Developing the use of new technologies to support teacher feedback and peer assessment

Last week I was invited to speak at CfBT’s Schools Working Together Conference. Here is the gist of what I shared…

Teacher Feedback
Effective feedback is vital if children are to make progress. For many years, teachers have given feedback in books through written comments. Whilst this has its’ place, I question how effective written feedback is, especially for younger children and those with low levels of reading ability. For this reason, I often provide verbal feedback and find this to be most effective. However, this raises two issues. Firstly, verbal feedback requires the teacher to provide this, to the individual child, during lesson time. How feasible is this considering many of us have 30 children in our class at any one time? Secondly, if feedback is given verbally, where is the ‘trail’ of feedback in a child’s book (learning journey) for the child and others (parents, SLT, OFSTED etc) to see?

To solve both issues, I have started to use SoundCloud and QR Codes. SoundCloud is an iPad app and cloud storage that enables me to record my verbal feedback (without the child being present) and store it as an audio file ‘in the cloud’. I then, using RedLaser, generate a QR code linked to the audio file’s URL in SoundCloud. I print it, stick it in the child’s book and then they scan it using a mobile device to listen to my feedback.

Peer Assessment
After the success of using SoundCloud and QR codes to provide effective teacher feedback, I then considered the possibilities of using this for peer assessment. Peer assessment raises the same issues as teacher feedback but also generates the issue of the ‘peer assessors’ ability to write or communicate their feedback effectively through written word. Children in my class, of all abilities, now provide peer assessment through the use of SoundCloud and QR codes. This has also proven to be most effective.

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