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Reflecting on Reading

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

What are you learning and why is it important?

Katherine was inquiring about how her students might gain greater insight into their reading development through supported self-reflection. She noticed that many students find it difficult to truly understand what they are doing well and what they are struggling with in the reading process (both decoding and comprehension). Katherine has also recently started using iPads in her classroom and started making use of an app called Explain Everything. She saw the potential for this app to help her students gain greater insight into how they are as readers by having them create videos of themselves analyzing a video of themselves reading.

Here’s what this entailed:

- Students first paired up and grabbed an iPad.

- They took turns recording each other reading a passage (using the video function on the iPad). Specifically they held the camera over top of the book so their recorded video would show the student tracking their reading passage with their finger.

- They then exported this reading passage video into the Explain Everything app.

(If you’re unfamiliar with this app, basically it is a blank white board in which you can insert images, videos, text, etc… and then making a video recording of whatever you move around on the screen, while also picking up your voice using the microphone. This app is a great way for students to explain concepts by making a voice-over video.)

- Once their reading passage video was on the Explain Everything whiteboard, the teacher and student got together and would record themselves analyzing the student’s reading passage video. (The teacher and the student could pause the reading passage video at any point and share things they thought the student was doing well and what they may want to focus on more in the future.)

The end result was a video of each student analyzing their own reading (something that would not be possible to the same degree without technology)!

How is it going with your learning?

Students found this process very enlightening as they could for the first time literally “see” themselves as readers. With the teacher’s coaching, the students could take the stance of coaching themselves on what they were doing well and what they wanted to focus on more in the future. Many parents also found watching these videos extremely helpful as well, as it provided them with insight on how they could best coach their child at home when reading together.

What are your next steps?

Katherine learned just how powerful it can be for a learner to be able to analyze themselves through the use of technology. This concept of analyzing a video of yourself isn’t necessarily new, as elite athletes watch videos of their performances all the time in order to improve their skills and understanding. The concept is somewhat new however in education and is just one simple example of how technology can truly revolutionize teaching and learning! Next steps in the journey would be to consider how else we might leverage the concept of analyze ourselves through video in education. Students reflecting on their form in Physical Education, on their numeracy development in Math, on their development of the core competencies across subjects, etc… The opportunities are truly endless.

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