Day 14 — What is feedback for learning and how well do you give it to students?

Ironically enough, almost three years later — I’m back, blogging again and continuing the same blogging challenge. I considered starting over — back at Day One — to see how I’ve changed & grown, but I think continuing on first and looping back to the beginning once completed will add for greater reflection.

I decided I wanted to start blogging again while sitting in my Summer School class. I am teaching “Keyboarding & Computer Games,” while it is a fun, exciting class to teach. Students typing silently for 30 minutes a class period leads to a lot of Twitter searching, web browsing and Pinterest scrolling. I figured why not use my time a little more beneficially. I also decided to get my students setup on blogging. What a better way to practice their keyboarding skills in a real life application?

But….I digress…back to the actual topic of this blog post — feedback.

I love that the question is about feedback FOR learning and not feedback OF learning. I guess this means I’ve been to enough conferences on assessments and grading to know there is a difference between the prepositions. Feedback is FOR learning — it is to help students understand where they are struggling and giving them suggestions for improvement. Feedback is important because no one is perfect, ever — let alone the first time they are learning something. Feedback should be given often so students understand it is not a negative thing but a tool. Growing up feedback came in the form of a red pen and only seen on a final copy or an ending test of a unit. At that point, it’s too late — the grade was over; learning was essentially “done.” Thankfully educators now realize that is not best practice — feedback should be timely, specific and throughout the entire learning process.

As an educator myself, I always feel like there is room for improvement in most elements of education. Feedback is one I can always do better on. I am grateful for things such as Google Form add ons like Flubaroo so students can get feedback immediately once they submit their assignment. I also love using Google comments on Docs to give feedback to things they turn in and comments on Google Classrooms. It is crucial to teach your students to go back and check those places for feedback though otherwise your time is lost. I love using FlipGrid for students to share their responses, ideas and questions. It allows me to listen and give feedback quickly. Again, time is money, especially as a teacher. Kahoot & Quizalize are awesome for quick checks to see the overall understanding of the class — I am able to give feedback based on their questions answered correctly & incorrectly. Lastly, I like using Today’s Meet for in class discussions from time to time. This gives me a typed transcript of the conversation and allows me to give feedback effectively to each student without needing to actively take notes throughout the conversation.

I also am a big fan of conferring to give feedback — one on one conferences or small group conferences with students to discuss their work. Feedback doesn’t always have to come from me. Some of the best feedback given is when a student suggests something to their peer as a tool for improvement.

I am grateful for all the tech available today to help make giving feedback easier. But I know, I can always do more to give better feedback to each of my students.