Saturday, June 2, 2012

Giving Essay Feedback

Six years ago, as a student teacher, I used Audacity to record feedback for students on their portfolios by reading their essays aloud and giving them feedback as I went.  Students each received an audio CD with their feedback.

This was great.  Students were way more engaged in the feedback I gave them, because it was clearer, or it involved technology, or for some other reason I haven't thought of.  Students could also hear someone reading their paper aloud and pick up on my enjoyment of beautifully crafted sentences or my confusion when they forgot to proof read.  No more did students turn to the last page of their essay and look for the grade - they went through their feedback first.

But the method had it's downsides.  It was time consuming, even more so when burning the audio to discs.  Also, once I'd burned one piece of feedback, that CD was toast - I couldn't go back and add more tracks unless it was a CD-RW.  And for the student, they really had to follow along in their paper word for word; as the reader, I had to be very specific in describing what I was talking about in the paper - they only had my voice to guide them.

This year, however, I started using VoiceThread to give feedback on major papers, and as you can see below, it has some specific advantages that neutralize these issues.

VoiceThreads can be private, shared so that only those with a link can view it (for my students), or made public (like this one).

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