How technology can revolutionise the way we give feedback

Russell Stannard outlines some changes that technology is driving in English language teaching, particularly in EAP. November 2011, Glasgow.

Watch this talk to find out new ways to use technology to give feedback on learners' written work.

Video 1 - Screen recording to correct students' work

Downloadable resources

  • Slides from this presentation with useful links and further reading
  • Teacher Training Videos website created by Russell Stannard, which has a large number of teacher training videos available free of charge for teachers to access
  • Download the print version of this training session (coming soon) 

Further reading

Feedback in Second Language Writing, Ken Hyland and Fiona Hyland, CUP (2006)

Join the discussion!

  1. How enthusiastic to you feel about trying to use software like Jing with your students? How do you think your students will respond?
  2. In effect, Russell Stannard is recommending the use of oral feedback on written work instead of written feedback. Do you think such a process is only suitable for high level students, or do you think it is possible to grade your language sufficiently to use oral feedback with lower level students? Discuss this point with your colleagues.

Session summary and objectives

Russell Stannard talks about his research into the use of the free computer software called Jing. This software uses screen capture technology, along with video and audio, to enable you to provide students with feedback on their written work. He refers extensively to students writing essay assignments in the context of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) but the information he gives on providing verbal, recorded feedback for students is applicable to many other teaching and learning contexts. 

Who is this session for?

  • Experienced teachers, working on EAP or exam courses, who would like to provide recorded feedback for students
  • Teachers with access to computer assisted language learning (CALL) looking for new ways to provide feedback on students’ written work

  • Teacher trainers who focus on the use of technology for educational purposes

Russell Stannard is a freelance trainer and conference speaker in ICT and Education. He has won three internationally recognised awards for his work in feedback and his website, which is now visited by more than 350,000 users a year. He was previously a Principal Teaching Fellow at the University of Westminster, where he won their ‘Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award'. At the time of writing, he worked at the University of Warwick and also as a NILE associate trainer.

This seminar is about giving feedback to students on their written work. 

1. Reflect on how you currently give written feedback to students. 

a. How do you do it? 

b. Do you think students read their feedback?

c. Do you think their writing skills improve as a result of written feedback?

d. What aspect of student feedback do you find challenging, or you would like to improve?

2. Russell Stannard talks about how to use free downloadable computer software, such as ‘Jing’ – a  screen capture tool using video and audio - for giving feedback. How do you think using technology like this might be advantageous when giving feedback to students about their written work? 

3. What do you think the challenges are when giving feedback using computer software?

Perhaps you now feel ready to try out the new feedback techniques that are presented in the seminar? If so, why not download and try the free software via the link below? Or, if you would like to review Russell’s recommendations further try these resources. 

  •  If you are ready to try out the software from Russell Stannard’s talk for providing student feedback, it can be downloaded free of charge. 
    Download the Jing software
  1. Technology is a tool, not a method. Before you use technology tools to give feedback to students, it is important to reflect on what makes feedback effective, or ineffective, in the first place. Review the main principles of good feedback (and bad!). Apply these principles to feedback provided through Jing, or any similar tool.
  2. When using Jing or a similar visual capture tool, ensure you keep your oral feedback simple, clear and specific. 
  3. Remember, for lower level students, it may be more difficult for them to follow oral feedback than written feedback – listening might be more difficult for them than reading. Grade your language accordingly.
  4. In order to familiarise yourself with the use of Jing, start with a simple feedback exercise. Give your students a demonstration of what you will do and how it will work. Students will need to become familiar with new ways of receiving and processing oral and visual feedback.
  5. Ask students for feedback on the use of technology. Do they prefer oral feedback through technology, or written feedback on the document itself?

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Submitted by laurenceb on Sat, 03/03/2012 - 01:06

Thank you very much , this is just an amazing presentation! I definitely want to try the "give feedback through video" approach with my students. I not only appreciate the idea but also the way it is delivered , brilliant!

Submitted by hanshan on Thu, 03/01/2012 - 02:30

Great presentation and fantastic information, but the video itself is a good example of how not to use technology (not the fault of the presenter). In the video, frequently we cannot clearly see what's on the screen behind the presenter, except when some of the slides are superimposed into the presentation.

Ironically, it would have been better directly using the very technology and techniques Russell Stannard is talking about!

Nevertheless, well worth watching.

I quite like the idea! In fact, it is the first time in a very long period that I've wanted to try something out. Point well taken about the use of the technology in the presentation, but it's the idea we should focus on, I think, not minor drawbacks.

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