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The MA Project

The very reason this blog exists is because of my MA.  First there was twitter, which is where I discovered my course, a distance course in Digital Technology for Language Teaching at University of Nottingham via a tweet from the course director Cecilia Goria (+Cecilia Goria/ @CeciliaGoria

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="">#madtlt</a> deadline for scholarships applications for MA in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching - extended <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Cecilia Goria (@CeciliaGoria) <a href="">August 2, 2013</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

And then there was the first assignment - start and write a blog.   At first, I didn't have a clue where to start.  How do you even start a blog.  What's a tag?  How do I make it look good?  Initially I started with Edublog and moved here to Blogger.  I like that I can link to Google+ with this blog but I think it has some drawbacks.  I have started another blog for my school on WordPress where we share our good ideas and experiences (read more here) and that, in fact, is my favourite blog site. 
I've come a long way since my first days on the course and have discovered a wealth of wonderful tools that I use for myself and with my students.  Here's just a taster: 
  1. An iPad.  Yes, that's right.  Once I started the course I realised that there was so much I could do with an iPad (or tablet) in my lessons that I could not have done before.  This tool has transformed my lessons and what my students can do.
  2. Video Scribe.  Never imagined that I would have ever created something link this.  Here are my thoughts on how to get students to speak a foreign language
  3. Padlet.  How easy?  Sharing our ideas on this sharing wall.  Here's one I created with my students on Ecotourism.
  4. Popplet.  When we planned essays and worked on various topics we created mindmaps and asked each other questions and we did this using this very easy mind mapping tool.
  5. Wikispaces.  I created a whole course for my Year 10 French students using this excellent tool. 

I am now in the final stages (the uphill, over the Alps kind of stages) and am working on my Research Project which is looking at the impact of peer feedback on student revisions in a telecollaborative project.   So far, I have only done the first phase of my study but I plan to use these pages to write in an informal manner some of my thoughts about what I have discovered over the course of the project thus far.  Here's just some of what I will write about:

  1. The process of peer-feedback and the impact of this feedback on students' revisions
  2. Types of errors made
  3. The impact of peer feedback on second drafts
  4. Students' attitudes towards giving and receiving feedback

I am finding this an interesting project - I hope you will find it interesting too.  Please let me know your thoughts in the comments box below and check the pages tab on the right for any updates.

Feedback is only as good as...

A quick recap - this research project is looking at feedback.  For the research questions check this page (The MA Project).  I have been examining student perception of the feedback project and in particular different elements of feedback.  This aspect of the project involves two groups of students. 

A brief study of the quantitative and qualitative research thus far is giving me some idea of the problems students face when giving and receiving feedback.  Their thoughts and their perception about the whole process are very interesting and although my studies thus far are not conclusive (when are they ever?) I am able to reach some conclusions that I find interesting even if they cannot be considered statistically significant.  

Whilst 48% of those questioned found that peer feedback enabled them to improve the content of their essays compared to 24% who disagreed, it is interesting to note that the majority of affirmative responses came from the less able of the two sets.  Put simply the linguistically more able group were more aware of their peers' limited language proficiency and thus felt that they were given less information in order to improve the content of their redrafts.  
"I did not make progress as the feedback was often incorrect"
"The people marking us were a lower level and the corrections weren't always correct which was confusing."
Such comments were not rare and were not restricted to those top set students.  Those students in the second set giving feedback were well aware of their own limitations.

"I don't like it as you don't know a lot of French."
"I found it hard to give feedback if I didn`t know how to correct it." 
Thus, linguistic ability of a student is very important and students need scaffolding if they are to be successful in giving feedback.  Students need to trust each other and have faith both in themselves and in the feedback that is being given to them.  Such scaffolding will impact not only their ability to give feedback but also in how to make use of the feedback they have received. 

This difference between the two classes in their perception of the usefulness of student feedback is noticeable in other areas too.  However, this is a discussion for another day...

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