Anita and Ian are Senior Lecturers in Initial Teacher Education at York St John University in York, England. Daniel Mackley is a Technology Enhanced Learning Adviser working in the Learning and Teaching Development Department, also at York St John University.
The tutors had established that dialogue as part of the assessment process improved engagement and critical evaluation but felt that the element of peer engagement in the review and feedback process could be strengthened. Vu and Dall’Alba highlighted the need for research to that ‘strikes a balance between enhancing the benefits of peer assessment for student learning, while reducing the tension experienced by students’ (2007, p.552); this project aimed to do that.
The collaborative, dialogic nature of the investigation produced a wide range of opportunities for feedback and comments from both students and tutors. The limitations of this approach were that comments might be fleeting and highly contextualised. However, analysis and grouping of the types of comments facilitated the production of a more structured questionnaire that was administered to the whole cohort towards the end of the investigation. Image annotations using Notability and the eClicker voting reports were considered and observation and discussion notes were collated and coded to help build a picture of the students’ engagement with the feedback process.
One of the classroom displays produced by the students.
Dropbox was set up in advance of each session by Daniel to default to the group’s folder. This made uploading quick and efficient although we did need to check that the students had saved the files correctly.
An example of one of the Notability files produced by the students. Sections of the display have been captured, text boxes inserted for comments and arrows used to emphasise the specific aspect being referred to.
Uploaded files in Dropbox. Uploads were renamed in order to provide anonymous feedback. The link to the group’s folder was sent by email to each member of the group so that they could access their feedback in advance of the tutor mediated session whenever it was convenient for them to do so. There was some concern that the sheer number of files might be daunting for the students but they really liked reading all the feedback!
Peer feedback took the form of voting against 7 questions relating to the quality of the assembly or lesson. The slide shows the outcome in eClicker. The students felt that whilst eClicker was easy and clear to interpret the results they preferred being able to add feedback comments so an alternative application was sourced and we moved to Socrative as a preferred option. Socrative, however, does not provide the instant analysis the eClicker has but the advantage of being able to add comments was felt by the students to outweigh the disadvantage of the lack of presentation of the results.
Group and tutor in discussion about the peer feedback.
Findings based on observation and discussion between tutors, TEL adviser and the students. All students who were present during the workshop sessions gave feedback using the iPads. This was in contrast to the previous method of written feedback on the displays when few, if any of the displays received peer feedback. In the previous method of feeding back on assemblies and lessons the quality of the comments was limited – comments tended to be superficial and lacked depth. However, the facility to add additional comments in the Socrative application proved to be more successful then the less detailed eClicker simple voting facility.A Socrative delivered questionnaire that included the option to add comments after each Likert-type response was completed by all students who were present in the session and gave a detailed picture of their thoughts and feelings (n=119); an earlier online questionnaire that was accessed via a more traditional PC route returned just 22 responses in contrast.eClicker responsesPositive outcomesStudents quickly adapted to the use of eClicker; All students participated in the peer feedback and some students downloaded eClicker Audience to their mobile phones in order to provide their feedback;Students responded well to the feedback statements and felt that this helped them to focus on the assessment criteria; Students appreciated the anonymity of the peer feedback;eClicker feedback took less time than the previous written comments;The students felt that the instant analysis and presentation of the overall judgements was clearly presented and understandable.ConsiderationsStudents receiving the peer feedback felt that they needed more detail about why certain feedback had been given and wanted to know the justification, particularly for the more negative responses;The statements were designed by the tutors and linked to the assessment criteria.Notability responsesPositive outcomesAll students in all teaching groups were keen to provide feedback on the displays;The speed and confidence in the use of Notability increased with use, in general;There was an increased level of peer/peer and peer/tutor discussion about the qualities of the displays as the students constructed their feedback;The quality of the annotations improved over time to become more detailed and focussed which was indicative of a deeper level of thinking;The students began reflecting on the process of peer feedback as a means of assessment; The groups of students were very positive about the amount of feedback received – this could be between 12 and 20 separate pdf files;The groups of students always accessed their peer feedback in advance of the tutor discussion meetings and came ready to discuss it.ConsiderationsThe time taken to provide feedback in this way impacted on the time available for other activities in the session;Although some students became proficient very quickly others were much slower to gain confidence and still required reassurance and guidance in using Notability.
There is a significant amount of research relating to peer assessment and feedback. Improving the level of student engagement was an important first step. There is still work to do in terms of engaging the students in designing the assessment criteria and valuing the peer feedback they receive – these are both areas that some students were reluctant to acknowledge.
Transcript of "Enhancing the formative assessment environment through the use of mobile technologies"
Enhancing the formative assessment environment through theuse of mobile technologiesAnita Backhouse, Ian Wilson, Daniel Mackley
The Research• An 8 month practitioner research study;• A collaboration between tutors (Anita and Ian), second yearundergraduate students and the Technology EnhancedLearning (TEL) Adviser (Daniel);• Focus on enhancing peer review and feedback.Research questions• Could the use of mobile technology applications enhance thepeer-review and feedback process?• Could a practitioner-research approach enhance the students’pedagogical awareness and engagement with peer-reviewand feedback?
The Formative Assessment ModelScience-themedschool assembly30 min sciencelessonScience-themedclassroom display-Peer assessment andfeedback usingNotabilityPeer assessment andfeedback usingeClicker or SocrativePeer assessment andfeedback usingeClicker or Socrative
Organisation• 140 student participants in 5 teaching groups• 20 iPads• Notability , eClicker and Socrative applications pre-installed on the iPadsData was collected and analysed from observation anddiscussion notes and questionnaires across the periodof the study.
An image is taken of the display andimported into Notability ready to beannotated.After annotation the file is saved asa pdf and exported to Dropbox.
Findings• Students’ level of engagement with peer review andfeedback increased significantly when using the iPads(100% engagement when iPads were used);• The students became critical reflectors of the technologyand of the peer assessment process;• The students valued the impact that giving feedback hadon their own assessment attitudes and practice – theybecame more reflexive;• However, the students felt that receiving peer feedbackhad less impact on the quality of their own work.
Considerations• The ownership model for management and deploymentof the iPads has an impact on usability in the classroom;• The quality of wifi connection has a significant impact onthe time it takes to provide feedback and this in turnimpacts on the level of student engagement;• It is important to listen to student feedback about howwell they feel the technology is meeting their needs;• In order to foster critical engagement with thetechnology, it is important for all the users to be giventime to explore and investigate the hardware andapplications.
References and acknowledgementsBig Nerd Ranch (2012) eClicker Presenter (version 1.0.13) [Mobile application software] Available from:http://itunes.apple.com [Accessed 30 September 2012]Big Nerd Ranch (2012) eClicker Audience (Version 1.0.4) [Mobile application software] Available from:http://itunes.apple.com [Accessed 30 September 2012]Gingerlabs (2012) Notability (Version 4.42) [Mobile application software] Available from:http://itunes.apple.com [Accessed 30 September 2012]Socrative (2013) Socrative Teacher [Mobile application software] Available from http://www.socrative.com[Accessed 15 March 2013]Socrative (2013) Socrative Student [Mobile application software] Available from http://www.socrative.com[Accessed 15 March 2013]Vu, T. T. and DallAlba, G. (2007) Students’ experience of peer assessment in a professional course. Assessment& Evaluation in Higher Education, 32 (5), pp. 541-556.Many thanks to Abi Sowerby, Naomi Richardson, Louise Connelly, Beth Millar, Mollie Benefer, BryonyCunningham, Rachel Rawcliffe and Nicole King for allowing us to show their work.
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