How Important is Feedback in Maintaining Student Interest?

In a recent New York Times article titled “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction” author Matt Richtel speculates on the reasons for students’ perceived inattentiveness toward their classroom instruction, proposing that the increased multitasking of today’s socially wired students inhibits their ability to internalize and even prioritize their classwork. One factor in maintaining a student’s interest level jumped right out at me:

For Vishal, there’s another clear difference between filmmaking and homework: interactivity. As he edits, the windows on the screen come alive; every few seconds, he clicks the mouse to make tiny changes to the lighting and flow of the images, and the software gives him constant feedback.

“I click and something happens,” he says, explaining that, by comparison, reading a book or doing homework is less exciting. “I guess it goes back to the immediate gratification thing.”

At SAGrader we’re big fans of feedback. In fact, fast and accurate feedback is one of the top priorities for our product. What do you think? Are static mediums doing enough to capture our student’s attention? Should more teaching strategies encourage interactive content? Sound off in the comment section below!

  • I see two different issues here. One is about student engagement through interactivity. This means that the methods you use should be active, promoting action, original thinking, movement, etc. The other is about topical feedback, which involves teaching the student about a specific subject through assessment. Put these together…and you’re in good shape!