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