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Audio notes

This video explores how recording audio feedback for pupils might support effective assessment and feedback approaches.
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Historically, at the school, teachers marked using written comments in children’s books. This took time but the key element of written feedback was what impact was it having on children’s learning? So when this was reviewed, after discussion with teachers, one of the key findings was that despite the time it was taking and the long time it was taking to write written comments, children weren’t necessarily always having a direct impact on their next steps because often children may not have had the reading fluency, English might not have been children’s first language, they may have been international new arrivals, or children just didn’t pay attention to the comment itself because the teacher may have written a comment this evening and they would have waited the next day to be able to see that in their book.
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Research shows that verbal feedback is extremely powerful in ensuring that children actually understand what’s expected of them. So we decided to use a digital system called Showbie, which ensured that teachers were able to give every child a voice note so they no longer had to give any face-to-face comments but that voice note was fairly instantaneous. They could do that during the lesson, they could do that at home where the children would be able to access that particular note, that voice note, at home.
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It meant that our children were able to respond to their teachers pretty quickly and they knew exactly what was expected of them to move their learning on the very next day and this obviously maximised the impact of children’s progress and attainment in their learning. Aside from voice notes, teachers very easily made can make annotations using an Apple pencil or just drawings to ensure that the feedback is very well exemplified using this tool.
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As a result of using Showbie within our day to day teaching and learning, teachers have really benefited from a reduced workload; they spend less time on marking and feedback but it has also meant that they spend more time on really effective planning so it has kind of made their daily workload more efficient. Students really benefit because teachers are giving them instant feedback; they know exactly what’s expected from them so that they can move their learning on the very next day even before the very next day because they are able to listen to these notes at home.
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It has also meant that their understanding of what’s expected from the teacher and what they need to do to move their learning on is deepened. Finally, for parents one of the key things for our parents and to maintain our relationships with home and school has been the increased transparency. With Showbie, our parents are able to see all the learning that is happening in the classroom for their child and they are able to see the feedback that is given to their child and the progress in their children’s learning every day.
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Quite often when teachers want to find out whether a child has mastered a concept instructions are sent in to Showbie for them to be able to create a tutorial video using an app called Explain Everything then that particular video created by that child is sent back into Showbie and the teacher is able to see and assess whether that child has mastered a concept. We recognise that all children are different and to ensure that we meet the needs of all children we are able to use different features to enhance their understanding and support their learning. So, for example, we could use voice notes to record children’s feedback in their home language.
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We could also do that with an English comparison for them. We could also use accessibility features for children to be able to zoom in for those who may have sight difficulties and children who might have English as an additional language can use Translate tools or the keyboard features that translate into different languages to support and enhance their understanding so that they are fully included in day to day teaching and learning.
In this video, Zainab Patel, Assistant Headteacher at Olive Tree School (primary), shares how pupils can benefit from audio feedback.
Zainab shares how her school made a move away from written feedback, where there was limited impact on learning and high workload for teachers, to recorded verbal feedback that would help pupils at school, especially pupils with English as an additional language to have greater clarity about the next steps in their learning. Use of voice notes enabled teachers to engage with marking for individual pupils much more efficiently and maximising the potential benefits of immediate feedback. Use of annotations alongside this verbal feedback helped with explanations (as we learned from research evidence in Week 2 of this course).
Thank you to Apple Education staff and Apple Distinguished Schools for creating this content.
If you’re interested in this approach, you may like to read an article written by the co-founder of the Olive Tree School, Abdul Chohan. He shares the benefits the school has experienced by digitising feedback.
The tools mentioned by Zainab are:
Whilst Zainab references the use of iPads, consider what might enable you to achieve similar in your own context if you don’t currently have a 1-1 iPad scheme.
If you choose to focus on this case study as part of this week’s learning, you can share your initial reflections and questions with the course community in the comments space below.
  • How might these approaches be applied in your own context to solve a challenge you’ve identified?
If you’re interested in using audio for more efficient feedback, you may be interested in taking a look at the ‘how to’ videos linked below and created by Harmeet Sahota and Kieran Briggs.
When you are ready click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘Microsoft OneNote for feedback in one place’ to see the next case study. Just keep clicking ‘Next’ until you arrive at a case study you’ve chosen to focus on this week.
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Using Technology in Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning

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