Feedback - Instant and easy with the G Suite!

In my interview with Acting Deputy Principal Ed Cuthbertson and Head of English/HASS/LOTE Prue Gill from Lanyon High School, they were very modest about the ways they are using the G Suite in their school. For them and the staff at their school, the use of the G Suite has become “a habit and it’s just what we do”, Prue Gill. It seems to seamlessly be incorporated as a part of school life at Lanyon High School.

The school began using the G Suite early in 2015 and by 2016 all staff were using it, particularly Google Classroom and Google Drive. Early adopters of the technology found that the contact with students was heightened and it supported lesson organisation.

As a starting point, staff were encouraged to complete reflections at staff meetings which provided real-time feedback to the school executive as to the thoughts and understandings of staff. Hence, they used this information to change track during meetings and/or prepare for future meetings. This also helped staff to familiarise themselves with the use of the ICT the school was hoping to be used to support student learning and it began the change in approach to feedback the school were starting.

Students receive instant feedback while completing maths problems.
Both Ed and Prue discussed different ways they are using aspects of the G Suite to provide feedback to students. Ed teaches maths and loves using ‘Conditional-formatting’ in Google Sheets with his students. Basically, the students are given maths problems to solve and when they answer the question the program tells them if they are correct or incorrect. Ed says this type of instant feedback allows him to “get to students before they fail” as typically students would not find out if they had the correct answer until the next day (provided the teacher had time to mark them that night!) During the lesson, students can ask questions and clarify their understandings with the teacher if they are not sure why they are getting an incorrect answer. Likewise, the teacher can see which students may be in need of extra support. I’m sure this would lessen quite a bit of student frustration and perhaps giving up - isn’t this a fantastic way to support student learning!

Lanyon High School Students
Prue teaches English and is very familiar with students having difficulty editing their own work. She makes good use of the ‘Comments’ feature in Google Docs, again providing instant formative feedback to her students. Another feature she readily uses is the ‘Read and Write’ Google AddOn. We’ve all had students who tell us they have finished and when asked if they read through their own work we may get an honest “No” or a sheepish “Yes”.

Apart from being able to track changes in a Google Doc and see what editing students have done to their work, Prue asks students to listen to their work. She says that when students use the ‘Read and Write’ AddOn to listen to their written work being read back to them, “They are quick to pick up mistakes and notice if a comma or punctuation is needed.” Prue also uses Google Classrooms to communicate with her students and provided support, as shown in the image below:

Teacher Prue Gill's Year 10 Advanced English Google Classroom.

Another way feedback is used in the school is for teacher’s Professional Learning. Currently executive teachers observe teachers in their classrooms and take notes using a Google Form. Teachers are provided with the criteria the executive staff will be looking for prior to the observation and the executive team find the form a simple way to document what they see in the classroom. Ed mentioned a focus the school had on an aspect of teaching and after they collated the completed observations (quite easily with Google Forms) they shared this with teachers at a staff meeting and this knowledge allowed teachers to reflect on their own practice.

Thank you for sharing Ed and Prue, I’m sure others schools will get some great ideas from the work you are doing at Lanyon High School!