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Tablet technology is an emergent mobile technology, which has had a major impact on the consumer electronics market and is increasingly being applied to educational contexts. A large scale educationally targeted deployment of this technology is underway, even though an academic analysis of its application to educational environments has yet to take place to any significant degree. As part of a faculty wide investigation into the use of tablet technology in the Higher Education (HE) environment, this study focuses on tutor generation of feedback using tablet technology, specifically the iPad. This work will reflect on the issues surrounding student engagement with feedback and will go on to investigate how electronic feedback generated using tablet technology may address some of these issues.
Feedback is central to student learning (Black & Wiliam, 1998) and yet due to resource restraints, has reduced in frequency, quality and timeliness (Gibbs & Simpson, 2004). It is also evident that students do not interface with feedback as effectively as one might hope. In many cases students misunderstand (Higgins, 2001), do not implement (Sadler, 2010) or even do not access (Mutch, 2003) their feedback. Electronic feedback has been shown to be effective in minimising tutor workload, increasing feedback legibility and increasing student value of feedback (Denton et al, 2008).
Discussion is centred on data generated from students and tutors involved in a large cohort, Masters of Education course. Feedback was generated by several tutors, using a combination of the iPad and a PDF annotation 'app'. Tutor perceptions of using the technology and how it has impacted upon their feedback is presented, along with an analysis of student perceptions. Tutors discuss how the technology has increased personalisation, efficiency of generation, accuracy and student value of their feedback. Student data is approached using Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick’s (2006) seven principles of good feedback as a framework for analysis and evidence is presented that this mode of feedback delivery, facilitates the achievement of good feedback and supports student learning.