Teachers are the feedback# meisters! Face to face, in class, teachers provide feedback using many strategies designed to reveal the thinking, the opinions and ideas, the understanding of students. Feedback, particularly ongoing feedback, is an essential component of learning. We all know that!
If you were to do this with students online as well as in class, learning becomes an ongoing a dialogue between the individual student and the teacher. Potentially this could involve other teachers, sometimes other students and parents too. How easy is it to build a partnership of learning with a student in this way? They have your full attention, rather than you talking to them in a class, while keeping an eye on the other 24 or so students in the class. Online, while they are articulating their learning, you can check their spelling, their ability to build an argument, sentence structure and so on. Their level of engagement is evident, the care they take with their work is apparent, how deeply they think and many other learning traits. You can see their responsiveness or otherwise to your feedback.
Of course, you can do much of this in a conversation in class. You will get a feel for the student’s learning, but will you remember it as well as you would if it is recorded online? While you be able to convey it to a parent or another teacher as you could if they could see for themselves? Remembering that you are likely teaching many students, especially if you are a secondary (high school) teacher, wouldn’t having the record of ongoing learning that a reflective blog* provides be a powerful source for assessment data and a launching pad for what needs to follow?
Can you think of a better way, an easier way, to form a learning partnership with a students than by having an online place where you can provide feedback as a conversation with students, particularly when you combine this with face to face discussions?
#There are many types of feedback which I have not attempted to discuss in this post
*While I have only mentioned blogs, there are many other ways students and teachers can interact online.