Peer Feedback in the Classroom: Empowering Students to be the Experts by Starr Sackstein

7. Using Technology to Support Peer Feedback

  • Technology isn’t necessary for a peer feedback program, but it can enhance the process. When student work is stored as Google Docs it can be accessed from anywhere by people giving feedback. It won’t be lost and it’s easy to revise. Starr offers a list of her seven top tech tools. She uses Voxer for giving voice feedback. Students use Screencast to create tutorials for their classmates. Google for Education gives students a number of essential applications. Blogging platforms allow students and classes to have blogs where student work can be shared. There are many available. I use WordPress. Periscope allows students to see a lesson without being there and to rewatch a lesson. Skype allows students to conference with each other without being in the same room. Twitter is a microblogging app that students can use to discuss topics in an innovative manner.
  • The next section of the chapter shows how Google Docs can be used for leaving comments on someone’s work and resolving comments. Then there are examples of how to use Twitter hashtags to carry on class discussions. This allows students to practice digital citizenship and writing skills at the same time. One of Starr’s colleagues offers a plan for helping students create higher quality comments. She ends the chapter with tips for schools with limited or no technology.

8. Final Thoughts

  • Finally, Starr reflects on how empowering students to take more control over their learning and offering more help to each other changes her role, but doesn’t make it any less important. Learning how to give and receive feedback is an important life skill that will help students throughout their lives. Students who learn to focus on continually improving their work will have a much better chance for success on the job and in life. Peer teaching allows for powerful learning and the expansion of group work improves social skills. In short, the classroom that Starr envisions looks more like a productive work environment than the traditional factory classroom. Thanks for the great vision.

Starr Sackstein

  • Starr is Director of Humanities K-12, West Hempstead Union Free School District, NY and formerly a high school English and Journalism teacher at World Journalism Preparatory School in Flushing, NY. She is also the author of Teaching Mythology Exposed: Helping Teachers Create Visionary Classroom Perspective. She does a blog for Education Week called Work in Progress in addition to her personal blog at StarrStackstein.Com where she discusses all aspects of being a teacher. She moderates #jerdchat and #sunchat and contributes to #NYedChat. If you are looking for an energetic, high-quality speaker on the subjects of blogging, journalism education, and bring your own device (BYOD), contact her at twitter (@mssackstein) or FaceBook.
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