Feedback is an important contributor to student learning. Timing, mechanism, detail and purpose all play important roles in feedback effectiveness.  Miranda Lutyens, a Language and Literature teacher at The American School of Lima (Peru), has found a tech tool that has helped to make feedback for her students, personal, constructive, and functional.

Miranda has been using PDF Expert, which is an application that is available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad devices.  This application has many functions including annotating, text reading, editing, signing and more.  Miranda discussed how she likes to color code her feedback to align with criteria from rubrics.  This helps students to better monitor their progress and to make adjustments as needed.  The feature that she is most excited about is annotating which allows her to make either typed or oral (recorded) notes to her students.  This provides her the opportunity to “speak” to her students in ways that written words cannot.  She can say something encouraging, use her tone in ways that appear supportive and direct when necessary, and make suggestions or give input in a more personalized and authentic way.




“There is power of the voice with feedback”

                – Miranda Lutyen






This past semester, she offered her students the option of submitting a major assignment early for feedback to help with revisions.  She was “impressed with how many chose to revise”.  The feedback which was created using PDF Expert, helped the students to better understand the changes that needed to be made.  Miranda says it’s almost like having a face to face conference”.  This provides an opportunity to both encourage students and to critique their work, all with the goal of increased learning and quality of the end product.

In addition to using PDF Expert for assignment feedback, Miranda uses it as an instructional tool.  Projecting from her tablet, she is able to seamlessly model during instruction by using the built-in tools.  Her students have even begun to utilize the annotating feature of this application to help prepare for oral examinations which is an end of year requirement.  This can be a dreaded and challenging task and it represents 15% of their final grade so adequate preparation is imperative.  Students can make notes and verbally annotate within a document in a way that simulates their preparation for their oral examinations.


It is important to note that an Apple product is not required to preview comments that are created using PDF expert.  As long as the device has a general PDF reader, anyone can view and/or listen to comments on the document.