Faster SMART feedback with audio notes

Providing students with meaningful feedback can greatly enhance their learning and achievement. Let’s look into the importance of feedback and learn how we can use audio notes to save time.

Why Feedback matters

“Send a strong signal to students that they care about their point of view, while also creating opportunities to model how to productively receive and respond to feedback,”

Carly Robinson

Let’s start this blog post with some facts and research! Feedback is important, better yet, it’s an incredibly important step in the learning process for our students. With this understanding comes a long list of studies and research covering the best ways to give feedback depending on our student’s age, background, experience, and abilities.

When schools create a culture of feedback, they “send a strong signal to students that they care about their point of view, while also creating opportunities to model how to productively receive and respond to feedback,” according to educational researcher Carly Robinson, a Ph.D. student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. All teachers will agree with this and have been shouting about the important of feedback.

So what should our feedback look like? One simple but useful framework can be captured in the acronym SMART: giving feedback that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based.

This is not a new idea, and interestingly doesn’t stem from teachers, or educational researcher. Better yet, its origins can be traced back to Peter Drucker’s ideas on setting SMART goals in his books, where he talks about Management by Objectives.

The first known use of the term occurs in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. Since then, Professor Robert S. Rubin (Saint Louis University) wrote about SMART in an article for The Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology. However, since then, some authors have expanded it to include 2 additional focus areas; Evaluated and Reviewed, to make the acronym SMARTER.

So here we see how research based in Management and Psychology easily translates to the classroom and gives us a framework to provide the SMART feedback to our students, effectively enabling them to grow.

Give feedback faster

All of this brings me to my main point; SMART feedback takes time. A LOT of time. And that where Mote comes in. Mote is an extension for Chrome that will transform the way you give feedback. Where previously you may have left a comment on a Google Document, or sent a short email back to give your feedback. Mote let’s you do this with Audio! Speaking and giving your verbal feedback is made incredibly easy with this extension and thus will save you time.

Combining it with in depth SMART feedback it becomes an incredibly powerful tool for learning. Mote note can be up to 30 sec long for their free plan, and up to 90 second for the premium. At the moment you can insert these into Google Docs, GMail, Google Classroom, and most recently Google Forms! It just keep on getting better and better.

Because you can leave audio notes, you are able to leave your feedback faster and the students have access to it in no time!

This research project, from the University of Minnesota, shows how students receiving lots of immediate feedback are better able to comprehend the material they have just read.

Another study titled, ‘Timing Matters: The Impact of Immediate and Delayed Feedback on Artificial Language Learning‘ found that participants who were given immediate feedback showed a significant increase in performance when compared to those who received feedback much later.

Taken together, our data suggest that one of the reasons why delayed feedback is less effective for artificial grammar learning (AGL) is interference arising from conflicting information of alternative rule sets held in working memory during the delay. This underscores the importance of timely feedback, especially when stimulus complexity and/or task requirements are very demanding.

Opitz, Ferdinand and Mecklinger in their paper on Immediate and Delayed Feedback on Artificial Language Learning

How to use Mote to give feedback

Scrolling down you will find vieo tutorials and guides to get started with Mote in your classroom.

Get Mote ready

The first step before you can start using Mote will be to navigate to the Mote website and install the Chrome extension. If you are on a school domain, you may have to contact your domain administrators to have this extension installed.

Link Mote to Google Account
Linking your accounts

After having installed the extension, a restart of the browser is needed and you are good to go! Open up your browser and find the Mote set up page. Here it is important you sign into your School Google account. (Or personal account if you use Mote outside of school)

Select the School Google account for Mote
Select your school account

Follow the steps to link your Google Account to the Mote account.

Fill out the Mote questionnaire
Fill out the Mote questionnaire

You will be asked a few questions about how you are using Mote. Using your answers Mote will give you access to the right features and tips or tricks. It also helps them better understand their users for future updates.

Mote extension
Mote extension

Once completed, you can always fin the Mote menu at the top, with all your other extensions.

Mote is asking for access to your microphone.
Mote is asking for access to your microphone.

It is important you give Mote access to your microphone to let it record voice notes. When prompted, click on accept.

