Skip to Content.
Sympa Menu

ictenglish - Re: [ICTs in English] Weekly update - More goodness on technology helping with feedback and reflection

Subject: ICTs in English

List archive

Re: [ICTs in English] Weekly update - More goodness on technology helping with feedback and reflection

Chronological Thread 
  • From: Karen Melhuish Spencer <karen.melhuishspencer AT>
  • To: ictenglish AT
  • Subject: Re: [ICTs in English] Weekly update - More goodness on technology helping with feedback and reflection
  • Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 12:48:12 +1300

Kia ora Debra,

First of all, well done for being so open about an aspect of your work that's a bit crunchy. It's always 'deep breath' time to commit the tricky stuff to paper in an open forum such as this so well done for that. Your question may well be one that others are asking so we all gain by you posting it here;-)

You raise an interesting question which might also have relevance on other forums, too, such as the English forum. I've suggested some online resources further down my post.

In terms of your students' particular needs and strengths, you may find that a diagnosis of autism or Asperger's tells you only part of the story. The spectrum is pretty broad and no two students, even with the same diagnosis, will have the same needs or strengths. You are right that such diagnoses provide an indication of where needs might lie and so the next steps for us as teachers is to find out more about what each student brings in with them. The students to which you refer will have passions, interests and abilities that may be masked by the diagnosis - and their needs may be quite specific and not necessarily related to concepts to do with empathy. So, I would encourage you, and others in the same situation, to work closely with your learning support staff, the students and their families, to be familiar with the students' themselves as well as their IEPs and maybe to look at some of the resources available online. For example:

Let your close knowledge of your students' interests, strengths and needs help you choose appropriate texts that will help them engage where they are at. Students with ASD may welcome exploring this condition in a literary text - but equally they may find it too personal, or there may be other texts that interest them more. I know one student with ASD who would much prefer graphic novels and stories related to science-fiction.

The other issue you raise is the ability of your students to understand that texts have multiple viewpoints. This, I think, may be a separate issue to that related to their IEP. With careful scaffolding, modelling and co-construction, students may well be able to understand that texts can offer more than one viewpoint or voice. One does not necessarily need strong empathy to appreciate text construction (I would argue). I know, for example, of one student (who happened to have Asperger's) who was incredibly insightful when it came to textual analysis and made some startling connections between and across texts. This may or may not have been related to the diagnosis he had. The English Online forum might be a good place to ask for further ideas about ways to teach textual analysis effectively at Year 10:-)

I guess what I saying is that it's really important for us to understand students' diagnoses thoroughly, if they have them - and indeed every student brings with a kete of specific needs, diagnosis or not….. but also to look beyond them to the students themselves, the amazing potential and strengths that they bring, the passions they have and their prior knowledge - and springboard off those.

Phew! Does that help?
Ngā mihi nui
nā Karen

Karen Melhuish Spencer
CORE Education & Te Toi Tupu
Twitter: virtuallykaren  

On 17/03/2013, at 12:52 PM, Debra Sara <dbrsara AT> wrote:

Dear All

This is more an English post than an ICT post. I am teaching year 10 English and am struggling to accommodate students who have autism or aspergers when the assessment criteria for Assessment Tasks require students to identify values, social, moral  point of view of narrator, author , characters etc. Students with Autism or asperges seem only to be aware or their own point of view - more or less. I think (?)
I need to do some training in the area but wondered whether any of you had any advice re this, at this stage.
Would studying a class novel  such as "The curious incident of the dog in the night time" be helpful  since the main character has aspergers? Or am I stereotyping these students? Is there so much diversity in the group that no one novel would align with the group's views and values? I suspect so. I think this novel is written pretty much without connectives and complex sentences from memory. This is away of avoiding connectives which show conditionality, concessionality etc which at least one of my students struggles to show or to even see. 

Any thoughts? 


On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 1:35 PM, Hamish Chalmers <hchalmers AT> wrote:
A really interesting post from Karen Melhuish over on the VLN got me thinking this week about how technology is reshaping our observation and collection of our students’ evidence of learning. Karen was particularly interested in how mobile technology is providing easier ways to capture thoughts and observations of the things around us. She points out how technology can also be used just as easily for collecting data and observations during authentic learning moments in class.

This made a lot of sense to me. In the flow of teaching, it’s important that we’re giving feedback to students to enable them to develop next steps. We often do this through summative assessment but may find that we’re a little limited by how much time we have divided by the number of students we’re teaching and the need to give face to face assistance, whether we’ve given some other kind of feedback or not. The ways of using technology Karen is suggesting has some rather interesting implications for how we give feedback, what this means for the more formalised form of feedback (summative assessment) and the ratio between the two.

I don’t know about all of you but traditionally I’ve put quite a whack of time into constructing summative assessments to give students feedback on where to go next. While really rate combining this with more ‘on the spot’ feedback (usually verbal) I haven’t really considered how technology can be used to make this short-term feedback much more regular and useful for students. Imagine us and our learners using technology to video or record (in writing or verbally) some evidence of learning and then the following reflection. If we built these as technology ‘habits’ with a class, both us and the students could have a larger collection of evidence to look back on at a later date and consider whether the attached feedback had helped, how it impacted them and again, the next steps from there. This would be pretty awesome for student motivation from seeing their learning developing too.

Research in recent years has highlighted again and again the need for ongoing communication with parents and whanau. Phone calls can be difficult to get right though, both in terms of timing and specificity. We’re having to describe things we’ve seen and this can often get so far removed from students’ actual learning artefacts that the usefulness for the students can be lost. Imagine sharing some evidence of learning (say a video of a student practicing a presentation) and the students’ subsequent reflection and perhaps even some feedback from other students and us in the form of comments. This could be in whichever form of social media the student decided to upload their artefact to. Helping the less tech-savy parents to see the benefits of this might take some time - only one lot of parents out of my tutor group of sixteen responded to a recent offer of sharing a google doc I’m using to track each students learning progress. The possibilities are massive and if we can get the students in the habit of doing the uploading and storing themselves, our time is freed up for what we’re good at - giving good feedback and next-steps.

Building skills and habits around these kinds of approaches can take time though and the benefits might not show straight away. It might also pay to create some accessible tutorials to throw at the students after the usual bombard of questions after introducing a new ICT or activity in class. But there’s still time to start these things! It’s only half way through term one! Assuming we’re not all completely exhausted of course.

Hamish Chalmers
Facilitator: ICTs in English

Archive powered by MHonArc 2.6.18.

Top of Page