Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2018
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Recap: Video Response and Reflection for Education

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Multimedia reflection app puts a new spin on class discussion

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
2–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Mimics a social media discussion, but in a private (with the right settings) environment.

Cons: Can't toggle off student commenting; questions and responses are separated into text or video, not combined.

Bottom Line: By promoting regular self-reflection and inquiry through Recap, teachers can support more authentic learning and self-assessment among their students.

Teachers will want to ensure that students have a quiet place to record, and should consider rotating students or groups through recording stations to cut back on background noise and allow student voices to be heard. It's also important to check through all of the privacy settings to make sure students' work will be surfaced in line with your privacy goals. It might be worthwhile to start off with private responses. This allows teachers to review all student work and then share out exemplars to the rest of the class. Once students get a hang of it, switch to public so that students can see each other's work as it's submitted.

One way to use Recap is to extend learning and assess students' work. Students can easily respond to simple warm-ups and exit ticket prompts or to much deeper inquiries from teachers or peers. The Journey creation feature is a good flipped classroom tool, allowing a few tasks to be sequenced and paired with web-based resources. Teachers can also use Recap to facilitate group work. Have the groups do a daily check-in, reporting in on progress and  identifying successes or struggles. At the end of the assignment, students can individually review themselves and group members based on their participation in the project. Teachers might also want to solicit regular, private (just visible to the teacher) responses so students have a trusted forum for voicing concerns, sharing accomplishments, or asking tough questions.

Feedback is easily shareable with parents, bridging the gap between the classroom and home. Teachers can have students share something as simple as what they learned that day or something more complex, like a recording of themselves teaching another student a concept.

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Recap is a free response and reflection website and app (Android, iOS, Chrome) that allows students to provide short text, audio, and video responses to teacher (or student) prompts. Recap describes itself as a kind of class-specific social media feed, and that's a good analogy. Teachers add questions to their class Queue (basically, a stream of questions and responses). These questions can either be text-based response, or audio/video response. If the latter, teachers can choose how much time students have to respond, assign to individuals or groups of students, and set due dates. For a little more scaffolding, Recap also offers Journeys. These are basically more structured questions, containing some framing of the topic, a video created by the teacher, and then multiple tasks/activities, and web links. Teachers can create these themselves, or browse the Discovery library (in beta as of this review) to find user-created Journeys.  

Recap eliminates time-consuming uploads by easily letting students record media and submit within the app. Students can access Recap via a join code or email and password, depending on whether teachers opt for occasional or long-term use. It also works with a variety of learning management systems, allowing teachers options to sync classes and/or embed assignments. After recording, students can review their responses and choose to re-record or submit them. These responses can be public to the whole class or private to the teacher. (Note that there's also an option to make a Recap Queue public to anyone, and that's thankfully off by default.) If responses are private, teachers can review responses and choose to share out students' work or even turn a response into a prompt for the whole class, encouraging peer-to-peer instruction. The Daily Review Reel, which compiles video responses, can be shared with students, parents, and other teachers via email or social media, enhancing learning beyond the classroom walls.

Recap offers teachers a novel way to facilitate discussion and assess students. The multimedia response format of responses -- and social media-like feed -- add variety to discussion. Though it can be used for things like assessment, Recap feels very informal and conversational -- which is an asset. Teachers can lean into this and shift away from traditional assessment models to having students self-assess through discussion. This is welcoming to students of varying ability levels, and offers a much-needed evolution of quiz-based formative assessment tools that feels current given the rise of video in social media. Of course, some students might be camera shy, and Recap offers ways for students to just respond to the teacher. Ultimately, teachers will want to move students toward sharing freely, because Recap will shine with deep, engaged, and differing participation among students.

Of course, success with Recap hinges on how much effort students put into the recordings and responses. In turn, this depends on quality prompts and preparing students to participate effectively in discussion. In terms of the latter, there aren't built-in rubrics or scaffolding for students, so teachers will want to model what good contributions look like. As far as the problem of quality prompts goes, Recap is trying to tackle this with the Journeys feature, which offers some more depth to questions. This feature, however, feels a bit underdeveloped, but it doesn't take away from the fact that the core functionality of Recap is useful and rewarding.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Casual response is a natural fit for students, and they'll enjoy sharing their experiences with teachers. The appealing design and multiple response options (text, audio, video) will draw students in.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

It can help students of all abilities share their perspective, but teachers will need to be creative with their questions, monitor peer-to-peer comments, and model appropriate and productive discussion.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

There's a growing library of Journeys, useful tutorials, and solid options for moderating/customizing queues. It'd be nice if each question could be answered in any format (text, video, audio) for differentiation.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Anabel G. , School support staff
School support staff
Oaklawn Lang Academy
Charlotte, NC
Check Understanding with Recap
This product has been tremendously beneficial for ELLs in practicing their speaking skills by enabling them to record their thoughts. English learners in my classes will generally ponder and write out their thoughts before recording and submitting their replies. This product can be used with any student population, as it generates deep thought. This is great for soliciting comments, feedback, opinions and for student reflection. My students have thoroughly enjoyed using it and have stated it helps them develop their English speaking skills. I would caution its overuse, but as a unit reflection it was been amazingly helpful for students and it provides invaluable quantitative and qualitative data.
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