What started me down this path?
My original inspiration comes from a commonly held belief among teachers that all students have the ability to learn. The challenge has always been presenting the work in a way that makes sense for them, and that they can build off of. It also isn't a surprise to find 36 students in a middle school classroom these days, with a range of skills from student to student. I had always struggled with how to give constructive feedback when I was seeing around 160 students every day. I knew that they needed a chance to strengthen their critical thinking and writing skills, but always seemed to be in a time crunch and it got pushed to the side more often than it should have.
I attended a conference about a year back where I got the chance to learn from another educator named Michael McDowell. A lot of what he said stuck with me.I have always been someone who "wanted to see the research." He introduced me (figuratively not literally), to researcher John Hattie who had collected thousands of studies based around effective classroom strategies. This was pretty much music to my ears. He then brought up peer feedback, which I had always dismissed as ineffective due to how often students were wrong (which was also said at the conference.) What I didn't realize was the high effect size it had on learning... when done correctly. From that point forward, I knew that I wanted to use peer feedback more in my classroom, and my action research gave me a great opportunity to implement it.
Action Research...Round 1.
In my original round of research, I used a website called Peergrade in my class as a way for students to give their peers feedback. Students can submit their work anonymously to the site and receive feedback from their peers. My control group corrected their own work based on a rubric before re-submitting it. My treatment group received 3 of their peers feedback and then re-submitted their work. The scale that was used was 1-16. Students in the treatment group raised their score by an average of 2.39 points. The control group gained an average of .96 points. Peer feedback can work! But this doesn't tell the whole story.
Where do we go from here?
Good question. We know from prior research and my own action research that peer feedback can work when set up correctly. But what role can different digital platforms play in this process? What role does audio and video play in feedback in the classroom? You're going to have to continue reading to find out...
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