Author Archives: Colin Maxwell

Marking at the speed of thought – video feedback.

At E-Assessment Scotland 2012 in Dundee I saw a presentation by Russell Stannard from the University of Warwick where he demonstrated his research on using video feedback with his ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students. Instead of writing comments on his students printed assignments, he created screen recordings with narration, and was able to show and highlight areas for improvement. Russell explained that he had found that video feedback cuts down on marking time, and that students liked it better than other forms of feedback.

Also at the conference was fellow educator, Ian Guest, and he tweeted to me ‘Could you use this in photography?’. Great minds think alike, as it had just crossed my mind that this could work well for giving feedback to photography students.

It took a while to find an opportune moment to try video feedback, but I have a small group of HND photography students that I thought I’d try this with. Opening their fashion photographs in Adobe Photoshop, I used to record what was happening on screen and to narrate my critique of their work. It took me just a few minutes to record each critique (screenr has a 5 minute time limit anyway), which was much quicker than writing the feedback. It was almost ‘marking at the speed of thought’. Screenr saves the video to a website automatically, but I chose to use its ‘Publish to Youtube’ option which allowed for more flexibility in sharing the videos.

After creating the videos I published them on a website so that all of the students could access them. This meant they could access the videos easily, but also see the comments made on each others work. I felt that the students would benefit from seeing the critiques of their classmates’ work.

After giving the feedback in this form I asked the students what they thought. All of them said they liked this form of feedback better than written form, however one suggested that they’d like written comments too (perhaps suggesting a read/write learning style). Several were enthusiastic about receiving video feedback and claimed it was easier to understand what the feedback meant. Some students had difficulty understanding written feedback, and needed it explained verbally by their tutor. The video solved this issue. One student said they kept losing paperwork such as written feedback, so liked the idea of it being online. Several students liked the highlighting in the video that made it very clear what was being explained.

This was a very small scale study, but with promising results. I plan to try it on a wider scale now, perhaps with National Certificate level students, as I think it would be more beneficial with less experienced learners.

Here’s the first photography critique video I made – Photo critique (Youtube)

I’ve included some links for further investigation.

Russell Stannard’s research –

Russell’s work with Brainshark – –


Colin Maxwell


Beyond the classroom, into employment #PedagooReview

Although most of is focussed around school level learning, I’ve followed their work over the past year as I feel it is important to keep up with developments in other parts of the sector. Very often I’ve learned more about teaching and learning from my PS & HS colleagues than from my peers in FE, or even from CPD courses I’ve undertaken.

So, I’m taking part in Pedagoo Review and looking back on successes in my classroom – actually successes out of the classroom too, as learning doesn’t stop at the classroom door, no matter which way you’re walking.

I’ve worked hard over the past few years to get credible work experience for my students and real life projects to give them a better understanding of employment in the creative industries. Work experience is often more important to employers than qualifications as it serves as a differentiator between job candidates. Fortunately there have been a number of successes recently in gaining such experience for students.

Internships & jobs
A few years ago I met a local PS teacher via Twitter and later in person at a Teachmeet at the Scottish Learning Festival. She put me in touch with her husband in an IT company. Subsequently he was looking at taking on some interns, and after a while the two students who went to work for him gained permanent jobs. Just this past month he’s been back in touch looking for more interns & several students are being interviewed this week.

Aladdin special effects videoTheatrics
A year ago we were contacted by the local theatre, the Alhambra in Dunfermline, about working with them on their productions. Although they were initially interested in drama students, after talking with them for a while they realised they could make use of our animation, video and photography skills too.

At the end of 2011 we worked with some of the cast of the Aladdin pantomime and made a special effects laden video of Aladdin escaping the treasure cave and flying through Dunfermline. The 3 minute video was shown at the end of the first half of the show and was a great success with the audience who loved the local references in the sequence.

This gave a handful of students experience of shooting and editing video, working to deadlines and quality standards, and working with professional actors.

Since that project the Alhambra has kindly allowed their venue to be used for a fashion photography shoot and also hosted this year’s student exhibition.

More recently we’ve been working on this year’s pantomime, creating a surprise special effects video for Cinderella.

Visit Dunfermline
This organisation that promotes businesses & events around Dunfermline gave our students a chance to create a mural at East End Park to promote the famous people from the surrounding area. The mural was unveiled in February and copies of the mural are now set to be used in the city chambers and in future promotional activities.

Over the next year students will be working with Visit Dunfermline on their Dunfermline2014 website.

king Robert the BruceKing Robert the Bruce
A website to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn & celebrate Dunfermline’s link with the warrior king.

Students are working on animations & educational materials for the site, aided by Herald Events who do Scottish themed events. Herald Events have since asked for students to work with them on building a website for a Robert Burns event & to create film.

Looking forward
So I think 2012 has been successful in terms of obtaining students’ work experience and showcasing their work to a wider audience. I’m sure it will benefit the students as they move on to employment or further study, and I’m looking forward to future projects with the aforementioned organisations and new ones in 2013.