Constructor Lab
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Ramping Up Revision: Teaching Targeted Peer Review

Location: W192b

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : BYOD

Tuesday, June 26, 10:15–11:15 am
Location: W192b

Dr. Troy Hicks  
Discuss research-based strategies for successful peer review and revision and explore how digital tools can facilitate this process for students. Explore different tools and teaching practices, including Google Docs, Draftback, Voxer and Writable, which can help provide the ongoing, formative feedback needed for student growth.

Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Google Suite for Education/Google Account, Draftback:, Writable (accessible in the browser at, Voxer:
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Online tools, apps and resources
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
Creative Communicator
  • Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
Global Collaborator
  • Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Many teachers have turned to writer’s workshop models to help engage students in writing and help them write more. However, while they are engaged in writing, students need timely, specific, and goal-oriented feedback to grow as writers. This can be difficult in large classrooms, where each student has different needs and faces different challenges. Digital tools are perfect for delivering the ongoing, personalized scaffolding and formative feedback that are the hallmarks of a traditional writer’s workshop. During this session, we will learn how to use tools and resources (text, audio, and video) for designing, personalizing, and facilitating the review and revision process in a digital age writer's workshop.

We’ll start by looking at Google Docs and how the different features offered can help with delivery of feedback and tracking revisions. Participants can follow along with the demo and will be given a chance to try “Draftback”, a Google add-on that can help them see revisions at a glance. Then, we’ll use Writable to look at how scaffolded peer reviews can yield quality feedback for writers. Participants will be asked to join the session “class” in Writable as students, so they can experience the peer review and revision process. Finally, we’ll look at Voxer as a way to provide meaningful feedback in a more casual way that struggling students find accessible.

Teachers should leave the session with an increased understanding of what makes for effective review and revision as well as basic knowledge of the tools used in the session.


CONTENT & ACTIVITIES: The session will start with an ice-breaker, followed by a summary of some of the latest questions/challenges in providing better feedback and driving student revision. Then, participants will be introduced to a few writing tools they will have a chance to try as writers or reviewers. The session will follow the following format:

Participants will discuss research-based elements of successful writing instruction and explore how these practices are enhanced by technology
Participants will explore a variety of digital tools to provide students with textual, audio, and video feedback on their writing
Participants will utilize the tools of their choice, emulating the feedback process as both teachers and students

TIME: Depending on the size of the audience and room available, teachers will spend 10 mins in an overview whole-group session, and then the remaining 40 mins in 2-3 small break-out station rotations, focusing on an activity and tool in each one. If we’re in a larger room, Dr. Hicks will lead teachers through the “hands on” exploration as a whole group.

PROCESS: Teachers will divide by grade band or experience level with digital writing. After a short ice-breaker activity, teachers will go through 2 stations: one focused on the writing and peer review process and one focused on the feedback process. Again, if the session is larger without room for breakouts, teachers will walk through activities in whole group.

Supporting research

Becoming a successful writer is crucial to a student’s overall trajectory in school, work, and life. However, writing proficiency remains an elusive goal for most students, with only 27% of students scoring Proficient and just over 50% writing at a Basic level, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. We know that students need to practice writing consistently to improve, but we also know that targeted feedback leads students to revise with intention, a key component of achieving growth and proficiency.

Graham and Perin (“Writing next: Effective strategies to improve writing of adolescents in middle and high schools”, 2007) note the some of strongest influences in writing achievement include: 1) Strategies that explicitly teach “planning, revising, and editing”, and 2) Goals that are assigned to students and are reachable during the broader writing process, including revision.

In addition to Graham and Perin’s analysis, numerous professional organizations advocate for college- and career-ready writers who work “diligently over time, practicing many habits of mind such as curiosity, persistence, and flexibility” (Council of Writing Program Administrators, National Council of Teachers of English, & National Writing Project, 2011). The writer’s workshop model attempts to nurture this curiosity and flexibility by using student-centric goals and well-timed teacher feedback. Finally, we have growing body of pragmatic evidence from teachers and researchers, such as Carmen E. Sanchez, Steve Graham, Dolores Perin, Karl Wiggins, Gregory J. Cizek, John Hattie, and Helen Timperley, who suggest that the feedback students receive must be goal-referenced, tangible and transparent, actionable, user-friendly, timely, ongoing, and consistent in order to contribute to their growth as writers. Specific to peer review, Sanchez and her colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 33 articles that evaluated the effects of self- and peer-grading in 3rd through 12th grade classrooms, finding that the “studies demonstrated that both self- and peer- grading positively affected subsequent achievement performance” (Sanchez, 2017).

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Dr. Troy Hicks, Central Michigan University

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