Student Content Creators – Playback

Student Content Creators
Student Content Creators

One of my goals this year is for students to take more ownership of their learning.  To do this, this year I’ve been focusing on student digital content creation.  I believe that students at any age can show their learning in a variety of ways.  How that learning is measured and the accountability involved can be contentious, as states and districts measure student learning through standardized assessment programs.

I believe my math students need to be able to demonstrate their learning through a variety of modalities.  One way in which my students are showcasing their learning this year is through digital projects.  In the past students have created Educreations and HaikuDeck projects. These projects gave my students opportunities to use a tool that they weren’t familiar with, understand the digital content creation process, express themselves, highlight the learning that’s happening in class through a presentation, and reflect on the learning process.  Most students would prefer to use a technology tool to demonstrate their learning, as opposed to a standardized test/worksheet.

While searching for additional free student content creation apps I came across a lesser known app called Playback.  The developer is actually located in Christchurch, New Zealand.  My students took a quick field trip via GoogleMaps to find out where Christchurch was located.  I took a few screenshots of the app and they are below.

Playback App

 Playback is a free app that allows students/teachers to create a screencast with a video of themselves demonstrating some type of lesson.  Students can use a stylus and draw on the screen by hand or text, as a streaming video can be recorded at the same time.


There are a few limitations thought.  The app can record presentations up to one minute in length (for the free version).  The 60 second limit might make a few teachers cringe as it’s not a ton of time to teach a lesson.  I didn’t mind too much as it helped the students become more concise while explaining their math procedures and calculations.  The videos can then be exported to many different apps.  I tend to have my students export their video to Showbie.

Exporting the movie

I believe this app could be used for many different purposes.  Students in my class were asked to teach a lesson related to a specific content goal.  Students were given the opportunity to choose one objective and teach it in any way they found necessary using a rubric.  The rubric is still a work in progress as I’m fine-tuning some of the criteria.  I was impressed with their ability and creativity during the content creation process.  The class reviewed all the presentation last week in preparation for the upcoming test.  One of my younger students told me that everyone is an “expert” at some concept in the unit.  How true.   I develop a larger smile when I hear comments like that.


Student content creators is a blog post series.  Click on the links that follow to find additional posts related to how EducreationsInstacollageHaiku Deck, Playback and Prezi can be used in the classroom.

Author: Matt Coaty

I've taught elementary students for the past 14 years. I enjoy reading educational research and learning from my PLN. Words on this blog are my own.

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