Checking For Understanding

This year, Zaption has become my go-to tool as I check for understanding in my World History classes. I have learned (the hard way) that waiting for the end of unit DBQ to really “listen” to what students have learned in your class is setting yourself up for failure. After students have taken the test and written the essay, they have no motivation to go back and review the material no matter how wrong they were. So this year, I have embedded questions in my video lectures and shortened my writing assignments so that I can quickly assess student understanding and promptly correct any misunderstandings.

Exhibit A

Too Late

When this gem appeared on my Edmodo discussion board, It was too late for me to help this student. They had not listened to any of my lectures and they had misunderstood what they read in the book. Their fundamental lack of WWII knowledge was at once horrifying and hilarious.

Zaption tours allow a teacher to ask students multiple-choice, true-false, open-ended, and/or discussion board-style questions during a video lecture. The answers to these questions provide teachers with insight as to student critical thinking skills and the level of effort they are putting into their study. In one video lecture, I explain that “Genocide” and “Holocaust” are not the same thing. “Holocaust” is a word of Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.” Genocide was an element of the Holocaust, but the Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazis. Thirty seconds later, I ask the students to explain these differences in an open-ended question.

This student understands.

Holocaust is a word of Grecian origin, meaning “Sacrifice by Fire”. Genocide is the deliberate attempt to wipe out an entire ethnic, nationality, or religious group.

This student does not understand.

The difference between holocaust and genocide is holocaust is a word of the greek origin meaning sacrifice by fire and genocide is an element of the holocaust but yet the holocaust involved much more than  genocide.

This student’s careless use of the term “democratic movement” makes me red flag him for a private conversation during class the next day.

A genocide is only a small part of the holocaust while the holocaust itself is a democratic movement by a racist opinion that the german’s are a superior race and that the jews are a weak and useless race.

Zaption also provides a host of other analytics that are useful for determining who watched the videos, how long did they watch them, and how many questions did they get right. Right now the open-ended questions are my favorite.

Useful Dashboards

Tour Analytics

Analytics 2

Looking at Individual Student Performance


What have you learned from the data in your Zaption analytics? Please share your experiences and ideas in the comments section.

3 thoughts on “Checking For Understanding”

  1. Great post! I am wondering if you use the free version or the paid version? Also, have you compared it to edpuzzle and education? Finally, could you accomplish the same results embedding a video in a google form? Thanks for your thoughts. I enjoy reading your posts.


    1. Hi Rob, I am using the paid version of Zaption. I think it is $89 per year. I have not used EduCannon or EdPuzzle. Zaption has partnered with Canvas. I use Canvas for my online classes and love that Zaption will automatically grade the questions in the videos and sync into the Canvas gradebook. I understand that FREE is an important word for teachers and would probably test the others if I weren’t already happy with Zaption. Cheers, Scott


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