Teaching & Learning


Using technology to feedback: a workshop with sixth form teachers

3 August 2016

Sixth form workshop

Maths teachers from Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre (NCS) led a workshop at UCL for academic staff on Tuesday 28 June. The session, the first of its kind at UCL with one of the university's strategic education partnership schools, focussed on using technology to provide effective feedback.

At NCS, staff use an innovative feedback model which includes self-assessment, data collection, videos and diagnostic questions.

A Level Maths students are given a homework assignment to complete over 2 weeks with distinct success criteria outlined. In class, students are then asked to ‘self-mark’ their own work against fully worked solutions.

Teachers use the Socrative app to provide collective feedback for students in class. The app generates a quiz and teachers are provided with rich data on who understood what. The Socrative App can be downloaded for iPads or PC and is a good way to get data quickly.

Creating videos for students allows teachers to focus on questions or content that were not well understood. Videos are straight forward, using an iPad to film whilst the teacher talks through a problem and solution on a whiteboard. These videos are then uploaded to allow students to move through the explanation at their own rate.

In the final stage of the feedback cycle, teachers write diagnostic questions designed to establish if the students have now understood the highlighted concept after watching the video. All students attempt the diagnostic question(s) and submit their answer. Teachers gives detailed, written feedback using the Showbie app, so no written work is needed. Students submit work gradually rather than all on the same day, which helps with managing teachers’ workloads.

They explained that positive reinforcement of specific things well done is most beneficial to students’ learning. In contrast, giving scores, grades or percentages may have a negative impact as students tend to focus on the summative result rather than how to improve.

NCS teachers suggested that students should spend significantly longer reflecting on the material than is spent in providing the feedback. Developing an effective feedback cycle can ensure this happens.

UCL staff who attended the workshop were impressed with what they had heard:

“The talk was very useful to show how technology helps education if used the right way. Giving marks only after self-marking, videos and second questions seems very fair as a formative measure.” Flavia Belham, PhD student, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

“Very interesting. I think university teachers have a lot to learn from school teachers.” Prof David Waters, Professor of Physics, Department of Physics & Astronomy

If you are interested in finding out about events like this, please contact educationpartnerships@ucl.ac.uk or visit the webpage.