Writing feedback on learners’ written work is one of the most important, yet time-consuming ‘duties’ of language teachers. Not only should we provide learners with detailed feedback, we are also expected to do so as fast as possible.
How many times have you found yourself spending your ‘free’ time writing feedback on your learners’ essays? How many times have you wished to spend extra time per essay so that your feedback is more detailed and useful for your learners?
I used to face similar problems with the ones mentioned above but technology has helped me overcome them. Here’s how:
When I use my laptop or desktop, I prefer recording feedback using a tool called Screencast-O-Matic. This tool allows teachers to talk learners through their written work pointing to parts of the essay that are strong or that need some revision.
Facebook is one of the most widely used social media (at least in the western world). Either through mobile phones, laptops, tablets, or desktops, teachers can record their voices with comments about learners’ work. This presupposes that learners (and teachers) use Facebook for non-personal reasons, too.
VoiceThread is another great tool with infinite possibilities for teachers. As far as using it to provide feedback is concerned, it allows teachers to upload the learners’ written work as an image and add voice recordings with comments about it. What is more interesting with this tool, though, is that feedback can take the form of Q&A with the learners; so, instead of sending a long commentary to them, teachers can ask questions about specific parts of the text and involve them in the correction process.
Kaizena is a fairly new tool designed specifically for offering teachers (and editors, I guess) another feedback tool. It is a very promising tool, especially if one uses Google Docs. So, what a teacher can do with Kaizena is to add audio comments to a document. Just like we do with any word processor, we select the extract upon which we want to comment and instead of adding a written side comment, we record our voice.
There is a variety of tools designed for the providing feedback and other teaching purposes. The reason I chose to share the ones above is that they are very easy to use and, once accustomed to using them, teachers can use them while on the bus, on their way back home, during breaks, etc. From the learners’ perspective, tech tools make feedback a much more interactive process that stimulates learners of different learning styles.
Feel free to share your experiences with these or any other tools you use with your learners.