Mohamed El-Ashiry takes a look at four online tools that have helped him deliver high-quality feedback to his students.
Upon introducing tablets into my classroom, the biggest gains I have received have been in assessment and feedback. In my experience, ICT tools facilitate the process of giving timely, relevant and effective feedback to my students. Brown & Bull (1997) argued that feedback is:
… most effective when it is timely, perceived as relevant, meaningful and encouraging, and offers suggestions for improvement that are within a student’s grasp.”
Black & William (1999) wrote that:
… improving learning through assessment depends on five, deceptively simple, key factors:
- the provision of effective feedback to pupils;
- the active involvement of pupils in their own learning;
- adjusting teaching to take account of the results of assessment;
- a recognition of the profound influence assessment has on the motivation and self-esteem of pupils, both of which are crucial influences on learning;
- the need for pupils to be able to assess themselves and understand how to improve.”
I use a variety of ICT tools in my classroom, all of which the students can access from their tablets or mobile devices. I will introduce the four main tools I use and explain ways in which they have facilitated assessment and, more importantly, giving feedback in my classroom.
Socrative is an immediate student-response system, where students access the teacher’s ‘room’ using the ‘room number’ and the teacher can push out multiple choice questions, true/false questions, or short-answer questions. The teacher can also assign full quizzes and exit tickets. I have found that when using Socrative, projecting my screen to the students makes it even more beneficial, as they can see the statistics and class responses that are shown on my screen. For example, when asking a short answer question, students can see all responses being submitted, which I then use as a basis for an evaluation exercise: students look at all submitted responses and vote on the best ones, whilst giving reasons why.
This is a very useful literacy-building exercise and I use it to show model answers and what makes a well-structured written response. This process enables me to give immediate feedback to the students, and actively involves them in the process.
My favorite feature of Socrative is definitely the ‘Exit Tickets’ though, as that gives me an immediate pulse-check of the class’s learning, which I can then immediately use to adjust my teaching for the next lesson.
2. Edmodo’s ‘Quiz’ feature
Edmodo is a class learning management system (LMS) that is designed for schools but still looks a lot like Facebook (which engages students more due to its familiarity). I have often created quizzes and polls on Edmodo. When using the ‘Quiz’ feature with my students, Edmodo allows you to show them the answer key once they have submitted their responses. Students also immediately get their score on the quiz. This automatically gives the students timely and relevant feedback, as the assessment has only just been concluded and is still fresh in their minds. I also project the statistics Edmodo compiles for me in front of the class, and we discuss those statistics to highlight strengths and areas for improvement.
3. Google forms (& Flubaroo)
I wrote before about how I use Google Forms in my classroom. I often use the “Flubaroo” script whenever I create a quiz or test using Google Forms. Flubaroo automatically grades the quiz once the students submit their responses, and can also email them their score, a copy of their responses, and the answer key. I then project the spreadsheet of the student responses in front of the class and we discuss the most well-constructed answers. This is another example of how an ICT tool such as Google Forms has enabled me to deliver timely and immediate feedback on my students’ assessments.
4. Evernote shared notebooks
I published a blog post before about how I use Evernote in my classroom. As I have a ‘Premium’ account with Evernote, I can create notebooks for my students that we can all edit and contribute to, even if the students only have a ‘Free’ account. I have benefited immensely from this feature, as I created a set of notebooks for my history class where the students would do all their work. I would then be able to add voice notes with my verbal feedback or even annotated rubrics/checklists for the assessments.
I have noticed that most of the talk about eLearning and tablets in classrooms revolves around engaging students more with learning and encouraging them to create multiple things. While these are very valid benefits of introducing ICT tools into the classroom, I personally believe the biggest benefit can come from how these ICT tools can facilitate the process of assessing student learning as well as delivering timely and meaningful feedback to the students on their learning.
Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1999). Assessment for Learning: Beyond the Black Box, Assessment Reform Group, University of Cambridge, School of Education
Brown, G., Bull, J., & Pendlebury, M. (1997). Assessing student learning in higher education. London: Routledge.