As an admitted digital immigrant for whom modern technology does not come naturally, I have occasionally been slow to adapt to new tools. However, when I purchased a GPS (GlobalPositioning System) navigation device for my car, I read a lot of literature about the system and spoke with friends who talked about how helpful it was when they traveled. Once the device was in hand, I read the manual; I discovered that even for a digital immigrant it was relatively easy to follow.Soon it was placed on the dashboard of my car and provided clear visual and auditory directions to help me find my destination. The longer I used the GPS, the more comfortable I became with it, and the more I realized how helpful it was. On a recent trip, I listened to the voice explain how I could get to my designated address. As I waited at a stoplight, I realized that the GPS provided excellent feedback, made my trip more enjoyable, increased my confidence in using it, and made me feel more technologically savvy. The more I thought about the GPS device, the more I realized that its operation is a valid metaphor for how teachers should provide feedback to students in the learning process. I came to the conclusion that GPS (Global Positioning System) and GPF(Growth-Producing Feedback) have a lot in common. I started jotting down ways that they were similar and devised the comparison chart you see below:
The GPS system is merely one example of how feedback has become a vital part of our everyday lives. From the time they learn to playvideo games, children receive and expect feedback on how to move to the next level of the game. Numerous reality television shows determine outcomes based on feedback votes from viewers. As soon as a young person acquires his or her first cell phone or learns how to use a computer, instant messaging, text messaging, and responses from peers become a routine part of their day. And who among us has not completed an online survey, made an online purchase, received confirmation for a travel plan, or clicked on an FAQ icon to find an answer to a troubling question. In a world in which feedback is prolific and vital to our daily decision making, it seems only logical that our students should be receiving growth-producing feedback on a regular basis. As teachers assess learning and provide students with clear, detailed feedback, students better understand how to adjust their time and focus to meet learning benchmarks. As a result, they will be more motivated to learn, feel more empowered, will more readily fulfill learning goals, and their self-confidence will increase. Ask yourself: Is my GPF system operating at its peak proficiency?