George Lucas Educational Foundation
Technology Integration

Revolutionize Your Feedback on Student Writing

March 10, 2017 Updated March 9, 2017

There's that common saying the insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different. As a teacher, leaving feedback on student writing often fits that definition.

There's the typical cycle of returning a written assessment to students. It goes like this: student > teacher > student >garbage (digital or otherwise). Then comes the final step of the cycle where often students just make the same mistakes on their next written assessment. As a teacher, it's maddening, especially if you spent your precious weekend time leaving feedback on student essays only to feel like that time was wasted. 

So, we have two options: (1) Throw tantrums in our classrooms and bemoan the dwindling work ethic of today's students, or (2) find a better way. 

When it comes to feedback, we know a few things that need to happen for the feedback to be effective:

  1. It needs to be timely. 
  2. It needs to be specific.
  3. It needs to focus on future learning.
  4. It needs to require students to do something with the feedback.

But there are only 24 hours in a day! How do I have time to provide that kind of feedback?!

Fortunately, technology makes this possible. Not only does it allow us to leave better feedback, but we can do it even faster than we used to. To do this, you will need a text expander. Text expanders allow you to type in a code and an entire section of text (or links) will pop up automatically. 

This video shows you what the process looks like: 

With a text expander, you can preset text shortcuts to include detailed explanations, links to YouTube videos for more instruction, and links to Google Forms or other methods of assessment to check back in with students on the content or skill. This means that in less than a second you can leave comments on student writing that would have taken multiple minutes before.

While it takes a little work on the front end to set up your comments, it is well worth it in the end because seeing students learn, grow, and feel successful–versus watching them continue to repeat the same mistakes and feel frustrated–is worth all the work in the world.

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.

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  • Technology Integration
  • 6-8 Middle School
  • 9-12 High School

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