I am sure we all can remember at one point in school putting forth huge time and effort into writing a paper or report only to receive back a grade and a quick comment of “nice job!” While you were happy to earn that good grade, the only feedback you got from your teacher was a brief, empty comment. When you think about it, what did you learn from the paper-writing process? You wrote, the teacher read, and in the end you received a pat on the back and a “nice job”. Wouldn’t it have been a better, richer experience if you received feedback during the whole process of writing, making the process an ongoing learning experience?
Jane Pollock in her book, Feedback: The Hinge That Joins Teaching and Learning, discusses the small changes teachers can make that lead to meaningful and substantial student learning. The book gives many examples of how to improve student learning and provide robust feedback using Google Docs. Let’s look at four levels of better feedback with Google Docs.
Level 1 - Suggesting Mode in Google Docs:
Suggesting Mode allows a teacher to make ‘suggestions’ to a student’s work and not change the document. Students can then weigh the feedback given to them and make the changes they see fit themselves. Suggesting Mode is also a great tool for peer-to-peer feedback.
Level 2 - Add Comments in Google Docs:
When Adding Comments in a Google Doc, a teacher can give virtual feedback, similar to how you might provide verbal feedback in a face-to-face classroom. A teacher will highlight a portion of text in the document, then write comments correlating directly to that highlighted section. Typical comments might be, “What makes you think that?” or “Please give some supporting examples.”
Level 3 - Students Must Reply to Feedback:
Just making changes should not be the end goal. Remember we are looking for meaningful feedback and learning. When a teacher makes comments or suggestions, students should reply to that feedback, analyze the changes they have made, and reflect on what they have learned from the feedback and revision process. Making learning a circle, rather than a straight line, will provide a richer experience for all.
Level 4 - Verbal Feedback (in a virtual world):
Everyone has experienced that email or text message that was meant one way, yet interpreted another. There are times when typing a response, suggestion, or comment just does not convey the full thought or feedback that is needed. So how do we leave vocal feedback when we're not face to face? Using Google Doc add-on Kaizena, a teacher can record verbal feedback on student work. This add-on allows a portion of test to be highlighted, then the instructor can leave a written or verbal comment. Kaizena also allows the student to upload voice comments into the document, thus creating a virtual conversation between teacher and student.
Want to learn more about Google Docs and how to use this tool in your teaching or personal life? Take our free Google Docs and Dive course. CLICK HERE to start!