When one hears the term “let’s recap”, one immediately thinks about summarizing or reviewing what was shared or what was said. For the team at Swivl, an educational technology company originating out of California, Recap means far much more. Recap’s mission is to re-introduce meaningful enquiry and productive engagement in the realm of dialogue and discussion. Developed in 2016, the application uses video technology to enhance classroom based and other kinds of discussion, by infusing questioning as a means of encouraging curiosity, deepening dialogue and solving problems. But what really is Recap?
The Exchange of Knowledge
The team at Swivl describes the Recap app as a “question-led chat tool augmented by the power of video”. It is especially useful in the classroom and training contexts, as it provides an opportunity for teachers and students to engage in moderated discussions around questions, and allows respondents to contribute via text, video, audio or a combination of all three. Users can download the app on a mobile device or access it from a computer, and no sign-up is required to answer questions. The beauty about Recap is that with the aid of internet connectivity, a discussion can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. The result is that participants experience deeper levels of interaction through extended dialogue. Unlike popular social media tools, Recap is considered an edchat, with specific focus on dialogue for educational purposes. The software supports users of all ages and levels and is a hit among K-12 students. Teachers love the application as they can use the ‘journey’ feature to collate all the responses (video, text and audio) into one video collage that can be use as resource material. These resources can then be shared on other platforms including Learning Management Systems like Blackboard and Moodle.
The Value of Conversations
To understand the true value of the Recap tool, there needs to be an understanding of the value of the discussion in the teaching-learning process. In a day and age where critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills are established societal needs, the instructor-trainer would do well to leverage the knowledge construction possibilities of dialogue. Well managed discussions engage, empower and equip participants to contribute in meaningful ways to personal and societal challenges. It is for this reason the Recap app, while just over a year old, already has close to one million users. Instructional conversations are also used to monitor and assess learning and are used to redistribute the power relationships in the classroom so that learning is owned and shared by all.
The Recap App can be found at https://letsrecap.com/ , signing up is simple and use of the application is free of cost. Discussions can be started in text or in video formats and responses can either be made public to all the members of the group or restricted to viewing by the moderator only. Students find the video response feature convenient, easy to use and fun. Teachers find the journey feature time-saving and useful, as discussion can be shared across other platforms and embedded in online learning spaces. Students can create their own Recap accounts and engage in their own inquiry based discussions. Access to a group’s discussion is very restricted and requires either a sign-in pin or individual invitation.