add a simple poll with the video response to have the student include a self assessment on the assignment:  Got it, Partially Got It, Didn’t Get It.

Once the assignment due date or time expires, Recap provides you with a reel of six randomly picked recorded video responses to summarize the class prompt.

You have the capability to review each student’s video response individually while also having the ability to communicate back and forth with the student through text comments on their recording.  

Additionally, Recap provides you the option to share the individual videos and/or video “reel” through either email, web link, or directly to Twitter.  

So picture it.  You just finished a chapter for a read aloud and want to get your student’s views on a specific character. Use Recap.  

You want to understand  your students background knowledge on simple machines.  Ask in Recap.  

You want to understand how your students solve a word problem.  Have them explain using Recap.  

You want students to provide you will update regarding a group project.  Have them give you a Recap!

The sky’s the limit.

Or literally speaking, 2 minutes.

Need something more robust?

If you wanted to take the idea of video recordings a step further, then perhaps Seesaw is for you! (Seesaw is a free ePortfolio tool for teachers and students.)  

Digital artifacts can be collected by each student account (sign ups available through email and a class code) and developed through means of photographs, drawing (tools), file uploads, notes, links, and video.  

Seesaw is available through both web and mobile applications including Apple, Android, Kindle Fire and Chromebooks. Additionally, there is a mobile application that allows parents to have access to all their child’s digital artifacts.  

From the teacher’s dashboard, you can further organize student content into folders, “like”, comment, share, or even download your student’s work.  

Lastly, Seesaw has a seamless way of integrating a class blog from the digital content.  

Teachers can choose to share student work to the blog (although, ask them first!) and/or students can request their work be shared to the blog after approval from the teacher’s dashboard. This feature provides a fantastic way to facilitate a  voice to a broader audience for your students. Also, it supports positive digital citizenship skills.

For the more hesitant or novice technology user, Recap might be the more appealing tool to facilitate student voice in the classroom.  

However, even without the paid version of Seesaw (that includes assignments, assessment, SIS integration, and even schoolwide analytics), it provides more diverse features and capabilities (e.g. class blog, ePortfolio, parent access)  and might make it more appealing to any user once you get your feet wet.

Both tools create a solution to “hear” your students individually, practice means of digital communication and citizenship, while empowering them in the classroom.  

We’d love to hear your experiences after you try it out!*

*Please note that under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), children under the age of 13 should obtain parental consent to use any website that collects personal information. When reviewing  both Recap and Seesaw’s privacy policies, they both share their commitments to children’s privacy.  In particular, Seesaw has signed a Student Privacy Pledge.

Authorship Information

Stephanie Playton has been an educator for over 15 years in several different capacities including a classroom teacher and instructional technologist.  Currently she is a STEM Learning Specialist for Longwood University, providing PK-12 teacher and student programs through grant funded opportunities. She enjoys making time to travel with her son and husband to visit family, friends, and new places.

Connection to ISTE Standards

Teachers (1c,d, 2a,b,c,d, 3b,c,d 4c), Students (1c, 2a,b, 6c,d), Coaches (2a,b,g,h 3a,b,g 4d,e,f,g 5a,b), Administrators (2a,b,c 3 b,c 5a,b,c)

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