Wednesday, July 8, 2020

A Feedback Loop with Floop

In my live classroom, when students encounter a new concept, I check homework for completion and provide feedback (correct answers, worked solutions, answers to their questions) in real time. In my remote pandemic classroom, this was something I let go. I still provided answers and worked solutions, but I didn't require students to turn in their work, partly because I didn't have an efficient way to check it. I think that changed this week with my discovery of Floop.

Floop is a web-based feedback tool. With a couple of clicks, you create a class. Give the join code to your students so they can join with an email address. Create an assignment. Students upload their work, as an image or a PDF or from Google Drive, and submit.

Teacher goes into the class and assignment. Click on a student's work to provide feedback. This part was REALLY easy. Simply click anywhere on the work to leave feedback. A panel on the right will record your comments. With the flip of a toggle, you can easily add comments to bank (or not). This is great for those things we say over and over again (units! sig figs! show your work!). After you have the comments in a bank, you can just click and drag them onto the student work, so it is EASY to reuse your comments. When the student opens the assignment, s/he can click on the colored dots on the work to see the comments. Students can reply to the comments, too.

So far, it seems like a typical feedback tool, but Floop goes a couple of steps further. Floop is designed around the idea that providing prompt feedback and allowing students to act on it, while helping them receive and provide feedback will net bigger gains in a classroom than merely providing feedback alone. Once everyone has submitted work, a Peer Review can be conducted. The teacher can ask peers to look for something particular or keep it general. Peers provide and receive feedback anonymously with guiding questions from Floop. Students are prompted to support their opinion of the work with evidence, suggest improvements, and celebrate positive features. Following the review, the teacher can see all the feedback a student gave and received.

Student submits work and feedback is received. In order to complete the feedback loop, students can resubmit. Floop makes this very easy with the addition of a Resubmit button once a student has submitted the first time and feedback has been received. The teacher will then be able to click through all the versions of the assignment for each student. I probably wouldn't use this feature on my nightly homework assignments, but it would be great for lab reports or other similar assignments that might involve a couple of drafts.

Floop has been free for the 2019-2020 school year. Next year, it will be $7 per month if you pay for an entire year or $10 per month if you pay for a month at a time. They offer a referral program too, so if you subscribe and refer others, they get a discount and you earn credits. Want a discount on Floop for yourself? My referral code is kkvtly7. Type that in when you pay for it for $10 off.

Things I liked about Floop:
  • It passed the 15 minute test. In 15 minutes, I had a class and assignment ready to go and was looking at sample work (that I submitted as sample students from a separate account). The interface is clean and intuitive. Easy to use, both in terms of technology expertise (hardly any required) and functionality of the tool.
  • The price is right. I don't know if I would pay $80, but at $40, it feels worth it to have a solution for seeing my students' homework assignments - in their handwriting - and efficiently provide feedback.
  • I have not used a technology tool in my classroom for peer review. This one has that feature with built-in supports to help provide meaningful feedback.
  • This tool is based on research about feedback. It was created by a STEM teacher to fill a gap she saw in education.

When we teach remotely next year, I will definitely ask my students to upload their homework through Floop. Then I can check and offer feedback from my remote location. To prepare for this, I will likely introduce Floop and get them using it for other assignments too so it becomes part of our routine. I am looking forward to using this one next year!