Before checking in with students for the first time, it is important to remember that reflection is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. We can not make assumptions that students’ capacity to critically engage with their learning improves with age. Nor can we assume that when presented with a series of prompts on a check-in form, students will know how to apply their thinking to the task in a manner that supports them in sharing what they have learned, what they need to improve, or selecting strategies that they believe would move their learning forward.
As teachers, we can help our students learn to reflect by providing them with frequent and purposeful opportunities to do so. Reflection should not be something that students only do once in a while. It should be seen as a valuable and regular part of the learning process.
The following video was filmed in a series of classrooms where students were using Verso Check-in for the first time. The students were given an introduction to the process and how each question required them to think and respond. The teacher introduction was designed to help students who were new to the process to avoid some common pitfalls. Specifically, students were asked to be precise and thoughtful. They were given possible sentence starters such as “I learned that…”, and reminded of the difference between sharing what they did as opposed to sharing what they had learned in the lesson. Finally, you will see that students were asked to use evidence to support their self-assessment and to be specific when seeking support from the teacher.
A common problem with remote and blended learning is losing the connection with students. This short video demonstrates how to use Verso to give and receive feedback or work samples from students using images, videos or audio files when they are working from home or in a blended learning classroom. This helps them to maintain a personal connection with their teacher and for teachers to provide personalised feedback.
It shows how teachers can quickly create a collaborative Activity in Verso to provide instructions and model responses for students to use as well as vocabulary they can use to respond. It shows how teachers can allow students to respond using images, audio or video and how teachers can do the same if they wish.
Another challenge with remote learning and blended classrooms is teachers are unable to listen to students responses this is particularly important for english, literacy, modern languages and ELA classes. It also has application for early year students who may not yet be able to respond using text.
This video demonstrates how teachers can use Verso activities to simply enable speaking and listening for students working from home. Teachers can upload a stimulus image, audio or video file and then get the students to respond and then connect with other students and respond to them using audio, video or photos taken directly from a mobile device, iPad or computer.
“Ambiguity in expectations of what success looks like in any process, task or product diminishes learning” (Fisher and Frey 2021)
When learners have clarity, they understand where they are going in their learning and are in a position to select the tools and strategies that will be most useful on their learning journey. They have the knowledge and skills required to think critically and make decisions about what is important, to take notes, engage with evidence, and seek specific feedback as they monitor and adjust their own learning.
In short students are empowered to answer these three critical questions:
Teachers have multiple strategies to engage students with learning objectives and success criteria, ranging from writing them on the whiteboard at the start of the lesson to co-constructing success criteria with students. However research indicates that the majority of students still struggle to answer these guiding questions for any given lesson as they are more focused on the task rather than the learning.
Which strategies are you or your colleagues using to connect students more closely with the what, why and how,; whether online, remote or in more traditional classroom settings?
Whichever strategies teachers use, it is important that they evaluate the extent to which they are making a difference. The way they are planned and executed is not always in alignment with how they are received by students.
Try running a Verso Check-in with your students and gain insight into the extent to which each of your students are equipped to monitor and advance their own learning.
Verso uses Machine Learning (ML) to code student-voice from the classroom to help teachers understand their impact and support student engagement.
Verso Learning has used the data from over 4.3 million student responses to inform the development of a supervised machine learning algorithm. This unique application has been designed to automatically code and display student reflection data in a way that helps teachers to instantly connect student feedback with their contextual expertise in order to understand their impact and meet the needs of individual students.
The supervised machine learning reads each of the student responses in the Verso Check-in and displays the extent to which individual students:
Teachers around the world are using the Verso dashboards to instantly identify the individual needs of their students and inform rapid adjustments to practice. Using this data in PLCs, teachers are developing a shared understanding of what works in the classroom, setting professional goals and measuring the impact of their practice.