Our big update of the summer is here! You can now leave comments and feedback on every page of a book. And we don't just mean text comments...
We know that timely, relevant and personalized teacher feedback is vital to student progress. And with this update we've made this as engaging and fun as we possibly can!
This update is free to everyone using Book Creator online. Simply click on the + icon in the bottom right of the screen when on a page in Book Creator. Choose from a range of multimedia to give just the right feedback.
Unlike, for example, Google Docs, in Book Creator you can get creative with the type of feedback you want to give:
The importance of feedback
We know that you already understand the importance of giving feedback in Book Creator. In the past, we've seen teachers record audio or add little text boxes in the margins of the pages in Book Creator as a way of providing feedback to students. So this update is building on that to provide a much more structured and accessible way of achieving this.
An often cited article from John Hattie and Helen Timperley (2007, Review of Educational Research) demonstrated that the most influential factor in improving student achievement is feedback. But not just any feedback—the content and the way that teachers deliver feedback heavily influences the impact, too.
Timely, relevant and multimedia feedback
So how do we ensure that we're delivering feedback in the right way? In this article for ASCD, Dr. Monica Burns stresses the importance of relevant, actionable digital feedback, particularly given the virtual and hybrid learning environments that are much more prevalent these days.
Hattie and Timperley identified that there is huge benefit in being able to deliver in-lesson feedback as well as post-lesson. In Book Creator teachers will be able to have live conversations with their students using the comment feature, and will receive notifications to their Teacher Dashboard as soon as comments come in.
It's really important that we're giving quality, actionable feedback. It needs to be be specific too - perhaps referring back to the lesson instructions, or providing a specific link to a YouTube video for a student to follow up on.
Perhaps you'll link your feedback to your own rubric, or to a standards-aligned framework. The important thing is to have a clear and agreed vision of what constitutes a successful outcome for the student, so they know how to work towards that and how your feedback supports this. You might also consider how Book Creator can be effectively used for formative assessment.
If you've ever received a text message that you didn't quite understand, you'll know that it can be difficult to communicate the tone of your message with just words. This is why Monica Burns recommends using audio or video messaging to more clearly convey the feedback you want to give. She gives some great pointers for delivering effective audio and video feedback - for example, speaking clearly and slowly, and keeping audio messages to 15-30 seconds, or up to two minutes for video.
This personal touch with feedback is much more human and could be used to really motivate and encourage your learners. We'd really like you to have fun with it too! The classroom should be a place where kids love learning. If throwing in a few feedback stickers, emojis or even GIFs would engage your students - go for it! (But don't worry - these extra apps can be managed in the App Store settings if you don't want your kids to mess around with them!).
Book Creator is all about UDL, so giving you the full range of tools for commenting so you can differentiate your feedback and personalise your comments was very important to us. We really hope both you and your learners benefit from this new feature.
Learn more from Dr. Monica Burns in this webinar recording above. Dive deeper into the best ways to deliver great feedback, and learn about how to do this in Book Creator with the new features.
Keeping you in control
Just one more thing to add - some of you will be anxious to know what controls are in place to disable or manage student commenting. After all, if commenting is turned on for a book that all the class is collaborating on, this could lead to students getting distracted and dozens of notifications appearing in your dashboard.
Let the discussions on healthy digital citizenship commence!
If you do want to disable commenting, just click on the Comment Settings cog to turn off commenting. Rest assured you can view any deleted comments, plus students can't edit their comments once they've posted them - so if any of them are abusing the comments feature then you can easily track this.
So that's all you need to know on this latest feature update. It's only right that you post your feedback and comments below to tell us what you think!
Dan Kemp is the Marketing Director and has been working here since 2013. One of Dan’s favourite jobs is hearing the stories of how Book Creator is used to bring joy to classrooms all over the world, and he happily retells these stories on these pages!