How to Use Screencasts for Formative Assessments

By Monica Burns 06.02.2015 blog

Formative assessments allow teachers to assess student performance during the middle of a unit. Traditionally, teachers gather this data through weekly quizzes, daily exit slips or taking notes during a class discussion. The data informs decisions about whole class instruction and when to intervene to support individual students.

Access to technology gives teachers more options for collecting formative assessment data. Screencasting tools for tablets and computers let teachers hear each student’s voice and see their work as they explain their thinking.

What is screencasting?

Screencasting apps and web tools record your voice and what happens on the screen of your device at the same time. Annotation tools allow students to import a picture of something, like a piece of text, a Venn Diagram or a primary source document. Once the image is on the screen, they can write all over it, just like they would mark up a page. A blank canvas tool also gives students the option of creating their own image or graphic to discuss in the recording.

How does screencasting provide formative assessment data?

The goal of formative assessments is to support students while there is still time to intervene. If you expect your students to compare and contrast two historical figures, you might ask them to write a paragraph that demonstrates what they have learned. But with a screencast, the students can share their thought process as they fill in a compare and contrast graphic organizer. Students who struggled to articulate their understanding in writing can now record their voice and actions for you to watch and assess.

Here are a handful of screencasting tools to explore:

Students can use these tools in the classroom or at home and share their screencast as a video clip or file. Teachers can view the screencast and determine where each student needs extra support. As you incorporate these tools into your classroom, formative assessments can become more meaningful and engaging for students!

Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.


  1. Taylor

    I love the shows. I think yhe sand free towel will be a big hit.

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