Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Less marking, more feedback

My mind was blown at the end of Term 2 during the Primary ICT Showcase. Seeing the range of talent on show within the Primary School was inspiring and something to be celebrated loudly.

We began the showcase with Demo Slams, the opportunity for ordinary teachers to display their extraordinary tech integration to their peers. Ben Henry, Grade 5, Dover was one of the slam recruits and he showed the crowd his awesome use of QuickTime Player to facilitate giving feedback about a piece of writing.

I’ll let Ben set the scene:

The children had been working on their Historical Fiction stories during Writing Workshop and it was the week before their final edit.  For their homework task, each ‘Writing Buddy’ was asked to read their partner’s story and to identify a couple of areas that they were impressed with, along with a suggestion for the final edit. The children had the option of drawing from my marking comments already in the Google Doc, but it was remarkable how accurate the buddies were at making a relevant suggestion that would improve the writing. The children communicated their suggestions for improvements and the elements they were impressed with using QuickTime player in the form of a screen recording. Since the children enjoyed making the screen recordings, and are equally (if not more) concerned with their partner’s comments as they are with mine, I will certainly be using this method in the future.

Here is an example of a student giving feedback to their writing partner.

Grade 5 'Peer 2 Peer' Feedback from UWC South East Asia on Vimeo.

Sean McHugh (DLC on the Dover Campus) has written about RAT and SAMMS in previous posts on this blog. What Ben demonstrated in his use of video feedback is in the transformative area of RAT; ‘technology as transformation’. Being able to give this level of useful feedback moves both the writer and the student giving feedback forward in their understanding of the concepts. The writer has demonstrated that they are able to listen to the lessons given in class about how to write this particular genre and process them to create a comprehensive piece of writing. The student giving feedback has to understand the genre well in order to give feedback to their partner and move their writing on. By allowing the chance for peer to peer feedback the skills being demonstrated and developed by both parties are immense.

The beauty of using technology to facilitate this process is listed in the SAMMS framework. The fact that Google docs can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection (Situational), allows for instant reworking of the piece (Mutability) and provides a space where two students and the teacher can collaborate on one document (Social).

It is also a brilliant example of Dylan Wiliam’s Assessment for Learning strategies.

Wiliam breaks down AfL into 5 key strategies

1. Clarifying learning intentions
2. Eliciting evidence
3. Feedback that moves learning forward
4. Students as learning resources for one another
5. Students as owners of their own learning (ownership - metacognition, motivation, interest, attribution, self-assessment)
(Wiliam & Thompson, 2007)

Ben’s use of feedback thoroughly demonstrated the third and fourth points in Wiliam’s list. The students receive feedback from their teacher and also from a peer to improve their writing. Before I saw this being used I would have guessed that the feedback being given from a writing partner would be a little shaky and inaccurate at best. After seeing this in practice the feedback being given is 90% accurate and very well articulated.

To anyone who would like to do less marking and give more feedback using screen casting come and speak to myself or Ben for more details.