Blog 6 Must-have Tools for Successful Student Feedback By Chris Durante Technology to Transform Your School We all love the sense of accomplishment that comes when we achieve something we set out to master. Sharing purposeful feedback helps students progress towards an achievable goal and ensures learning occurs, and success is felt. However, for feedback to be effective, there are a number of things that need to be present. For instance, setting intentional, short-term, measurable goals, enables students to know what they are aiming for. They also know what the steps are that they need to take to get there. The way feedback looks is also something that requires attention. Often, written feedback is the expected delivery mode for it to be shared. However, having other modes available can greatly enhance the success of students. Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock.com Schoolbox contains many features that are vital to achieving successful student feedback. This blog explores the 6 must-haves of student feedback. Must have #1 Diagnosing student needs and supporting goal development We all have areas we need to work on. For student success, it is important that teachers capture students’ prior knowledge and understanding of an area before delving into the actual learning. In Schoolbox, this tool takes the form of Quizzes, Surveys and Forms. Within the Course Builder of the Schoolbox Learning Management System (LMS), educators are able to design bespoke pre-tests within their Course Builder and capture a student’s understanding. Work can then be automatically assessed and aligned with the profile of that particular child. There is therefore no need to sit down and grade papers. Teachers are able to work alongside their students and explore prior understanding to develop purposeful and achievable goals. Once that goal is defined and the steps to success are identified, the survey can then be used at a later date to measure growth and celebrate success. Throughout the process of learning, this data remains visible to the student, teacher and their parents. Must have #2 Making all learning visible To understand the whole learner and provide relevant feedback, the entire learning process must be visible. In Schoolbox, the student profile is a foundational tool that contains all evidence of student’s learning—work completed, work due, goals, next steps in learning, ePortfolio, Pastoral Care notes, the list goes on. All of these elements help schools to build a model of continuous assessment and feedback. For the teacher, it provides the capability to search for a student and view all of this information in one place. This way, the sharing of feedback to support academic growth for a student is informed and simple. Instead of a ‘one size fits all’ delivery of feedback, Schoolbox enables catering for the specific learning needs of the individual and helps them grow. Must have #3 Delivering feedback in different ways yayha/Shutterstock.com We’ve all grappled with piles of paper building up on our desk or in our office, needing to be assessed by a certain date. Traditionally, the teacher must use a neutral coloured pen, mark each paper with a positive tone, and provide next steps in learning. You get the picture. Although this approach still has its place, the power of being able to share feedback in different modes is a great way to reach and engage all students. Schoolbox integrates and incorporates tools which allow the teachers to provide short sharp commentary on student learning. This can occur through the use of comments attached to the work, where both educator and student can interact and be notified by the system, or through a tool such as Kami. Kami equips educators with the ability to provide their feedback through audio or even video recording. The feedback in this form is then attached to the student profile and linked to their learning, ensuring the continuous assessment and feedback is occurring. Must have #4 Feedback is a two-way street Educators are trained in the art of feedback delivery. The question then becomes, how good are we at receiving it? Is it a part of our practice or one of the first things that gets lost under the time pressures of a classroom? With student agency and voice being such an important part of deep and animated learning in contemporary settings, encouraging students to provide feedback to their teacher is also critical to attaining successful student feedback. In Schoolbox, you can achieve this through the use of the forum tool within a course or class page. The teacher can initiate the conversation by asking something along the lines of: ‘What are you curious about?’ or, ‘How do you feel our learning in the X area went?’ With this approach, students are empowered to provide their response and become codesigners of their learning journey. You can then take this further by engaging students in a conversation as you build the course in Schoolbox using the Course Builder. The forums also organise and store this information/feedback in a way that is easy to navigate. Must have #5 Connected and informed parent Feedback from the teacher is only one way we can help students to succeed. Engaging parents and carers in the learning conversation is a proven way to help children grow. Schoolbox connects all stakeholders so that learning is visible and communication is clear. Students are able to continue the conversation about their learning at home, as they have the ability to view their progress on Schoolbox. This creates another stream of feedback, focusing on the goals of the child. Adults are able to connect and communicate with their child’s teacher(s) on the digital platform, and ensure they are doing all that they can to advance their child’s learning at home. A strong connection between home and school is a great way to ensure success for each child. Must have #6 Cater for younger learners Successful feedback for our younger students needs something different. To be engaged and continue advancing academically, younger students require feedback that is easy to access and connect with. Schoolbox achieves this with the Learning Moments tool. Within this tool lies the function to capture special moments, set goals, award achievements and much more. From taking photographs or videos to recording a student’s voice commentating on their work, learning is captured and the opportunity to provide feedback is interactive and fun. The feedback can be from a teacher, parent/carer or even a peer. Any feedback given is again captured within the student profile, helping to build a bigger picture of each child and help those who work with them to understand who they are as a learner. Sunny studio/Shutterstock.com In a profession that focuses on growth and progress, feedback is key. Being able to deliver it in an efficient and effective way through a digital LMS that also stores the data goes a long way to achieving success for student feedback. Schoolbox understands the needs and wants of educators when it comes to feedback and, we continue to listen and develop our product so that it caters for the ever-changing learning landscape. Want to chat to an education consultant about feedback tools? Contact us today. Chris Durante is a Territory Manager at Schoolbox and has been a classroom practitioner and eLearning leader in schools for over 30 years. Passionate about delivering quality teaching and learning, Chris is committed to finding innovative EdTech solutions to lead overall school improvement for staff, students, parents and the wider school community.