In this new age of online teaching, members of the English department at Scarborough College have had to adapt their usual methods of teaching to online platforms. Given the short space of time they have had to prepare the first time, they have been very successful at this. They realised, however, that there were ways in which they could improve their online lessons and that there were new technological developments they could try.
Though this can be said of most, if not all subjects, teaching English online is particularly difficult. A lot depends on the engagement between pupils and teachers. This is communicated by facial expressions, body language and a myriad of small interactions that go on in classrooms up and down the country. In teaching and learning, communication is key and so being forced to find new ways to do so, for example because of a move to online learning, presents a tricky challenge.
As with so many schools everywhere, staff at Scarborough College continue to share ideas and many were particularly grateful for Mrs Ellis, Ms Grice and Mr Cashell sharing their ideas about Google Chrome Extension that facilitated the use of verbal feedback to work on Google Classrooms. Mote, as it is called, may well be a life saver.
We hear you asking. Many of us said the same thing, ‘What on earth is Mote?’ The Mote extension, explained in some detailed in this YouTube video, allows teachers to provide high quality feedback verbally rather than in writing. Feedback is an interesting issue when it comes to English and other subjects in which pupils produce a lot of discursive work such as essays. Marking Google Docs or Slides has proved to be much more time consuming than marking on paper. Providing verbal feedback and, crucially, being able to retain a record of this feedback, saves us more time than we could have imagined. As such, it gives us more time to conduct Google Meets and prepare work for our students.
Installing Mote is necessary but easily done on Google Chrome. Once added, the teacher can mark work and record feedback, telling pupils exactly what went well in their work and what needs to be improved. Pupils can listen to this feedback as often as they want but the main advantage is reassurance. Hearing the teacher’s voice keeps pupils connected. It makes the process of receiving feedback much more personal.
Ms Walsh is currently trialling Mote in her Year 8 class who told her they thought it was a good idea. On a pupil’s document, Mote feedback looks like this:
By clicking on the ‘play’ button, the pupil will hear Ms Walsh’s voice, informing them about their work. It’s interactive, it saves time and it provides a little personal touch in a virtual world. According to Ms Walsh, it is one kind of technology that a teacher can definitely get on board with.
Thank you to Ms Walsh for sending in her feedback (in writing, this time) about working with Mote