Teach Middle East Magazine Apr - Jun 2020 Issue 3 Volume 7 - Page 18

Sharing Good Practice DIGITISING VERBAL FEEDBACK AND REDUCING WORKLOAD FOR TEACHERS BY: ABDUL CHOHAN does challenge traditional approaches to recording feedback on paper, and creates opportunities to rethink what is possible now, that was simply not possible in the past. Simplicity and reliability are key requirements for any technology to be successfully integrated into the classroom. Teachers simply tap on the voice note button and then tap on where they would like to place the voice note. T he high impact of effective feedback on learning is consistently highlighted in educational research (Hattie, 2009), yet providing pupils with timely, personalised and accurate feedback on a consistent basis is time-consuming. 53% of teachers responding to the Workload Challenge cited the detail and frequency of written marking required by their schools as a burdensome task in a survey carried out by the department for education in the UK, (DfE, 2015), and 68% of teachers say the time they spend marking, impacts negatively on the classroom time with pupils (Ward, 2016). The research evidence for the specific impact of written marking, however, is low (Elliot et al, 2016). I have been working with leadership teams in the UAE for the last 7 years with the key focus of embedding impactful use of technology for learning and developing efficiencies in and out of the classroom. The use of mobile technology now allows us to preserve the benefits of personalised feedback while reducing teacher workload. I have been piloting the use of a tool called ‘Showbie’ with a number of schools in the United 18 Term 3 Apr - Jun 2020 Arab Emirates with varying profiles. Showbie allows teachers to ‘Mark up’ handwritten documents with multiple digitised voice notes, delivered over mobile devices instead of written marking. Students still use pen and paper to write, but when it comes to ‘handing in the book’ this is now done in a digital fashion by taking a photo and submitting it to the teacher. Each student has their own folder on the teacher’s device that the photos save to, so it is very easy for the teacher to navigate through the work. If WIFI ever fails, documents can be sent using the Airdrop facility on iPad. Teachers are then able to respond to the students’ work by leaving multiple voice notes on a document, as well as highlighting individual errors by annotating the photos. Students can respond with voice notes and typed revisions and can upload an improved piece to the same folder using their device. Over the last 8 years mobile technology like the iPad have become ‘simple and reliable’ tools with access to a plethora of educational applications that require very little professional development. However, it Class Time Recognizing that consistency is key to the new approach, the focus for training is not on the logistics of how to use the mobile technologies, but on the key components of effective feedback - that it should be timely, clear, understandable to the student, and should provide strategies to help the student to improve (Hattie, 2009). Reducing Teacher Workload Schools have responded very positively to the new approach, noting that it takes them significantly less time to give high quality verbal feedback over the device than it did to write their feedback by hand. Further impact studies are being carried out with schools in the UAE. The time savings can enable teachers to have a better work-life balance, but it gives them more time to plan inspiring lessons and adapt existing resources in response to the work the students have already produced. Faster feedback A further focus of the design was to do with the impact on improving ‘the quality of the interaction’ between the student and the teacher, which ‘is at the heart of pedagogy’ (Black and William, 1998, p16). Teachers at some schools have spoken about how they are coaching students remotely with this very personalised approach. Giving verbal feedback allows for the use of emotion and emphasis, and