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

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  • From: Roimata Baker <roimata 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 11:11:16 +1300

Really useful feedback.  

Nga mihi 

On 18 March 2013 01:27, Louise Munro <fammunro AT> wrote:

When I worked at Te Kura, I taught many students with huge learning challenges around recognizing the points of view and the emotions of others (including characters in texts) who were able to gain L1 and L2 UE literacy from within English. There were other aspects that they coped with far better and I would focus their study on these – starting with mapping the narrative then, perhaps, the setting, this was a way in on tasks that don’t require huge interpretation.  There are some great free apps and sites for making timelines and, if the novel was a travel one, to map the setting/journey. They may be ok to do some background research on aspects of a text and that may lead into some identification of values.


However, I focused on formal (rather than creative) writing and research tasks as this allowed students who were obsessive about particular topics to pursue these and to stay in the non-fiction and factual genres which were often easier to understand.  It may be that the learning challenge of making connections or interpretation of author’s purpose will take time to develop or their connections might be unconventional. Providing structures and templates for writing and responding and insisting on these being completed to their best helped but there were some assessment tasks that they would not be able to achieve in the conventional modes of assessment. Tables completed in groups (quotes in one column/explanation/what it means in second ) could help with connections  then modelled structured sentences/paragraphs. It will be great when we are not so ruled by specific, pre-planned  assessment schedules and can capture the ‘golden moment’ in a student’s work and apply the most appropriate assessment schedule at the time as I was constantly surprised with perception at random, unexpected times. This is the philosophy of the literacy and numeracy standards.



It also helped to have an IEP and a team of others (including parents) supporting so that interventions/approaches were focused and consistent across subjects. A bank of ‘can-dos’  and ‘must-dos’ that took into consideration their strengths meant that there were opportunities for students to show their skills and the encouragement to stretch them, too. Last year, I had a student who was unable to speak in front of a group (as opposed to the others who would vehemently prefer not to!) and I insisted that they prepare and write their speech and kept encouraging them to have a go, to perhaps choose a couple of friends for an audience or to record it digitally – I couldn’t assess the oral text but I could assess the formal writing and the research completed along the way. Perhaps it is a matter of choosing assessment tasks carefully for these students and allowing them to reach their potential and accepting that this is OK. Now that English is no longer the only gateway for literacy, it may be that this is gained in another subject where they can be more literal.

Thankfully, I teach in a school where it is safe to be an individual learner – by that I mean that other students were mostly understanding and encouraging of these students – so there was never a ‘it’s not fair’ uttered – in my hearing.


Re The Curious Incident… It is a deceptively simple novel and if a student is unable to identify with other characters, they will still struggle to see that there is a connection between themselves and the main character. It is, however fun to map the narrative and great to create a setting map. It’s worth a try.


Hope this helps.



Louise Munro

From: ictenglish-request AT [mailto:ictenglish-request AT] On Behalf Of Debra Sara
Sent: Sunday, 17 March 2013 12:52 p.m.
To: ictenglish AT
Subject: Re: [ICTs in English] Weekly update - More goodness on technology helping with feedback and reflection


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


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