It’s been my experience that kids hear teachers but listen to their peers. The smart teacher exploits this and makes peer review part of their classroom toolbox.
The problem with peer review can be that it is sometimes hard to gather all of the feedback in one easy, accessible place. Reams of paper get “lost,” often in the round file. Handwriting can be hard to read. Some kids feel reluctant to write because of their spelling or writing skills.
I decided to try using microblogging to address these issues, and found that Wallwisher fit the bill nicely. It has several features that make it compliant with the KISS model:
It’s easy to set up and customize. As a teacher, you don’t even need an account to create a wall. You CAN sign up if you want more options and control.
There are no logins for students. Students simply log into the address of the wall you created, click their mouse, and begin microblogging. They can identify themselves by name, or remain anonymous.
There is no advertising. No links to redirect or annoying popups.
Here’s how I used it:
My students are working on iMovie projects. They have a rubric but they don’t often refer to it. Before final drafts were due, I created a wallwisher wall for each group and put the links on the classroom site. In class, I gave each student a copy of the rubric and a brief overview of what good feedback is- both positive and negative.
I also took the opportunity to discuss good digital citizenship with wallwisher. It is very easy for students to post anonymous comments of a nasty nature. We discussed the merits of good online behavior, then moved on to the directions for appropriate use of the tool.
As the presenting group got their laptop hooked to the projector, the rest of the class went to the “wall” and reviewed the rubric. Students watched the movie and provided feedback that was directly related to the video and the rubric- one comment positive feedback and one constructive critisism. They were graded on the quality of their feedback to their peers. I added my own once students were finished.
Because student were limited to 160 characters, we talked about “txtng spllng”- that this was a time for content to trump conventions. The funny thing was, for the most part, they were interested in making their comments as understandable as possible.
Students now have a critique that they can use to improve their final draft. It’s in one place and easily accessible because it is linked to their classroom site. They also know “who said what” so that they can go to those students for either help or clarity. Engagement was high with this tool. We had 100% participation and very appropriate use. I highly recommend it.