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Screencasting with Loom

by Vincenzo Tabacco and Fabio Galati (European Languages and Cultures)
Fabio Galati
Fabio Galati
Vincenzo Tabacco
Vincenzo Tabacco

Feedback in the language learning process plays an important role, and this aspect has become even more crucial in relation to online teaching. Within the ELC bachelor program we are currently working on making asynchronous feedback to students more efficient, in terms of both student engagement and maximization of learning opportunities. Reflecting on how to optimise time and teaching in this exceptional didactic environment, led us to a useful tool: Loom.

Loom is a free tool that allows teachers to record themselves and cast their screen and audio at the same time. Having understood the possibilities of this tool, we thought that it could serve our purposes; therefore we have started using it within Italian courses to provide feedback to students and information on the course description.

Loom in Italian courses

In this section we will show examples on how Loom has been integrated in the Italian language courses. Loom was used initially within the courses Italian 1a (CEFR level A1) and 3a (CEFR level B1/B2). As mentioned above, the main reason that led us to its implementation lies in the necessity of improving the provided feedback on student assignments. Having discovered the potential of Loom as a tool, we then decided to use it also to record a video with a description of the course.

Loom for feedback

Loom
Loom

In the past, feedback on assignments has been given only in written form, in particular by highlighting nontarget-like forms and by adding implicit or explicit comments about the target form. Furthermore, a short holistic feedback on the assignment was added at the end of the text submitted by students. This approach, however valid, has shown several limitations.

The use of Loom has given us the possibility to improve the quality of delayed feedback in different ways:

  • Students can elaborate the feedback that the teacher has provided both in a written form and with oral input;
  • Students engage with their assignment more actively (from the first draft to the final version), making elaboration of feedback more fruitful than previously;
  • The teacher can optimise the workload by providing needful feedback in a short amount of time, and by being more specific in relation to particular sections of the assignment;
  • Feedback provided orally reflects a more authentic use of the target language;
  • Although feedback is given asynchronously, students have the perception of a more direct and immediate engagement with the teacher (as emerged when evaluating the use of Loom).

Have a look at an example of feedback with Loom provided to a student of Italian 1a.

Loom for course description

Loom
Loom

The first seminar week is usually dedicated to a course description, with a detailed explanation of the learning outcomes and the Nestor environment. In the usual offline setting this was done during the first class, thus taking time that could otherwise have been spent for other activities.

For an example of how Loom has been used to provide the course description of Italian 1a, have a look at this course description with Loom.

In brief

Possible use cases. Next to providing a course description and feedback on writing assignments, Loom offers different useful possibilities for language courses:

  • Feedback can be given by the lecturer also on video assignments (e.g. vlogs);
  • Loom allows to create peer feedback activities;
  • Having the possibility to screencast, Loom can be used to share useful information among colleagues (e.g. tutorials on a specific program or tool);
  • It is possible to record a video of breakout group sessions on BB Collaborate.

Advantages.

  • Loom is available for Mac, Windows, iOS devices and as Chrome extension;
  • Users can record their camera and screen with audio (screencasting);
  • Users can download their video, embed it on their blog, or share it via a URL;
  • Users can record the entire screen, an application window or a Chrome tab;
  • Users receive a notification when a video has been viewed;
  • Teachers and students can apply for the Pro version without any costs.

Disadvantages.

  • The Starter version has a limitation on the number of recordings;
  • The video quality is acceptable, but it could be further improved;
  • Loom offers a few basic editing options like trimming; for other possibilities an external program is needed;
  • The browser extension is available only for Google Chrome;
  • Loom is only available online.

Costs. The Pro version is right available for free, both for teachers and students.

Learning curve. Loom is pretty intuitive and easy to learn. It should require not more than an hour to understand its main functions. The available tutorials should provide enough information to easily implement its use in education.

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Last modified:04 June 2021 12.12 p.m.
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