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Providing feedback on writing via audio

Hello colleagues, For me, one of the most challenging aspects of teaching writing is providing feedback and support to learners to help them improve a piece of writing. Many of us are aware of the research showing that correcting a lot of errors in students' writing is ineffective. Clearly, we want to emphasize the positive aspects of a learner's writing and also provide guidance on how to improve. Toward this end, I like to conference with each student to offer feedback; however, this is time consuming, so it's not always possible to do this during a class period. There are times when all students get is my written comments.

I came across this interesting video of history teacher Anna Rickard who audio records her feedback on student writing and sends it to students as a text or email message. Creating an audio message is more personal than only providing written comments. Rickard surveyed the students about this method of receiving feedback, and students indicated that they understood and learned a lot from the teacher's audio feedback. This method would also save time during class.

I plan to try this idea. I'd love to hear what other teachers think of recording audio feedback on writing.

This video is part of the Mindset Kit website that is featured in the LINCS collection, which offers a wealth of resources including videos, lesson plans and assessments focused on fostering a growth mindset..

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition and Teaching & Learning CoPs


ashly winkle's picture

 If you use Google documents, there are some great extensions that allow you to do this as well. Kaizena  allows you to add audio note to the students Google document so that they can just click on the audio in here your feedback.  I’ve only use this a couple of times but I plan on starting to use it more  for all of the assignments !

Connie Rivera's picture

I am already sold on audio feedback.  I am currently interested in the logistics of recording your feedback and texting it.  What do folks use?  What are the pros and cons of what you are using?

Leecy's picture

Susan and Anshley, audio feedback provides differentiation for both instructors and students! You've shared wonderful tools and ideas in that respect. 

In addition, much has been researched regarding the benefits, or lack of, related to error correction both among ESL and native English speaking students. Having a conversation with students in the process of providing feedback allows instructors to focus on strengths with limited attention to errors.

I wonder if others here have used audio feedback for any kinds of instruction. If so, what tools have you used? How about having students review their own work or the writing of their peers (given clear guidelines on how to do that, of course) and providing audio comments as they go along? I imagine that would spread the benefits to even greater measures! Leecy

S Jones's picture

I'm pretty sure that in Microsoft Word you can leave an audio "comment."  Student has to have a recent version of Word, though -- I once had a student furious with a teacher who was furious with him... because his version didn't have them so he opened up his file in his computer and saw points taken off because he hadn't followed her directions... here in the lab, we found them... 


Connie Rivera's picture

I can't find a way to leave an audio comment in Word where you record directly there.  Of course you can insert a sound file.  Found this text reader , but I was thinking you meant I could record my own voice right in the comments.  If you find out more, I'm interested.

Glenda Rose's picture

I went to a session at TexTESOL last Friday where a fully online course instructor used "Track Changes" and Screencast-O-Matic to leave feedback for students.  (I prefer Screencastify or Camtasia Recorder ($$).

I have used audio on both Google and Microsoft Word (using Vocaroo, actually) and have occasionally created a screencast if I felt something needed more of a personal touch.  Students, especially distance learning students, need to see and hear the teacher every now and again.  By the way, I also have students use Vocaroo to submit audio for practice with speaking in my fully online courses.

Thanks for this topic!  It's right up my alley.