Joy and knowledge

Video and Verbal Feedback

This year has seen some real success for me, one could even call it a breakthrough. My most popular post, fabulous feedback, was popular for a reason; it’s a great idea… If I do say so myself!

My students now know what good feedback looks like and are applying a range of strategies to make their peer feedback effective. This means it is no longer the time wasting activity it was before.

I have also been inspired by the use of technology to further engage students with learning. I’ve never got the hang of my interactive whiteboard but I love playing around with just about everything else.

This year, the use of technology has spilled over into my feedback and there’s no turning back now. I find it is making marking much more enjoyable for me, much less time consuming and far more effective for the students.

So, let’s explore each of these three in turn:

It’s more enjoyable because I’m happier surrounded by technology. This is the case in most situations… except when reading books; I simply can’t get the hang of my Kindle. As a result of the technology being engaging, I am far less likely to procrastinate when it comes to marking!

It’s even more enjoyable because I no longer have the guilt of not having time to explain students’ feedback in detail, in person, every time.

It’s less time consuming because I don’t have to carefully craft a written comment so that it makes sense to the student.

It’s even less time consuming because I don’t have to stress about whether my handwriting is legible, and it never has been, ever. No, really, my handwriting is really bad.

You might ask how I know it’s more effective for the students because, ultimately, this is the most important aspect.
They have been able to write detailed targets based on what they’ve understood from my feedback and this isn’t a pointless exercise of them re-writing the improvements I’ve already written in front of them.

They are engaged with my feedback because they have a visual element and my voice to focus on.

Student voice is increasingly important in the assessment of teaching and learning and this is what they’ve said so far:

‘I really like this method of feedback Hannah, listening to your voice on video is like being in class having you look at my work – I actually prefer it to written feedback because I was able to sit by myself at home and take on board what you had to say, and I have a better chance of remembering what you have said as I can replay the video too 🙂 can we carry this on all the way throughout the year? It’s is good idea!’

‘Really good.’ /’More detailed.’/ ‘Friendly and helpful. More personal.’/ ‘Enlightening.’ /’Feels more personal and useful.’/ ‘Helpful as more info is given.’ /’Beneficial for pursuing improvement.’

“just watched the video feedback and i have to say i find this way of giving feed back very good (love it!!)”

“I really liked video feedback and would like to do it more.”

I haven’t just selected the good comments- this is ALL of the feedback I have received so far; no fabrication in sight!

So, how did I do it? There are a number of methods I’m currently using and I will take you through each in turn.

Ultimately, some things you will need to understand about my methods are that I didn’t script or plan the feedback. I wanted to incorporate my natural, immediate reactions to students’ work in verbal form. This means that there were pauses whilst I read, a great deal of ‘erm’s and a whole load of repairs but then it doubles as a great analysis opportunity of spoken language features!

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For this method, I would take a document a student had emailed me or I would take a picture of their work. I would go through the steps of using the software and would then talk through their feedback. The drawbacks of this method would be lack of annotations whilst recording, unless I did that using Google Docs.

This is a set of videos that may help you if you’re new to this site.

My iPad video function

For this, I sat in a quiet room with a stack of books and a green pen. I filmed me talking through the feedback and made minimal marks on the page as I progressed through my reading. The biggest drawback with this was an aching arm- my iPad is always heavier than I think it is! I guess that a stand could easily solve the issue and I intend to investigate this further. I will also ensure that my quiet room is in fact a quiet room in the future; I was disturbed on several occasions!

This flyer from @james_kieft helps with the basics of using the iPad for filming.

My Doceri iPad app

For this, I took pictures of all students’ work before leaving College; this meant a much lighter load to lug home! I transported the images into the app and I could annotate as I went through.

I think Doceri is an intuitive app and found it better than ‘explain everything’ or the other well-known ones for the same purpose.

Here’s an example of one paragraph of writing I looked at to share samples of students’ work with the rest of the class.

Voice comments on Google Docs

These two videos will help to explain how Google can be used for verbal and written feedback on work. This doesn’t have the visual element but still captures the ease of speaking to the students about their work that the students are finding beneficial.

Written comments on work:

Voice comments on work:

Improvements still to make:
Following the lead of one of my students, I will now ask students to annotate their essay according to my feedback as they follow it through. This way they have both the video version of their essay, as well as full written feedback. I can then check whether they’ve taken all that they should have from my feedback. This was a genius idea and I am constantly surprised by the brilliance of my students to hold all the answers!

Make the time for closing the gap, every single time. I know such great feedback will be useless if they are unable to make use of it immediately in correcting errors.

Avoid explaining each aspect too much; just as in written feedback, I need to give them questions to think about and answers to explore for themselves rather than to be fed them. With a one way conversation, it can be surprisingly easy to slip into the trap of giving everything to them on a plate!

Order a ‘video feedback given’ stamp so that I don’t have to keep writing it on every essay. Seems I have too soon got used to no longer writing anything at all and have become really, really lazy.

My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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