05 September, 2007
Posted by Peter Beaumont
This morning got off to a good start with Dylan Wiliam's Keynote about the importance of formative feedback, and how technologies can play a part in helping teachers with this task.
His work focussed on school children rather than Higher Education (see Inside the Black Box for details), but what he talks about relates to us in HE too.
Research shows that adding technology (for example whiteboards) to classrooms has no effect on attainment overall. Of all the things looked at the biggest factor is the teacher. Teachers who have developed their teaching skills over many years can help students much faster.
He quotes the work of Nyquist, 2003, on types of feedback and talked about how formative feedback was effective in promoting learning.
Wilson and Draney, 2004, have done work on creating multiple choice questions, for example with more than one correct answer, or questions that don't have correct answers as such. These allow teachers to get an idea of how the student is understanding what they have been learning. Dylan spoke about ways in which this feedback could be given instantly to a teacher in a class situation, allowing them to talk with students there and then about their understanding, help them develop better understanding, and get everyone involved in the classroom.
Voting systems kind of go there, but from what I've seen I'm not sure whether they tend to allow this more complex questioning. I'll have a look at Optivote, which we bought, when I get back to Edge Hill.
Creating resources for mobile devices has seemed overwhelming to me, because of the massive amount of devices and platforms. Therefore I was interested to hear Geoff Stead from Tribal CTAD talk about their work.
They have 2 main projects. MyLearning Author is software that allows teachers to create simple games/quizzes for mobiles. The Media Board is web based tools that enable the students to upload resources that they have created on their mobile devices to the web, either individually or as a group.
I'll need to look at this further, but I left this session a lot more confortable with the idea that we could create resources for mobile devices without spending most of our time supporting students with issues.
By the way, if you want to learn where Tanzania is, log into Facebook and have a play with TravelPod's Traveller IQ Challenge. That'a formative feedback in action.