Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Audio comments avec Rolf's wry humour

I got to attend the second half of Rolf Polan's session on audio comments. Rolf is a Secondary Instructional Technology Leader and an on-line teacher. When I arrived, he was showing a video and explaining the freeware and Mac tools he uses. Here is a still of the video - you'll have to ask Rolf for the full meal deal. You can also watch excerpts on Scott's post.

Rolf talked about how he use Adobe PDF to use leave verbal comments on student work. I can see how being able make more comments in the same amount of time could really help us growing student ability.

3 of his tips that really interested me:
  • He saves a general comment that he inserts in all of the students' work for one assignment
  • Students just double click on the PDF file to hear the comments
  • Giving audio comments allows you to comment much more extensively, like having a conversation in a classroom, which makes giving specific, descriptive feedback easier. It also makes it easier for students to understand what you've written on the document because you are expanding it.
Rolf's presentation, specifically the humour in his video where well worth the time in the session. One of my favorite shots was Rolf marking massive piles of disorganized assignments, followed by a pan to a massive attached table with late assignments.

One question I asked was if used students use audio comments to provide feedback for each other. Rolf's students are at a distance, finding ways for students to interact and help each other learn is more challenging than it is in a traditional classroom. Like all the presentations I happened to go to, Rolf used the tools so he could provide feedback, but did not use it with students. As we work more on engaging students and practicing the principles of assessment for learning, this will be something we all need to work on.

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