August 8

Ed Tech – What actually works in the classroom?

I asked a simple question on twitter and reddit – and was amazed at the number of responses!

I was interested in what people thought made the use of Ed Tech worthwhile, and any stories that came about from the use of technology in the classroom. I’ve put a list of any mentioned resources and devices at the bottom of the post!

I have organised this in five key areas – it’s worth mentioning though that this is quite loose! It is interesting though that whilst these areas were mentioned in a variety of ways, I didn’t hear much about ‘engagement’ or ‘motivation’ – areas which are traditionally signalled as reasons to get technology in the classroom. I’m actually pretty pleased about that!

Collaboration

Without a doubt the top outcome that was mentioned. Collaboration seems to be key. And with all interested parties. Collaboration with parents, with other schools, with ‘hard to reach’ parents (for whatever reason). Collaboration with an ‘end purpose’ and, of course, pupils collaborating to create. Blogging, using various platforms, was mentioned as was cloud services such as Google Drive. The technology varied, from online creation such as Book Creator to the use of ‘portable’ devices which would support collaboration. Teachers seemed to value the possibilities.

 

Access and Special Needs

I have talked about how great I found the iPad for Educational Needs so it came as no suprise to read all of the great stories about how we are using technology in the classroom to adapt it to the needs of our learners. The trusty Smart Interactive Whiteboard was mentioned here, both for the use as an interactive and accessible screen and also as a display mechanism for images and video. The use of images and games for areas such as Vocabulary, Social Stories and supporting specific needs. Capturing non written evidence and sharing achievements was also mentioned.

 

Feedback and Guidance

The feedback and ‘immediacy’ of using technology was also mentioned, cameras in the classroom for evidence, screencasting using apps such as Explain Everything. The classroom Visualiser was mentioned as an excellent way of sharing work and offering up feedback (including group work). Flip cameras were mentioned, as well as the use of photographs for evidence.

 

Accessing other resources

Technology as a gateway to a whole range of other resources was also mentioned by many – authentic foreign language resources for example, websites such as the science PHeT site which provides video and virtual experiments. Resources and ideas that just wouldn’t be available otherwise. It’s worth considering that the ‘internet’ as a gateway was mentioned – a decent bandwidth was mentioned by some – how often do you rely on the internet in your classroom?

What did people mention?

Edmodo

Google Drive – mentioned by many!

Book Creator (iPad)

Lucid Charts

Office 365

UberSense

PHeT Site

Explain Everything (iPad)

KidBlog Dot Org (blogging platform)

Padlet

Socrative

Scribblenauts (iPad game – used for vocab)

Skype

Mentioned devices: visualisers, smartboards, flip cameras, iPads, portable devices, Chromebooks

 

A huge thanks to all who answered my questions, retweeted by tweets and generally got invovled! Definitely for me one of the biggest reasons to get involved in technology for educational purposes!!

It will be interesting to redo this small survey next year and check out the changes!

Thanks for reading – feel free to leave your comment – I’m sure things have been missed!

 

May 19

Online Assessment by Fleet Tutors – Guest Post

Online Assessment by Fleet Tutors – Guest Post

The growth of online tutoring and learning beyond the classroom has meant that different ways of assessing pupils needs to be developed.

One way of assessing young learners online has been developed by Fleet Tutors, who offer an online assessment solution which evaluates precisely how children perform in terms of National Curriculum levels and in comparison with other pupils. Children complete an assessment before a tutor identifies precise areas of strengths and weakness in order to develop a tuition strategy which is tailored to each student’s academic needs. These types of assessments are increasingly used by schools and parents alike as they look to support their children’s education.

Which assessment system does Fleet Tutors use?  ‘GOAL’ – aimed at children between 5-14 years of age – accurately measures pupil performance and development across Mathematics, English, and Science subjects. It is carried out online, with no installation needed. A report is then produced which displays achievement levels and shows areas in which the child requires improvement in order to attain excellent academic performance. This is all closely linked in to the national curriculum levels, with the tool using fun, motivating and interactive assessments which are designed to engage the pupils’ with their learning. They have been written by experienced education experts and connect closely to the National Curriculum.

When are these tests designed to be used? They are usually carried out at either side of the tuition starting and finishing, and can then be used to show measure if progress has been made.   This means that they can monitor the effectiveness of tuition and also use this to ensure it is effective.  Pupils themselves can then use this to look for evidence in their own progress – which can help greatly with their confidence.

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How does it reach its results? Online assessments – called GOAL – are used to assess pupils against the National Curriculum. These means that Fleet Tutors can provide full feedback, identifying strengths and weaknesses in a pupil’s educational development. It can be used to target specific objectives and so ensure further teaching is targeted appropriately. Assessments are delivered in a variety of ways – either with the tutors or parents to encourage and support the pupil. Either way, they are carried out and marked online.  Plenty of support is available online or by phone.

Does it only assess academic performance? Moving away from academic performance, there is also the SEAL assessment – Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning. This could support you if you feel that your child is finding school challenging for other reasons. Using this assessment to ascertain the nature of your child’s difficulties could support their learning in other areas and allow you to begin a conversation.

For further information check here where you can download an example of a Goal Report if interested

 

May 8

Using Classroom Data – A Haiku Deck