Mote menu
Mote menu

The Mote menu gives you access to your recent Mote notes, account details, and let’s you change the way Mote works with your account(Settings, transcription, STEM mode)

Start using Mote in Google Docs

In the following video I show you how mote works in Google Docs. If you prefer to follow a step by step plan, scroll down and find written instructions on using Mote.

Voice notes in Google Docs (Perfect for Feedback)

With Mote installed and ready to use, open a Google Doc.

As you navigate around the page, you can highlight any word, sentence, or paragraph to add a comment.

Add a comment in Google Docs
Add a comment in Google Docs

In the comment box, select the Mote icon to record your Mote note.

Find the Mote icon to record your voice in Comments
Find the Mote icon to record your voice

Premium account will have 90 sec available and free users can use up to 30 seconds. There is no limit to how many Mote notes you can record and leave.

Mote voice notes in Google docs

When you have finished recording your feedback, click on Done.

Edit your transcript and listen to your note.
Edit your transcript and listen to your note.

You can now listen to your Mote voice note, download the file and edit the transcript(Premium feature) by clicking on the pen icon.

Listen to the mote note.
Preview the file

If you do not see a transcript of your note, first enable this in the Mote menu as shown here. STEM Mode will enable you to use Mathematical formulas in your spoken notes.

Enable transcriptions and STEM mode in Mote
Enable transcriptions and STEM mode in Mote

Faster feedback in Google Slides

As mentioned above, Mote is also available in Google Slides, which already had a way of importing audio. However, this was time consuming and frankly, not very user friendly. Mote simplifies this process by automatically taking care of the recording, uploading, AND embedding steps.

In other words, you are saving even more time!

Here is a video on how Mote for Google Slides works. If you prefer to read and see a written guide, scroll down.

Video Tutorial on Using Mote for Slides

Follow these steps to give better and faster feedback in Google Slides.

Mote in Google slides
Mote permissions in Google slides

Mote in Slides needs some additional permissions to work correctly. Click on next to navigate to the Mote website.

Link your accounts

Make sure you sign in with your School account.

Drive access for Mote
Slides access for mote

Additional permission are needed for Mote to host and store the recorded audio file on your Google Drive. The permission granted allows Mote to do this.

Confirm permission to link Mote and Drive

Finish the Mote setup (This only has to be done once)

Record a voice note in google slides

When you click the Mote icon at the top, you can record your message. Free accounts record up to 30 seconds, Premium accounts 90 seconds.

Preview and insert the Mote note into Google Slides

Preview your audio file and if you are happy, select Insert to upload the file and insert it into the slide.

Change the playback settings in Google Slides

You will see your note with a play icon on the slide. When selected you have additional settings at the right.

More ways of giving feedback with audio

But wait, there’s more! (Sounding cheesy but still super excited)

Mote also work within you GMail, Google Classroom, AND Forms. It just keep getting better over time. Part of this is is because Mote is a young and fast growing company with many educators involved. They actively listen to their community and have both a certified and Ambassador program to make sure they stay connected to, and connected with their user base. Teachers and students at schools!

Find the Mote icon in Gmail

When composing a new email, find the mote icon at the bottom.

Recording a Mote note in Gmail

When clicked, Mote will begin recording your voice note. Click the Mote icon again to stop recording.

Mote notes in Gmail

The voice note is added into your mail. Click on the three dots to edit your note and view the transcript.

Edit the transcript in Mote for GMail

When editing your transcript, Mote let’s you auto translate the transcript for parents and students.

Auto translate Mote transcripts

To translate a message, click on the language icon and select your target language.

Involve student in the Process

Professor James Pennebaker from the University of Texas at Austin has been researching the benefits of frequent testing and the feedback it leads to. 

Involving your students and learners in the process of collecting and analyzing performance-based data cannot be understated. Pennebaker states, “Students must be given access to information about their performance… At the broadest level, students need to know if they actually have mastered the material or not. Giving them information about the ways they are studying, reading, searching for information, or answering questions can be invaluable.”

Source: 5 Research-Based Tips for Providing Students with Meaningful Feedback | Edutopia

Using Mote your students will not only receive feedback, but they can use voice notes to reflect on their learning, the areas they have improved in. Or respond to the feedback given, and give feedback to each others work during group projects.

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