Dragons’ Dictating

[by Roger Loxley]

I’ve been trying out the use of the Dragon Dictation app as a way to make giving feedback easier and more meaningful. I think it’s quite effective thus far.

So, I set an essay and mark them when they come in. But, I don’t write any comments or feedback on the essays, just using annotations to identify good points, analysis and evaluation.

Then I dictate a feedback comment on the app and email it to myself. It’s quite accurate and doesn’t require too much editing.

dragon

These comments I then collate into a word document and print a sheet per essay and pin it to the front.

Advantages:

  • I hate handwriting comments. My handwriting is fairly close to illegible (because I type so much these days) and it frustrates me, so I write only brief comments. This way I am giving feedback in excess of 200 words, sometimes as much as 350, and it takes no more time than writing comments.
  • I keep the feedback so I can compare one essay with another. Far easier to do this with dictation than with handwritten comments.
  • It means that both I and the student can see all the feedback one comment after another. It makes gauging progress so much easier and also means that I can tailor my feedback to focus on repeated areas for development or where something has been put right.
  • It makes the feedback very personal to the student and highly differentiated. Gone is the “well done” at the top of the essay: in its place is a very personalised comment about their own progress.

I tie this in with another technique for scaffolding assistance. I have an overall crib sheet that shows what needs to be included in an essay. There are three different types of crib sheet – the “all-inclusive” (which has pretty much everything), the “half-board” (which has a detailed outline) and the “self-catering” (which has only brief notes). The student reviews the feedback on the basis of which scaffold sheet they used and then picks an appropriate scaffold sheet for the next piece of work. The essay identifies which scaffold was used. Clearly the intention is that they will be able to produce high quality essays without the use of any scaffold at the end of the process.

So far it’s been quite effective and the quality of the essays I’ve been getting has been high and progress has been clear.

Ticks quite a few boxes!

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