What I’d Make: Writing Instruction and Peer Feedback

This week, we were asked to pitch our ideas for David Dockterman’s Innovation by Design: Projects in Educational Technology. Here’s mine. I’d love feedback from the community to help visualize this.

"Hi there! I’m interested in writing instruction and peer assessment loops around it. To wit:

Problem: Students learn best when they’re engaged with each other, but writing is primarily a solitary process.
Problem: Teachers burn out in grading writing assignments, and many give the most feedback to the best writers.
Problem: Writing skills are culturally valued, but science and math instructors might not give writing assignments if they have to grade it.

Peer feedback is a smooth way to scale writing assignments for in-classroom and out. I think there’s place for peer evaluation that smoothly integrates with tools instructors already use. Especially if it’s free or very affordable.

That feedback needs to be aggregated in a way that’s useful for instructors–on some sort of rubric that’s student-facing. Many schools have GoogleApps accounts–maybe a plug-in or overlay for embedded comments?

The competition here is either outdated or very expensive (Pearson product). There are a few folks at The Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia who’d be happy to help us test.

Do you agree that there’s a need? Do you patently disagree? Do you have another take on it? Ping me and let’s hack."

Dockterman’s a really great instructor–he’s encouraged us to focus on the problems we see and experience (instead of the technology alone). So, we’re still in the process of refining our "problem." This project may end up completely different from this proposal! And that’s totally OK.


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