There’s no denying that one of our most important functions as teachers is to give students feedback on their work. Feedback that helps them take the next step toward proficiency. Feedback that helps the student identify exactly what they need to do to improve their work. As Susan Brookhart, the feedback guru, notes, “Hundreds of studies of feedback have been published and reviews of these studies routinely conclude that feedback is the most important or nearly the most important variable affecting the amount and quality of student learning.“
Among my favorite things about educational technology is that it can help teachers give more effective feedback. One way to do that is using audio feedback. Audio feedback allows teachers to give robust, direct feedback on student work. Audio feedback can allow us to fully explain what we’re seeing and what students need to do to improve in a way to which students might actually be more receptive–they hear their teacher’s voice, it doesn’t make it look like we’re tearing their paper apart with red, green, or purple ink. And the good news for teachers is that it actually might save us time once we get good at it.
Teachers can currently give feedback in several ways. Among these ways are:
- On a regular Schoology Assignment (not a Google Drive Schoology Assignment), there is a microphone button in the feedback box. Just click and record!
- Use the Kami extension to open a student’s assignment. Click “Comment” left side, then select the microphone for “Voice Comment”. This can be used to add audio feedback in a particular place.
- Use the extension Mote on a Google Doc.
- In Moodle (iLearn), there is a microphone button in each and every feedback box which can be clicked to attach an audio recording.
Tips for Audio Feedback
When giving audio feedback, here are a few things to remember:
- Remember to start (and possibly end) your feedback with positive statements about what the student did right. Some people refer to this as “sandwiching” the constructive feedback between the positives.
- Use the student’s name. This allows the student to recognize that you took the time to speak to them, individually.
- The tone of your voice matters. The tone of your voice should acknowledge that the student is already doing some things right, and that with a little tweaking, they can make their work even more amazing.
- Be specific. Ambiguous feedback does not help students. They need to know, in a direct way, what they need to do to improve their work.
- Speak clearly, and don’t worry about making mistakes. This does not have to be a scripted conversation. Just say what you would say to the student if you were sitting with them.
- <Optional> Use a decent microphone. Believe it or not, audio quality matters and shows professionalism–and you can enhance the student’s experience by helping to make it sound like you’re not on speakerphone with a bad connection.
Already Using Audio Feedback?
We’d love to hear from you if this is something you do regularly. What is going well? And what advice do you have for other teachers who wish to do the same? Feel free to leave a comment or email me at email@example.com