Beyond the Red Pen: Transforming the Writing Feedback Process

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Location: Room 271-3
Experience live: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite
Watch recording: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite

Participate and share : Interactive session

Christopher Bugaj  
Amy Mayer  

Research and experience tell us that much of the feedback we give students makes little difference. And when students aren't using feedback to improve, we are wasting our nights and weekends. With technology, we can simultaneously save time and increase the effectiveness and transmission of feedback in the writing process.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Attendees should have the Google Chrome Browser which can be downloaded at If preferred, they may install the following extensions in advance of the session:
Topic: Assistive & adaptive technologies
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Language arts
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
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.
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session
Related exhibitors:

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this session is to help teachers think of the feedback part of the writing process in a new way that will be transformative for writing instruction. The current process is ineffective in that it is extremely time consuming and it's also only marginally effective, especially for the students who need writing instruction the most. In this session, teachers learn how to use an Artificial Intelligence tool from Texthelp called WriQ to allow students to get initial feedback. Then, teachers learn to provide both voice and video feedback. While many tools can be used for these purposes, we will demonstrate Read&Write and Screencastify. In addition, we help teachers reconsider the traditional model of giving final feedback only after the assignment is "over," as summative assessment data. If we change up this process and give the most feedback during the formative stage, it can be used for learning. This is a session I have offered many times; satisfaction ratings on it are close to 5 out of 5 from the teachers who have attended. These techniques work because they save time and make the process more logical and effective.


The timeline for this session depends on the format selected by the committee. I will list an outline for a 1 hour version of this session:
Initial Problem Introduction ~5 minutes
Audience gains access to student writing sample ~5 minutes
Audience practices a few traditional feedback methods using tools within Google Docs ~5 minutes
Brief discussion re traditional feedback method problems: too time consuming, feedback comes at the wrong time in the process (after the assignment is over), and primarily, that students do not actually integrate the feedback they receive. ~5 minutes
Installing WriQ, Read&Write, and Screencastify ~10 minutes
Demoing and Audience Practicing leaving voice comments in student writing ~5 minutes
Demoing and Audience Practicing using WriQ as a student to get Artificial Intelligence feedback on writing ~5 minutes
Demoing and Audience Practicing using Screencastify to provide formative feedback as a teacher ~10 minutes
Demoing and Audience Practicing using WriQ to provide summative feedback as a teacher ~10 minutes

Supporting research

As a writing teacher, I conducted my own research on using video to provide writing feedback. I found the following:
*While students would not/did not read the comments I was laboriously writing on their papers, they would consistently watch videos of the same feedback.
*Providing feedback using video is five times faster than writing it.
*Student writing improves much faster when feedback is given during the process so that it can immediately be implemented.
*Summative assessments can be provided much more simply since there will likely not be implementation based on the feedback at this stage of writing.

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Christopher Bugaj, Loudoun County Public Schools
ISTE Certified Educator

Christopher R. Bugaj, MA CCC‐SLP is a founding member of the Assistive Technology Team for Loudoun County Public Schools. Chris co-hosts the Talking With Tech podcast about using technology to design inclusive educational experiences for those who use augmentative/alternative communication. Chris is the author of The New Assistive Tech: Make Learning Awesome For All, published by ISTE, co-author of Inclusive Learning 365: EdTech Strategies for Every Day of the Year and The Practical (and Fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools.

Amy Mayer, friEdTechnology

Amy Mayer, the founder of friEdTechnology, is a nationally known speaker and trainer and a veteran public school educator and former English teacher who is a sworn enemy of standardization. friEdTechnology is a Google and Microsoft Professional Development Partner providing professional development and inspiration for educators across the land. Her greatest hope is that friEdTechnology sessions are ones you won’t want to leave but that will stick with you forever. When you learn with Amy and her team, you’ll understand why “friEdTechnology,” because everything is better fried.

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