Who says feedback can’t be Motivating, Involving & Xciting ???!!!

Who says feedback can’t be Motivating, Involving & Xciting ???!!!

Revisiting feedback with the aid of technology  from a personalized learning perspective.

Does the word feedback conjure spine-chilling images of scraps of paper with red smudges, stereotypical comments and a much awaited mark? And then a feeling of bitterness on both sides?

On the students’ side, the feeling that it is only mistakes that are highlighted and there’s rarely a word of encouragement or recognition of their hard work.

On the teacher’s part, the feeling that endless hours of work are not spared more than a quick glance at the grade and practically nobody paying attention to the corrections. All the hard work going down the drain…

With few exceptions this has been the picture so far. Yet technology can change the game and motivate and involve learners through personal or group feedback. Below you can read 3 ways that you can change the feedback you give to your students. My students loved them and it is very easy to use

  • .      Use video and voice recording to give feedback.
  • .      Instead of spoon feeding your students, challenge them with a poll.
  • .     Create content with your students and then ask them to give you feedback on their product.

The tool I used is called  Office Mix. It is an add-on  Add-on software that allows you to record what you have on your screen, record voice or video and draw or underline. This process is called “screen casting” and there are quite a few tools available on the market. Yet, what I found convenient with Mix is that once  downloaded,  it is automatically added to the top menu bar of your powerpoint and it is easy to use.

1. Most students find personalized feedback in front of the class embarrassing and they would like to have it in a more discreet way. Because breaks are never long enough to do it I tried emailing them the feedback they need using Office Mix.  You can see a video below (View from 15th second).

Use the video or voice recording functions to give personalized feedback to your learners. Click  Mix on slide recording on the top left corner,

 record your feedback – you may use the pens on the left to underline or circle areas and then click preview to check if you’re satisfied with your recording. Then convert it into an mp4 video (see top bar) and send it to your student. They will surely appreciate the fact that you pay attention to their work and you provide personalized feedback.

2.  Few students like to be lectured upon their mistake but when they are given a second chance to correct their mistake then it is seen as a challenge they are willing to take up.

I often ask my students to share their work in digital form (either email it or share it on the school’s Learning Management System).
If you have their homework or project in digital form, insert it in a powerpoint slide and then click on the top bar of Mix on Quizzes, Video Apps.

Choose the type of quiz or poll you want to give them. My favourite is the multiple choice one. They can choose the reason why their answer is wrong or even better ask them to choose the correct answer and write why they chose the specific one.

They are far more likely to respond to that kind of feedback rather than reading detailed comments on their notebook.

3. Helena is a new student and can be described as a very weak in terms of cognitive skills. Yet, she is eager to learn and seems to be learning through doing things rather than being lectured. When she sang a song from the student’s book that practices a function – “I’d like some ice cream, how about you? Me too” – she did well but when it came to a freer practice, she could not perceive the pronunciation mistakes.

I created 4 powerpoint slides ( you can see them in the form of the embedded video below) and we recorded her voice using Office Mix. She insisted on listening to her recording (click on preview recording) and asked to delete it and try again. She was recorded several times until she felt satisfied with the outcome. I promised her that I would turn the powerpoint presentation into  video so that she can show her mother and grandmother – her role models – her creation.

At the end of the lesson, Helena was happy feeling creative instead of the usual frustration learners suffer when given feedback.

A few closing thoughts
Mixing in new tools with old techniques and approaches can be fun and fruitful in terms of motivation, involvement and assessment. Technology can pave brand new ways to serve pedagogy. It is up to the educators to explore their potential and integrate them seamlessly into our lesson to serve best our students’ learning goals.

Dimitris Primalis