May 28th, 2019 by Sean

The Whole Story Matters – Providing Effective Feedback

Blog post cover – Teacher providing feedback with a collaborative whiteboard

Feedback is one of the foundations of learning and education. Without it, we wouldn’t see the path to improvement. Not only is feedback incredibly important in the classroom, it’s also not the easiest item to give effectively. So how to create a system of feedback that’s beneficial for both students and teachers? One possible answer, and what we’ll explore in this article, is collaborative whiteboarding.

How to define feedback, anyway?

At its core, feedback could simply be defined as (hopefully) helpful advice from others. However, it’s important to note that only advice towards reaching a goal should truly be considered feedback. For example consider a coach giving advice (feedback) to an athlete on how to improve their game (the goal).

In a classroom setting this process becomes clearer. Introducing a new concept to students and having them practice that concept is the first step. The next is giving them feedback on how well they have understood the new concept. This is traditionally done with face-to-face discussion or the ever controversial red pen. Often, the process ends once the feedback has been given and it’s up to the student to utilize the feedback to the best of their abilities.

This is where collaborative whiteboards come in.

Big picture feedback

Using an online whiteboard with real-time collaboration can be a powerful tool for giving visual feedback. This starts with the students completing their assignment explaining their understanding of a new concept. If this is done in a whiteboarding environment the student can record their explanation. This allows the teacher to see the students thought process and how they arrived at their conclusion.

Think of it like a road trip. Yes, it is getting from point A to point B, but that isn’t the entirety of the trip at all. In between were rest stops, meals, sights, and diversions. Without a whiteboard recording you’re missing out on the bigger picture, because only point A and point B are visible.

Once the entire thinking process can be seen, the best feedback can be given.

Visual feedback for students

Now that the teacher has the full picture of understanding from their students, they can create their actionable visual feedback. Utilizing an online whiteboard a teacher can add any media they like, annotate on it, and record their feedback for the student. Having an audio and visual explanation can clarify the teacher’s thought process for the student and help them to better understand the goal-oriented feedback provided.

Thanks to the sharing features of online whiteboards like Explain Everything, it’s also simple to share the feedback created! But this isn’t necessarily where feedback has to end!

Feedback for all

Traditionally, once the students have their feedback from the teacher the process ends. But this doesn’t have to be true using an online whiteboard! The feedback process can continue with the student updating their assignment and sharing it back to the teacher. The teacher then gains more understanding of the students grasp of the concept thanks to the feedback process.

The back and forth feedback process is one that encourages building towards an ultimate goal and improving understanding along the way!