Critical Thinking in Gifted Childrens' Offline and Online Peer Feedback

 

This comparative study identified the differences between gifted children’s offline and online peer feedback within a summer talented writer’s workshop. Researchers analyzed ten students’ writings for degrees of critical thinking evident in their feedback. Online feedback included students’ writings in social writing sites Storybird.com and KidBlog. Offline feedback was submitted on a teacher designed rubric, and then incorporated into a revised manuscript using Microsoft Word. Critical thinking was defined as the three upper tiers of Bloom’s Taxonomy: analysis, and evaluation, and synthesis. Each comment in students' online and offline feedback was coded according to one of the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. In addition, interpretative summaries were written describing how students used feedback within each category. Results indicated that critical thinking (specifically analysis and evaluation) was more evident in the responses that were structured opposed to those that were in the social media contexts. There was also evidence of an increased amount of informal dialogue in the online feedback opposed to the structured feedback. Online writing technologies are seen to be most successful when teachers' expectations for critical thinking and students' desire for informal positive feedback are combined; this success depends on the presence of a skilled teacher and supportive peers, rather than on the presence of a specific technology tool.