Note: This post is part of my online coursework for the ISTE Certified Teacher program.
I have spent a lot of my career teaching Math and Design Technology and in my experience both of these subjects involve a lot of analog work with paper and pencil. In Math it is working out solutions and in Design Tech it is drawing and sketching solutions. In both cases I have found it difficult to take advantage of the affordances of digital technology to give timely and targeted feedback because of the limitations inherent in digitising student work and then trying to annotate the work using digital tools. It’s just clunky.
So when I heard about Floop (www.floopedu.com) on the Cult of Pedagogy podcast I thought it was worth checking out. Floop essentially allows students to take a picture of their work and submit it to an assignment for feedback (either using the App or uploading to the website). Once the work is submitted the teacher can add feedback that is linked to specific parts of the assignment and the student can respond to the feedback. There is also a really interesting peer feeback system built in. The video below does a better job than I can explaining how it works.
I have chosen to evaluate Floop for this assignment because if it does what it says it can my hope is that it will allow me to give my students the kind of ongoing feedback I can give in Google Docs, but for more analog tasks. It also seems to have tools built into it to encourage student reflection on feedback and peer feedback, and I am excited to see if these tools really help students to think about and act on feedback. If they do they could really transform the feedback cycle in my classroom.
How would you model this tool for colleagues?
I think that this is a tool that should be introduced as part of a larger conversation around feedback and how it drives student learning. In line with the TPACK framework Floop is a Technology tool that can only be effective if it is combined with a strong Pedagogical knowledge of how to facilitate good feedback and a good background in the Content being addressed by the feedback. With this in mind I think a demonstration of Floop might be most effective if it is given during department or faculty time where feedback and assessment of a particular unit is being discussed.
How would you investigate this tool collaboratively with students?
Floop provides an excellent companion Feedback Literacy Curriculum to support its use. I highly recommend having a look as there is much more to it than I can describe here. Some of the parts that caught my attention and that I would use while investigating this tool with students are: a Feedback Literacy Survey designed to measure knowledge, beliefs and behaviours related to feedback; a Feedback Literacy Rubric that could help students understand what Feedback Literacy is; and a number of well designed lesson plans, my favourite is called Learning to Love Mistakes.
My approach to investigating this tool with my students would be to start with a lesson on Feedback Literacy and then use Floop to go through a few feedback cycles using a fairly simple task. Over the course of the year we would scaffold the process by introducing more lessons and more complex tasks.
How might you use this tool to promote digital citizenship OR empower student learning?
With the use of the Feedback Literacy Curriculum I think Floop has a lot of potential for empowering student learning by making it fast and easy for teachers and peers to give targeted and timely feedback on a variety of different analog assessments. The Floop team, however, is very clear that for students to successfully develop agency over their own learning it needs to be “paired with assessment systems that promote growth, revision, and mastery learning”. Floop used effectively could potentially meet the following ISTE Student and Educator Standards:
Empowered Learner (student)
1c Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
5c Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
6a Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings. Specifically:
Setting up a space and time for students to fail and try again; establishing space and time for student reflection and goal setting.
7b Use technology to design and implement a variety of formative and summative assessments that accommodate learner needs, provide timely feedback to students and inform instruction.
Some Additional Thoughts
Before writing this evaluation I did take the time to set up a teacher and some student accounts on Floop and it worked much as promised. The comment bank feature is really fast and easy to use and the ability for students to reply to comments works well. The anonymous peer feedback is also very innovative and does an effective job using sentence prompts to elicit the best feedback possible.
A couple areas I would like to see improved are:
- When a student submits work for feedback it would be nice for them to be able to leave some of their own comments on the work explaining areas they could use help with. The documentation seems to indicate this is possible, but I wasn’t able to figure it out;
- When responding to student feedback just using text can sometimes be limiting, but currently when a video link is added it is a dead link. The ability to add live links to screencast instructions etc could potentially help make the feedback more useful.