Learning is the attribute of students, but it cannot happen without feedback, which is the attribute of teaching. Our students need us to guide them through their learning process and offer them feedback every step of the way. In a face-to-face setting, giving feedback is easy and timely, enabling students to regulate their learning process faster and improve their level of knowledge and retention from an academic standpoint.
However, as a teacher, I found giving feedback online less straightforward and efficient. That's why I’ve been exploring some online tools to help me give my students the feedback they need, when they need it, in a variety of formats that resonate with them.
Read more: How to give feedback to students in the online learning environment
6 Digital tools for giving feedback to students
Students' learning curve is directly linked to the type of feedback they receive. The online feedback can be in written, audio, or video format. As teachers, we should leverage feedback that turns our students from passive receivers of information into active learners, even if it means turning to edtech tools we are unfamiliar with.
Here are six digital tools for giving feedback to students that empowers them and helps them evolve:
Kaizena is a Google Docs add-on that includes voice comments, lessons, and skills. You can highlight and record a voice comment without leaving Google Docs. You can be even more efficient with the Lessons feature by attaching previously saved feedback. What's more, anyone who is a collaborator on Google Docs can provide feedback with Kaizena. Teachers can also track students’ progress using Skills.
Students can now request feedback for specific areas in their text. The teacher receives a notification to return to the file and provide clarifications. Students can answer the feedback via text or voice.
Audacity is an open-source platform that allows you to record and edit your feedback before sharing it with your students. Giving audio feedback is productive for teachers because they can give it faster and students, benefit from authentic, timely, and personalized feedback.
Audio feedback allows you to connect with your students similarly to onsite classes. Students hear your voice and understand the subtleties of your tone. As long as you don't focus only on negative feedback, your interventions will have the desired outcome.
Flipgrid is a wonderful tool for teachers to use when giving feedback. You can add comments to your students’ videos, send private text feedback, record private video feedback and grade their ideas and performance.
Students don't need an account on the platform to receive feedback. You can generate a link to the video feedback and send it to the students in the desired way, either through the class LMS or social media.
While audio feedback offers students a new learning experience, video feedback humanizes it more. Students can hear and see your excitement over their work or receive clarifications for targeted feedback.
Screencastify is a cloud-based screen recording program that facilitates giving feedback. You can create screencasts of your students’ work and record yourself commenting on them, or you can create videos while you check your student's work and provide feedback along the way. You can also use the annotation tools to direct the focus onto specific aspects.
Although using Screencastify is a little bit time-consuming, the workload is manageable compared to the benefits. You can model ways of improvement that students can internalize at their pace by revisiting the videos anytime they need them. Also, video feedback can serve as guided learning in which you provide a pathway to go through and allow students to correct their mistakes taking ownership over their learning process.
With video, you can offer differentiated feedback and clarity. Written feedback can sometimes be misleading, and students don't understand your points of view. But video feedback is clear and centered on specific aspects that are easy to follow and understand. Thus, students can perform the necessary changes to improve their overall work. You can also provide extra resources and explanations in these videos.
Vocaroo is a web-based online voice recorder that doesn’t require a user profile or a login system. You can make your recording and share the link on the platform of your choice. It's easy to use and is more time-efficient than using a red pen on paper.
You can make audio recordings to offer personalized feedback and stay connected to your students. It's not time-consuming since we generally speak faster than we write. Students can save the links to access the feedback again to deepen their understanding.
Talk and Comment
Talk and Comment is a Chrome extension that allows you to make voice notes and comments on any site. You record your voice using the widget from your browser and paste the generated link where you want.
With this feature, you can provide personalized feedback while you read your students' work. It's faster than checking assignments on paper. Also, receiving timely feedback translates into better understanding and increased student engagement.
All in all
Feedback is a teacher's super-power. Learning cannot take place if feedback isn't a part of the process. When students receive timely, personalized feedback, they become aware of their level of knowledge or performance and what they need to improve. Teachers have to be the pillars they can count on in their trial and error journey. Edtech makes the process easier and faster, helping students evolve and reach their goals.