Prompting Reflection with the help of Technology

The Problem

Reflection on a class presentation can be difficult as students can be overcome with nerves and anxiety, thus the memory of the presentation afterwards can be distorted. In addition, attending simultaneously to performance and reflection can impose a high congnitve load.

The Context

Technology (in the form of audio or video recordings) can be used to capture the experience which students can subsequently play back (many times) to prompt reflection. In a classroom-based unit of study, a frequent way of making a connection to students’ future professional work is to ask them to role play (i.e. rehearse some work-related aspect of their future profession) with some peers as co-players and some as audience. Students reflecting on (a) their own performance and (b) their peers’ feedback on the performance, will be better prepared to deal with situations that they might encounter in the workplace.

The Pattern

  1. Set up the scenario in which students will role play (see ASRI pattern).
  2. Familiarise students with the purposes of reflective thinking and the language involved in reflective writing. The 4Rs levels of reflection model are discussed with the students and/or the criteria for marking the reflective writing could be discussed. Models of reflective writing are analysed in terms of the 4Rs framework.
  3. Work out the technical aspects of recording the presentations and making them available to students promptly. As well, students need to be taught how to provide effective peer feedback.
  4. Over several weeks, small groups of students present their work (in the case of Education students this may be learning sequences).
  5. Immediately after the presentations, students de-brief with the tutor. This conversation can be audio-recorded using the ‘Smart Pen’. This feedback as well the peer feedback then becomes additional material for prompting reflection.
  6. Digital files are forwarded (emailed, uploaded to a USB or shared site) to the students within 24 hours of recording. Students’ written reflections on their involvement in the role-play are submitted for marking within 4 days of completing the session.

Related Patterns

Analysing a Scenario Response – Intermediate (ASRI)
Performer as Reflective Practitioner (PRP)
Second Order Reflections (SOR)



Unit outline (EDP415: Engaging Diverse Learners)
Assignment outline
Marking criteria
The 4Rs Reflective writing scale
Writing self-reflections slide presentation
Reflective writing exemplar


Ross, L. (2011) Classroom ideas for webcams [Image]. Retrieved 11 July, 2011 from


This pattern has been used in EDP415 Engaging Diverse Learners, where students prepare a 30 minute micro-teaching lesson to be delivered to their peers and then submit a written self-reflection of their presentation. In 2010 & 2011, Donna Tangen and Lenore Adie used flip cameras to video record students’ micro-teaching. In 2011, Donna, Lenore and Jennie Duke used digital pen technology to annotate the audio recording of the feedback.