The Battle of Waterloo, it is said*, was won on the playing fields of Eton. Building character, not imparting knowledge, was traditionally seen as the primary task of the British public school and, subsequently, its state-funded inheritors. The quintessential attitude was sportsmanship. Not winning or losing, but playing the game right.
As time went on knowledge and skills came to be valued equally, as they should be, but somehow that pendulum just kept on swinging and now Continue reading
When students misspell a common word, what is driving the error? I analysed 35,000 Peer Feedback entries in which the student had intended to write “wrong” and found 1614 instances of misspellings – about 5% of the total.
Of the misspellings,
- 62% entered “rong”, a phonetic error
- 27% entered “worng”, a typographical error.
My own spelling changed from atrocious to moderately good overnight, when a psychologist colleague taught me the visual spelling strategy. It looks like a good proportion of these students could still benefit from the same thing. The rest just need to learn touch typing.
And here it is. Patents are written in a language that is absolutely mind-numbing to the rest of us so I’ll forgive you for not reading it. Basically what it covers is our Thurstone Ranking approach to peer assessment system, which is absolutely unique in the world.
We applied for this patent four years ago so it has been a long slog to get it granted. You can imagine that corks are popping at Yacapaca HQ tonight.
We have had a small problem recently with some students trolling the Peer Feedback system. If you are a teacher, you will know well that student empowerment can come at the cost of students being empowered to do the things they want and not the things you want.
95% of these inappropriate comments got caught by our filters and human moderators, so it wasn’t a major issue, but I felt it was time to reverse the trend. I wrote to our power users – the teachers who set the most assignments, and who therefore, statistically, must be teaching the largest number of trolls. I showed them where to check their students’ Peer Feedback statements, and asked them to address any issues they found with their own students.
I got a lot of really great responses from teachers, and even a few apology letters from students, but my favourite response came from Zahid Razzak at The British International School, Abu Dhabi. Here’s what he said
Many thanks for sending me those lists, I will certainly use this as an opportunity for a constructive lesson on how to provide feedback to others and netiquette.
That’s the way to turn a problem into an opportunity!
To check your own students’ Peer Feedback statements: