Feedback is a constant dialogue at eye level

“Feedback for us means improving through feedback. Because if you’ve stopped getting better, you’ve stopped being good.

Andreas Dietwald and Dagmar Louran-Pergantis, Goethe-Gymnasium Kassel, Germany

Why did you choose Edkimo at your school?

Prior to the introduction of Edkimo, we initially worked with paper questionnaires in 2010 until the working group responsible for organizing the school feedback processes developed its own online questionnaire in 2011. This was usable through the use of a special survey internet site, but required an access code for each participating student, which was distributed by the teachers. If the codes were lost, replacements were difficult to obtain, and students were given separate access for each subject. Use of the site incurred regular costs and required maintenance. The system worked, but was just quite complicated and not adaptable to the situation.
With Edkimo, we were immediately attracted by the high level of user-friendliness: students can answer questionnaires directly with their smartphones, and even colleagues who are not tech-savvy can quickly get to grips with Edkimo. The app allows situational feedback and can be customized according to requirements. When Sebastian Waack, who had found us through our feedback website, contacted us at the end of 2014, we were therefore happy to test the Edkimo app as a pilot school and jointly develop it further for school practice.

How was feedback solicited at your school beforehand?

Since 2011, the Goethe-Gymnasium Kassel has been conducting regular and binding feedback processes on several levels: Student feedback, feedback from the teaching staff to the school management, and parent feedback. Two years earlier, a ZEIT article drew our attention to the Fontane-Gymnasium in Rangsdorf (Brandenburg), where feedback processes had been successfully implemented for years. This made us curious! We contacted the school and interested colleagues and students took part in a training session with the school management there. This gave rise to our feedback group, which has since been working to promote a sustainable feedback culture at our school.

What challenges did you face in implementing Edkimo?

Of course, not all colleagues are immediately enthusiastic about technical innovations. This also applies to the introduction of the Edkimo app. Some teachers were initially somewhat skeptical and feared additional work. The issue of data protection was also raised again with the app, as it had been before with our PC program. But the positive feedback from colleagues, as well as from students, gradually convinced more and more of them. Today, more than half of the colleagues at Goethe-Gymnasium use Edkimo to gather student feedback. Tendency increasing.

What are the next steps in terms of feedback culture?

Our goal is to get as many colleagues as possible at Goethe-Gymnasium to provide feedback using the Edkimo app. Teachers are not always open to student evaluation. And students do not always immediately recognize the meaning of feedback processes. Feedback should become a matter of course without coercion and should be used flexibly after a lesson, a unit, a semester, etc. It is precisely through the subsequent feedback discussion that meaningful learning and change processes emerge. Feedback means: giving feedback, but also taking feedback, a constant dialog at eye level.

Feedback group at the Goethe-Gymnasium Kassel

Dagmar Louran-Pergantis
Teacher for German, History, Politics & Economics / retired since August 2016.
Head of the Feedback group until 2016
Andreas Dietwald
Teacher for Art and French
Since 2016 Head of the Feedback group

Feedback and digital media in vocational education and training

“So far, I have collected stacks of paper questionnaires with the trainees’ feedback. Afterwards, I had to spend ages evaluating the results. Since we started using Edkimo, it’s all automatic.”

Horst Hochkirchen, Feedback representative and deputy head master Motor Vehicle Guild Hagen/Ennepe-Ruhr, Germany

Trainee feedback in vocational training

Does the training correspond to the idea you had of the profession beforehand? How satisfied are you with the company? With the feedback app Edkimo, trainees give an honest, anonymous assessment. The evaluation in real time enables us to continuously develop quality and motivates trainers and trainees alike.
The Hagen/Ennepe-Ruhr Motor Vehicle Guild is one of the first guilds in Germany to work with the Edkimo feedback app. The integration of digital media in vocational training and continuing education is also one of the core elements for the debate on vocational training 4.0. Personally, I have gained a lot of time through online feedback. I’m using it to develop a new questionnaire. In it, I would like to ask the master craftsmen how they actually assess their apprentices.


Systematic, software-supported student feedback in the classroom

“It’s about student participation, co-creating learning, and signaling that as a teacher, I am always a learning person.

Micha Busch, teacher for German and English, Stadteilschule Am Heidberg, Hamburg, Germany

What does feedback mean to you?

Student feedback is an easy way for me to have a conversation with my students – about the time spent together in class and how that time can be used wisely for everyone, if possible. In other words, the question of how we can learn best together. It’s about more than just increasing efficiency. Feedback involves respectful exchange, it’s about student participation, co-creating learning processes, and signaling that as a teacher, I am always a learning person as well. In order to improve my teaching, I therefore also constantly reflect on my own teaching, seek discussions with colleagues, regularly attend training courses and conferences, and follow inspiring debates in the specialist literature and on social networks.

As a teacher, what student feedback has surprised you the most?

It’s often the critical feedback that sticks. For example, when students report back that what happens in class doesn’t reach them or doesn’t interest them. Of course, this feedback hurts at first. But it’s very important, and if you talk about it and take the criticisms seriously, then you can work together to figure out what the lessons should look like so that these students can also benefit from them.

Why did your school choose Edkimo?

I had a good experience with Edkimo as a test user and then introduced the app to my colleagues as part of an annual pedagogical day. After a pilot phase, we as a school then decided to use this tool across the board and to use it as a process support tool.

What challenges did you face in the implementation of Edkimo?

I believe that the colleagues who have always sought feedback had hardly any problems adjusting to this tool. For them, it was first and foremost a relief. The situation is different for teachers who are just discovering feedback as a tool for their teaching development. Here, it is primarily a matter of seeing at which points in the learning process systematic, software-supported feedback can be usefully integrated and how this feedback is then dealt with.

You also use Edkimo for your in-school trainings, could you briefly describe the scenario?

We used Edkimo, for example, to evaluate our Pedagogical Annual Day “Learning in the Digital World” in the form of a partner interview with live feedback and to get valuable hints for further development projects. However, we also use the tool for the further development of the upper school. For example, we use it to conduct teacher, student, and parent surveys on the future of our upper secondary school.

You published the book “55 Web Tools for the Classroom”. How can apps and websites be integrated into the classroom in a meaningful way?

Best in the hands of students, if they work with it creatively and productively. Marc Albrecht-Hermanns recently described this well in a blog post. A while ago, I described the possibilities and challenges of digital technology in schools in more detail in this text.

Using Edkimo for a classroom project

“It’s really great that the Edkimo app can be used in so many ways and provides valuable support for both teachers and students.”

Claudia Schräder, Quality Management Coordinator, Kirchhain Vocational Schools, Germany

Edkimo as a “market research tool”

I chose a market research project as an introduction to learning area 10 – Planning, controlling and monitoring sales processes – in accordance with the framework curriculum for the training occupation of industrial clerk.
The trainees were tasked with developing a soft drink with a marketing idea in project groups, having their drink tested and, in this context, conducting a survey on their new product and then evaluating it. Finally, the groups had to forecast the market opportunities for their products.


From paper questionnaires to online surveys

In the past, the questionnaires were created on the PC as part of the survey and copies were made for the test and survey campaign. The questionnaires were filled out by hand by the test persons and finally evaluated by counting.
In this context, the Edkimo app, which has been available to our school since 2019, turned out to be an absolute stroke of luck. I had the idea that we could use the Edkimo app as a tool for the survey by the students and accordingly do without paper and elaborate counting of the survey results.
The Edkimo team has been super helpful to me in this regard and has set up six accounts for the project groups in a completely straightforward manner. I gave the trainees a short introduction to the Edkimo app and they were then able to create their questionnaires with the app immediately and without any problems.

Mobile learning with tablets

Another big advantage was that our school has iPad cases. So the trainees created the Edkimo surveys about their product using the iPads and had other students and also teachers from our school answer the surveys on the iPads during the beverage test as part of the project.
The form of questioning with the Edkimo app and the iPads went down great with our test subjects and, according to feedback, left a really professional impression. In addition, the fact that the evaluation with the Edkimo app could be done super quickly and easily made the whole survey action absolutely round and more than satisfactory for my trainees.


Versatile survey tool

After conducting the surveys, colleagues approached me very enthusiastically that they would also like to use the app so that students can work with it and conduct surveys accordingly. The Edkimo team has set up 10 accounts for me for students, which I manage at our school and will make available to classes if desired/needed. The first concrete requests have already been received.