THE BLOG

Tech in the Classroom Revolutionises Feedback

24/06/2014 17:45 BST | Updated 24/08/2014 10:59 BST

In the last few years, we have witnessed an increase in the "co-operation" of technology and education leading to a more focused learning environment. New educational technologies promise to transform the way teachers tutor and students learn. There are plenty of examples of these new technologies; from the usage of computers and iPads in schools through to applications and cloud computing - there are so many new ways in which teachers and students interact.

Technology offers tools that allow students to develop skills and teachers to identify limitations and talents. With the effective use of technology, it has become easier for teachers to identify the needs of their students and for students to take greater control of their own learning.

These new technologies allow learning to be tailored to students' needs. This is a relatively new form of personalized learning, where the everyday learning process is the result of a joint collaboration between student and teacher for a common goal: the student's development. In other words, the student's progress shapes teaching. According to a study commissioned by the DfEE*, classroom progress depends on the teacher's teaching methods. A simple way to improve the quality of education and to achieve better results is through constructive and timely feedback.

Feedback is critical and it's easy to see why; it improves performance, develops talent, sets goals and identifies problems. It's a basis for improvement and an essential part of education. When it is provided and carried out effectively - research shows** that early and frequent feedback can motivate students and foster their performance.

Research has also shown that immediate feedback can lead to faster progress. It should be given as soon as possible while the topic is still fresh in the student's mind. It should also be focused on a specific goal in order to avoid any confusion. Giving constructive feedback is part of an educator's training, but still technology can be a tool to support meaningful learning experiences. Being the developer of PocketPhonics, I can say that it is a tried and tested educational tool used by hundreds of schools that work towards this purpose. It's used to assist teachers, motivate pupils and encourage parental engagement.

Apps in My Pocket sends weekly reports that allow both teachers and parents to follow their kid's progress. From these weekly reports, it's easier to identify a student's needs. The Apps support teachers by assessing progress, reporting that progress and choosing new targets; the software itself uses feedback to design the next lesson. Educators can have a clearer understanding of what their students have learned as well as identifying the areas that require further improvement. At the same time, PocketPhonics motivates kids by emailing parents and teachers printable collectable certificates whenever learning goals are achieved.

Teachers can increase their student's investment in learning by giving them frequent feedback and by encouraging their work efforts. Objective feedback helps children improve performance based on observations and stay motivated by setting expectations. While pedagogical skills and academic background are certainly key factors in an educator's performance, technology proves to be a valuable aid as well as an important contributor to our children's future.

*DfEE Research into Teacher Effectiveness

**Tools for teaching by Barbara Gross Davis.

*** The Power of Feedback, John Hattie and Helen Timperley,