Once upon an analog time, in order to grade student video projects, teachers had to take stacks of VHS tapes home and watch them on their own time.
Now that the digital age is here, teachers can fit all their student videos on a little external hard drive. But, do you really have to take your work home? I don’t know about you, but I have a life after teaching so, I grade all my student videos at school...during school.
First, establish a clearly defined rubric that will be used to grade the video. This rubric could include things like story content, timing, flow, camera work, computer graphics, video effects, transitions, music/SFX, audio levels, creativity and over-all editing techniques. My rubrics vary with each project depending on the genre and what I am trying to teach.
Then I decide on one of two ways to grade the projects: at the student computers or through presentations. I like to go from computer to computer in the beginning of the year when they are just learning how to edit. With today’s digital editing software, it is easy to look at the timeline and see if all the required elements are there and edited correctly. As you check through the list on your rubric, it is the perfect opportunity to give the student pointers and educate them on ways to improve their next project.
Grading videos at the student computers can save time and you can start grading videos as soon as students complete them. It is also a good way to catch up if you are falling behind on your lesson plans. But, presentations are a valuable experience for the entire class. Students not only learn from each other, they often get inspired to improve their own quality of work. If you can take the time, have students introduce their video and present to the class. Encourage creative criticism, and applause after each video no matter how bad it is. I find that students are tougher critics than I am but, they can be hurtful, too. Now, as you watch the videos, get out your rubric and assess as you go.
Finally, get creative with your assessment during the presentation process. It doesn’t just have to be you checking off a list every time. You could ask for class discussion and feedback or give students copies of the rubrics to fill out themselves. This provides another level of learning when the student reads and completes a rubric for another student. If they didn’t understand what was required before, they will now. I have even had the student producer fill out a rubric for their own project and write down class comments at the bottom. I put their rubric with mine and average the final score together. But, just when I thought I had tried everything...I had a new idea...
Just this week, as I was preparing my rubrics for my gaming class, (yes, I also teach computer gaming) I had an idea to use a Google Form for my rubric. Presentations took 2 days, but the assessment was easy and the results were immediate. I can’t wait to try this with my video classes. If you’re not familiar with Google Forms, I suggest you play with them and see how they might help make your life a bit easier. I already use them for announcement requests with the school and for weekly student reflections but, now I have found how it can help with grading projects, too. All submissions are combined into one spreadsheet which is easy to sort and review.
This is what we did: Students presented their games on the projector, while I sat in the class, logged into my Google Form. As they presented, I filled out the form. The gaming elements that were required for this project were in ‘multiple choice’ format. (Click HERE to see the form) If I wasn’t sure what to mark, I asked the class and they helped me decide. When the presentation was done, I had the final score for the project. Students were eager to see their grade immediately and they were satisfied with the results - no surprises. It was a success!
I know we all get so busy that we sometimes rush off to the next project without taking time to view and critique the first one. But, when we do this, we are actually depriving students of a valuable and enjoyable learning experience. It is also important to remember the emotional benefits of recognition and the feeling of accomplishment! Build excitement and boost morral but, make it fun for you, too!
Misty Gentle started with long format television programs for Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida. She worked her way up from a Production Assistant to Producer. Along the way, she worked in a variety of positions from pre-production through post. After that, she worked on shows for the Fox Health Network, Animal Planet, ABC, Disney, The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel and More. Misty has been a writer / director / producer for on-air promotions and corporate productions as well as 2nd assistant stage manager, Script Supervisor, Segment Producer, Associate Producer, and Post Production Producer. In the summer of 2008, she was Associate Producer for Nickelodeon's "My Family's Got GUTS". These positions have given her a broad understanding of production from show concept and development through post and delivery.
She began teaching in 2004 with a full television production program at the middle school level. After 5 years, Ms. Gentle moved up to high school where she currently teaches digital video production to 9th through 12th graders.
Ms. Gentle holds a BA degree in Communications - Television and Radio Production and is certified as 'Technical Vocational Education - Television Production'.