Thursday, February 13, 2014

Using Google Docs to provide feedback on students’ writing

Fourth graders in one classroom are writing personal narratives using Google Docs, which they have electronically shared with their classroom teacher and other support teachers with whom they work. Drafting in Docs meets 4th grade ELA benchmarks:
  • With guidance and support from peers and adults, use a writing process to develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, drafting, revising, and editing.
  • With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
More importantly though, it allows teachers to comment on student work through the shared document, which encourages and challenges learners to continually improve their writing. Students read these comments, reply to them, revise and edit their narratives accordingly, without ever having to meet one-on-one with the teacher.

Professor John Hattie researched different influences and measured their effectiveness on student achievement (for a summary of his findings, check out this infographic). He found that providing students with effective feedback has high influence over student achievement. In order for feedback to be effective and useful though, three conditions have to be met: “the learner needs the feedback; the learner receives the feedback and has time to use it; and the learner is willing and is able to use the feedback,” (Sadler in Hattie, p. 153, Visible Learning for Teachers; Maximizing impact on learning, 2012, New York: Routledge).

Here's another powerful example on the effectiveness of critiquing and feedback on student performance: Austin’s Butterfly.

Based on these different stories, ask:
  • How do you use feedback with your students?
  • Do you find it is effective?
  • How could you reexamine your practice on giving students feedback to have a greater impact on their learning?
Share your thoughts and ideas by commenting on this post.

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