EdTech Connections: What Leverages Feedback Loops?

The feedback loop concept is straight forward: timely, actionable feedback gives  students opportunities to improve.  When done well it can have an effect size of 0.76, according to “Research Says / Good Feedback is Targeted, Specific, Timely” , in Educational Leadership, September 2012.  They site “three keys to using … feedback to improve student achievement “.  It needs to be: focussed on learning objectives, specific in its guidance, and timely.  Teachers exert Herculean efforts trying to make those things happen.  In the digital age there has to be a better way, the question is: “How”?  What tools can teachers easily use to leverage the concept of feedback loops and help improve learning for students?  TSD buildings from elementary to high (see featured image) are strategically addressing this important question.

Focus:  When grading looks like stacks of papers on the dining-room table on a sunny afternoon, it’s easy to lose sight of  learning objectives and the journey to an effective feedback loop feels long.  Conversely, teachers reviewing students’ responses to specific topics in Questions helps keep the focus; it’s a quick trip from the assignment (tied to learning objectives) to student work and back again.

Specific guidance: It’s much easier to provide specific guidance when the prompt is right at the top of the screen, rather than scrawled on a whiteboard back in the classroom.  In the example above, Rachelle easily sees one student’s strong response and compares it to another that could use “specific examples”.  What’s more, students can use peers’ responses as models since they’re visible to all.

Timely: Just-in-time feedback is much easier to provide when student work is available immediately, and teacher comments are received instantaneously.  Questions in Google Classroom transforms the journey of a feedback loop from days or weeks long into mere seconds.

Take a look at some ways one of our elementary teams is leveraging Google Classroom tools to address feedback loops in this TSD Spotlight article.

By Jeannie Sponheim

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