Assessment and feedback drive instruction. How students respond to lessons, both in the assessments given and the feedback provided can determine future instruction decisions – for both individuals and entire classes of children. In the current environment of remote and hybrid learning models, it’s important to supplement the standard cycle as much as possible to ensure steady communication and support for students at every level. 

For technology to become an integral part of the feedback-assessment cycle, teachers need tools that can help them respond to assessments and drive the next phase of instruction. Below are several means by which teachers are doing this in hybrid, blended, and remote environments.

Providing Meaningful Feedback 

A common source of frustration among students and parents is the lack of constructive feedback on assignments. A mark with no feedback provides no means by which the student can improve their performance in the future. Teachers need to help students improve on their work and encourage them to push themselves whenever possible. With fewer in-person opportunities to ask questions and clarify performance on an assignment or assessment, students are more likely to continue without the feedback needed to improve in the future. 

Addressing this issue can be as simple and direct as: “Excellent job! I’m impressed with the character development. I noticed you used the word ‘very’ 5 times can you try replacing it with a different adverb?” Technology can help to not only deliver this feedback but free time in the schedule to ensure teachers can consistently provide it. 

Use Non-Traditional Feedback Systems 

Technology provides the opportunity to give feedback in more engaging ways to students. Free formative assessment tools like Edpuzzle, Quizziz, and Kahoot can capture immediate results and support frequent checks for understanding. This helps students recognize when they need support in their learning efforts, and can provide an early warning signal to teachers if a student is falling behind, instead of waiting for larger, more traditional assessment periods. 

These technology tools can be integrated with others to provide individualized materials asynchronously. Instead of a major course correction every 2-3 months, teachers can more nimbly respond when something isn’t working, both for the entire class and individual students. 

Providing Office Hours for Students Not in the Building

One of the first things to get lost in an online setting is the one-on-one interaction students and parents traditionally have with their teachers. This is a pressing issue in the midst of a pandemic but isn’t a new one. Integrate video chat sessions, screengrabs, and one-on-one opportunities to provide engaging feedback with students, rather than just sending test scores. One-on-one conversations shouldn’t be relegated only to disciplinary issues. They should be an instructional tool that allows teachers to coordinate more individualized learning plans for students, address questions and concerns from parents, and adjust accordingly.

Technology makes this type of engagement easier than ever, but it takes additional time out of a teacher’s already busy schedule. Technology should also be used to address this, reducing the time spent by teachers sourcing content and building lessons so they can make themselves available for these conversations as they are needed. 

Adjusting Teaching Methods with Technology

Technology provides not just the insights needed to identify when someone is struggling, but often the medium-variety needed to implement a new way to teach the same material.

Too often professional development time focuses on the nuts and bolts of a piece of software: how to create a lesson, where to find content, and answers to frequently asked questions. Instead, focus on how teachers can leverage new resources to supplement their existing lessons. It’s all about presentation. Instead of an alternative to their traditional lesson plans, technology can be a tool that empowers teachers to adapt teaching methods to match the challenges their students face.

For example, if using interactive content, there are several avenues teachers can take to best reach students. They can use screen recorders to flip instruction with 5-minute videos. They can create modules with pre-made slide decks and online formative assessments using Quizizz or Google Forms. They can provide breakout rooms for peer-to-peer instruction with a jigsaw activity tackling a challenging concept. Teachers should use the hardware, software, and supplemental tools at their disposal to increase communication and opportunities for students to learn and demonstrate knowledge.

More than anything, focus on the teaching. Technology is a tool – pure and simple. It is not meant to replace decades of experience and hands-on instruction. It is designed to reduce time spent building content, support individualized learning, and save teachers time while adhering to curriculum standards. Keep it simple and focus on instruction. Technology is there to help. 

Providing the Support Students Need to Excel

Whether still teaching students remotely or adjusting to hybrid and blended learning models on the way back to a full 5-day-a-week schedule, one of the most important things teachers can do is ensure the feedback-assessment cycle is transparent, supportive, and supplemented with the resources and lesson materials needed for students to continue growing. 

Learn more about the role of technology in the classroom – whatever form it takes – in our white paper, How to Leverage Existing Technology Investments to Address Education Challenges. 

Download our white paper, How to Leverage Existing Technology Investments to Address Education Challenges to learn more about how Boardworks helps address these challenges both in the classroom and remotely.