Most teachers give only written notes to students about the work and projects they have turned in. Written feedback is certainly better than no feedback at all. But according to “How to Give Your Students Feedback with Technology,” an article that instructional designers Holly Fiock and Heather Garcia published recently in The Chronicle of Higher Education, giving feedback in video, audio and other formats can be far more effective than giving written comments alone.
“Written feedback is so easy to misconstrue,” Fiock and Garcia note. “Students often read it as harsher than you intend. By providing feedback with your voice, however, your students will be able to listen to your tone and understand that you are being encouraging and are directing their learning.”
The Author’s Advice on Using Technology to Provide Feedback
Here are some of the authors’ pointers on using technology to deliver more effective feedback:
- Mix up your delivery tools – Students respond better when they receive feedback that is presented in a combination of audio, video, graphics and rubrics, and other formats.
- Let students’ peers offer comments and feedback – When students get videoed comments from other students, the feedback comes alive and is more likely to be well received.
- Present feedback in an open forum – Feedback becomes more effective when an entire class of students can review the comments that their peers have received.
- Don’t strive for perfection – The point is to present useful commentary in an accessible format, not to create professional-quality videos.
- Select a limited number of points to cover and keep videos and audios short – “We would recommend that you keep your feedback recordings to under five minutes,” the authors write. “Try to be concise and on topic in your feedback. This is not the time for a lecture.”
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