I am fortunate to be in a school with one-to-one laptops, and I often have the students document their progress using Seesaw. We use the platform for communicating with parents, but personally I find it very helpful for formative assessment, even when I don’t share the posts with the parents.
One of the primary difficulties with students recording for assessment is that it’s very difficult for two dozen students sharing a classroom to record their individual sounds. Taking turns isn’t practical, and space is limited. But I’ve got a two-part solution that has been working really well for me this year.
First, I discovered that the IKEA Dröna boxes are just the right size for our laptops. Upon doing some simple sound testing–singing and playing recorder–I found that the box works relatively well to isolate the sound for recording! Now, when students need to record a song or a piece for an assessment, they put their box on a stool or table, place their laptop into the box, and sing or play right into it. Is it perfect? No. But it is definitely worth a $4 per box investment! Even if I have enough for half the class to record at a time, it’s a huge improvement.
The second part is that I try to find solutions where we can record as a class, but still capture each individual’s sound. Recently, I asked the students to prepare a folk song. They had to choose from five songs we had learned in class, record themselves singing it, and then write about it. Once everyone had decided which song they wanted to record, they set up their recording boxes. They aren’t nervous because they know they won’t be singing alone: They are going to record themselves while we all sing together! I can play the accompaniment on the piano or guitar, and everyone sings. The students who chose this song will start their recording. Because they are all singing together, no one is self-conscious. Because they are singing into their own box, their individual voices are captured on the computer, louder than the other voices in the room. Because their computers are in boxes, no one even needs to know who is recording and who isn’t.
The first time I did this, I found that the students were much more relaxed about recording, and no one even asked to do a second take. (I don’t know about you, but when I set the children to record on their own, I often find them doing a third, fourth, or tenth take!) When I went back to watch their videos, they were clearer than anything else we’d done in class before.
I’ve found the boxes are helpful when doing any kind of computer work. Students don’t feel watched, and they aren’t as tempted to be distracted by what their friends are writing. The Dröna boxes have been a huge win for my classroom!