How can we provide effective feedback in an online environment? This was a presentation by Joel Speranza, a teacher and expert on flipped learning and leveraging technology. The talk was given on 14th May 2020 (the video of his talk will go up here once it’s released).
Among many impressive things he has created the online maths teaching website https://mathsvideosaustralia.com/ (for Qld, Vic, and WA).
In a face to face classroom, types of feedback we can talk about are:
- Feedback of students to teachers about the teaching (picking up the vibe)
- Feedback to teacher about students’ understanding (from observation, work)
- Feedback from teacher to students about their learning (informal, within the classroom)
- Feedback between students in the classroom (students really get a lot out of this)
When we’re teaching online there are barriers to all four of these kinds of feedback.
The goal is to have strategies for breaking down these walls
(note: all images are from Joel’s slides, copyright is his)
In this online environment we need to approach this as if we were first year teachers again–learning to teach for the first time.
Questions we should be asking ourselves:
- How will I know I’m teaching it well?
- How will I know they understand it?
- How will I give students feedback?
- How will students give feedback to each other?
If we’re going to be doing feedback well then we need to allocate time for it (within lessons) otherwise it doesn’t happen. If feedback is really important (as most teachers think it is) then how much time should we give it? Maybe more time can be given to feedback in class than is given to instruction or to administrative tasks. Each teacher needs to figure this out for themselves.
In an online environment there is scope for instruction to happen outside the classroom (e.g., flipped learning)
How can I get feedback on my teaching?
- Ask for it in the moment, explicitly (How well have I explained that? Am I moving too slow? Do I need to step back a bit?). Can be hard with lots of students.
- Ask for it later: Something like a feedback form at the end of the week. But you need to ask questions that you want an answer to, and questions that you can act on. Examples: Do you need more work? (Getting the level of work right) What did you enjoy? (Engagement) How are you going? (Wellbeing)
Feedback to teacher on students’ learning
- Make sure you focus on evidence of learning rather than evidence of work (evidence of work is super hard online)
- Student self-assessment rubric is a really good way to do this (e.g., a digital rubric). Research on this suggests that students are almost unfailingly honest.
- There are tools that might work for you: Kahoot, Quizizz, Microsoft Forms, Google Forms, EducationPerfect, Auto-marking quizzes
Feedback from teacher to student
- There is a tradeoff between feedback to students being specific and it being timely. This is a hard thing to navigate
- When you’re F2F it’s really easy to give timely feedback (e.g., when walking past a student). This is much harder online.
- In an online environment it’s nearly impossible to be timely, so focus on feedback being specific. “How can I be more specific with my feedback” is a good thing to ask.
- Automated feedback can be really helpful (and specific) here. For example, Kahoot can be set up so that every answer to a question has meaningful feedback.
- Giving individual written feedback is golden. It takes time to give written feedback, but can be great.
- Another option is to use video feedback to students. There is some great research starting to show that giving video feedback to students is even more effective–“thinking aloud” while doing the marking. (Students seem to get super excited about this). It takes a lot of time, but many teachers say that it’s faster than giving written feedback (unscripted, ~8 mins of video feedback, is faster than writing feedback for many). Also, students really, really love it
Student feedback from their peers
- Finding ways that this can happen formally (e.g., peer assessment)
- Finding ways that this can happen informally (e.g., through collaboration, shared whiteboard, etc.)
- Try to think of clever ways to let this happen
Disclaimer: I’m not a teacher, these are simply my notes from trying to learn from Joel’s wisdom
Questions and Answers with Joel:
What program do you use for video feedback?
How do you give feedback to younger learners?
Video in younger grades works really well
Where’s the best place to store videos of online lessons?
edTube is the EQ version for this on the learning place.
If you’re allowed to then “unlisted” YouTube videos work, but many schools can’t do this
If you’re a Google school then Google Drive works well
There are many ways to have your videos hosted online (but don’t email them or paste them into OneNote as it may make networks crash), things like Class Dojo. Maybe talk to techsavvy people in your school?
Do you find yourself limited by privacy laws in providing feedback?
Not really… there are no images of students in this targeted video feedback, so it’s usually fine.