So, my last post has generated some really great conversation in the comments. No easy answers, but lots to think about. As a result of one of those comments, I thought it might be good to solicit ideas from you guys on some of the ways you provide feedback for students on written work (in this case, thinking about the typical English paper, but it doesn't have to be). (Turnitin apparently does a nice job of facilitating that feedback and I don't have any angst over that part of the service :-).
Again, same caveat as on the last post, I'm not a Language Arts teacher and I do not claim to have any special pedagogical insight into providing feedback on papers. Let's also agree to stipulate that one-on-one conferences with each student to go over their writing is better than anything we're going to submit here.
But, given that it's next to impossible in most schools to have the time to do those one-to-one conferences with every student with every piece of writing, there is a need to provide some kind of feedback that's asynchronous. That's what I'd love to have you address in the comments: what strategies, tools and techniques have you used to best accomplish this?
So, from my non-Language-Arts-teacher perspective, my initial thought of the best way to provide feedback would look like this. The teacher reviews the student's writing on an iPad or similar tablet. This allows them to directly annotate on the written work just like they previously have on a written/printed document. But as they read through and annotate, they record a screencast that allows them to also record their verbal feedback, explaining the annotations and giving them more depth.
To me, that seems like it provides all the functionality of annotations (on either a written/printed piece or an electronic piece submitted somewhere like Turnitin) while also providing some (not all) of the benefits of a writing conference with the student. It also wouldn't take any more time than the traditional grading/annotating of a paper. (Okay, it would take a bit more time to encode and then upload the video for the student to review, but I don't see that as a huge time commitment. I could be wrong.)
So, Language Arts folks, what ways have you found to do this well? What about my proposed solution above doesn't work for you (or how would you improve it)? Would love to hear your thoughts.