Digital marking & feedback

OneNote + screencastify to engage students with your feedback

Björn Nölte ☕
4 min readOct 23, 2017


Feedback is one of the most effective ways to enable learning for students. Marking is not. But how can you close that gap? One way is to close it with technology — with digital marking and screencasting videos. Many teachers despair when they give back marked assignments. Students are interested in the grade for that assignment and not in comments and feedback. They notice the grade and ignore the rest. How can you bring them to read your comments and use them in the way of formative assessment for further learning?

Give them video feedback. Today it’s easy made, it’s engaging and it can be fun. There are a lot of different ways and tools to do it. I show you my way after experimenting with some gadgets.

Get the work of the students. Capture handwritten work with SnapScan, OfficeLens or else. SnapScan ix500 for example is a fast & reliable way. Scan every student’s work in a single scan.

Load the student’s work to Microsoft OneNote. I read the student’s work a first time and use the textmarker to highlight points, where I will comment when recording. It’s a very personal view, but OneNote in combination with the Surface Pen is my favourite digital writing tool.

It’s comfortable, you have agreat choice of different pens, that are useful for teachers and you have the “freehand in shape” [in German: Freihand in Form] function, that allows you to box and circle parts of texts in an accurate way.

Insert editable stickers in OneNote [desktop only]

For me it “feels” better than the competitors to write with the Surface Pen.

A special gadget is the sticker option in OneNote. You can choose a variety of stickers to insert into your marked student’s sheet visualizing the tendency of your feedback. You can also customize the speach bobbles in the stickers (German: Aufkleber) for your own needs. So it’s one playful option to deliver feedback in a way, that attract student’s attention. Although some of you might think that it’s too playful for serious teaching — the choice is up to you.

Maybe OneNote Central (Twitter: @OneNoteC) or OneNote Online (Twitter: @OneNoteOnline) has more ideas for using OneNote as a feedback tool. Text module would may be a good thing for feedback sentences that are often used — a kind of modular glossary that can be opened on the side.

Record the screen when marking student’s work. That’s the main point in this article. You got your student’s work prepared with your digital highlights an first draft marks when you start the recorder. There are several tools available on the market — from Camtasia to screencast-o-matic, everyone with great functionality. My favourite is the Chrome extension Screencastify.

It’s only available as a Chrome extension and does not work on iPhone nor iPad. It’s easy to use and has every function I need for my student feedback. You can choose between recording one tab, the desktop or via your rear camera. You can also add the front camera, if you want the student to see you speaking. Put it in one of the four corners of the screen. Choose the system audio or the microphone. Fine feature: Audio is optimized automatically. Choose desktop and open OneNote. When the countdown is set and you record your marking, stick to the highlighted points and use your pen to show the students what you are talking about. You will see that you can feedback more information and tell it in a more authentic way for your student. Note that you do not exceed 2–3 minutes. After recording, you can easily crop and edit your video. In Screencastify only with basic options — watch out for other tools for more complex options.

Deliver the video to your student. The video is automatically saved to your drive (eg. Google or others). You pick the link and send it to your student. When using GoogleClassroom, the video is saved to the students folder and the student can easily comment the video — so you may have an ongoing discussion about improvements to the student’s work.

That’s it! Let me know about your experiences or your opinion and thoughts about video feedback.



Björn Nölte ☕

Teaching & Learning in Berlin, Germany — Referent Schulaufsicht der Ev. Schulstiftung in der EKBO | früher: Lehrer, Seminarleiter, Oberstufenkoordinator