I'd say there are several criteria that are essential - being able to use it with a wide range of student ages and abilities, being able to embed it across the curriculum, ease of use, the ability to redefine a task, empowering student voice. Nice if it's free too.
Recap, from Swivl, is all of these things and won me over almost instantly. I've already blocked its use into my lessons next week, arranged for our BYOD kids to get it and set up inset sessions with some of our staff to get them up and running as soon as possible (our MFL staff are going to LOVE this.)
So what is it? Recap is a tool for assigning and collecting video responses from students. The educator signs up via the online portal then creates their class(es) by adding student names. Assignments can then be created for the students, including multiple questions for which you can allocate the maximum length of recording time for responses. These can be set as text or even recorded as a video. The assignment deadline can be set and a simple self-assessment selector (thumbs up/middle/down) can be tagged on too. The assignments can be set to whole classes or groups of students and they can access via a class sign in code or email addresses.
When the student logs in to the free iOS app, they are presented with their assignments and notified if they have new or outstanding tasks (including the deadline.) The interface is clean and uncluttered with new assignments clearly outlined at the top and previous assignments logged below. The login is persistent too, so if they have their own device, they don't have to repeat the process.
The recording process for the student is similarly simple and well presented with each question from the assignment presented on screen and a countdown timer precedes the actual recording. They are also given the opportunity to review their recording before submitting which is a definite plus.
The responses are collated for the teacher on the online portal and can be reviewed individually or as a stream. The presentation here also includes a handy graphic representation of how well the class understood the assignment:
I absolutely love it when I come across an app like Recap. It's an app that has so much potential in the classroom that your mind starts whirring up ideas within five minutes of interacting with it. AFL at the start of lessons, exit tickets at the end, engaging homework tasks - the potential uses for it across the curriculum are vast and I'm sure that as this fledgling platform develops, even more features will be added to expand this potential further.
Without a doubt, Recap is my top new app recommendation of 2016 so far and an essential download.