The burden to blog. A first world problem I’m sure I share with many. Time is a passive aggressive enemy that stops me from doing it as often as I’d like, however after visiting the Excel last week the urge to write my annual Bett blog must be satisfied, no matter how tired I am following the awesome event. So here is a very quick run through of some take home tech ideas I have been impressed by whilst at Bett this year: (in no particular order)
My first Bett BAE (that’s Before All Else, not Bacon And Eggs) was recommended to me by fellow ADE and Runner John Jones (@mrjones_EDU ) who was waxing lyrical about a tool that could save marking time for teachers, and give students feedback in a relevant way. The way he explained it was: Downlaod a free app. Scan a printable QR code. Record your feedback. Stick in it a student’s book. They then scan it and get your feedback. A simple idea that I can certainly see having a big impact at schools all over the country. See this blog for more details: https://mrjonesict.com/2018/01/29/vocal-recall-reduce-teacher-workload-with-no-fuss-for-free/ …
With global gaming audience of 2.6 billion people, I’m not surprised to see companies and individuals trying to gamify learning in an attempt to engage young hyperconnected minds. I’ve been a lover of Seppo for a couple of years and it’s great to see them get some recognition with a silver award at Bett. Seppo is Pokemon Go meets Cranium, where learners are required to navigate their way (physically) around a map and discover multi-media tasks, games, puzzles and challenges. As students are using their mobile devices to take video, record sounds or answer multiple choice questions, teachers can score their work live and even send messages to students whilst they are engaged with the content. This truly is a revolutionary way to transform the learning environment using mobile technology, in a way that exercises the brain and the body. #LoveSeppo
Based on Flipped Learning philosophy, Flipgrid provides an online collaborative space for learners to post responses to discussion topics. Set up your room as a teacher, give them the Flipgrid access code and they can upload their comments for all to see. The best thing about it is the simplicity of upload and sharing and in an age of Instagram/snapchat stories, this is a relevant and smart way to study.
A great bonus too – by chatting toFlipgrid Kathi (@kerszi ) I won a free licence.
I have seen many online platforms offering summative assessment tools, and what a great way to gauge the understanding of every student in your classroom. However, I have never seen one more robust, thorough or target as SATS Companion.
Made by teachers for teachers it has a ridiculous amount of content covering the specifics of SATS papers and allows students to practise, test and assess where they are at, providing comprehensive reports that can pinpoint not only gaps in the learning of a specific area for the individual, but also identifying particular areas for development in a group of students. This means the teacher can inform their planning and assign specific online tasks to certain students very easily.
There is also a parent version which provides detailed analytical printouts of where your child is achieving and can help you to help them with teaching videos and online resources. I’m not a primary teacher, but I am a parent of a year six student who will certainly be buying in.
I gave these guys a big shout out last year as a stand out start-up and they have grown so much a year on. More specific GCSE focussed revision material in street-smart, slick, contemporary audio. A huge library of podcasts are available to access via a smartphone app, where ‘sick’ beats and hip hop backing tracks help students learn almost subliminally. Even if it’s not your taste in music, ask your students if they like it; it’s them who are sitting their exams.
I had a great time talking to people on the ClassVR stand this year as a pioneer school. VR/360 has a great place in education where students can empathise in first person. The trench demonstration set up at Bett exemplifies where we have had our most success as a school with these sets of VR devices. Students have improved their written work about WW1 poems because they can all of a sudden relate to the poet. With oodles worth of content on the new ClassVR portal, it is certainly worth checking out.
Got to give these guys a shout out (and not just because I won a £25 voucher from their Bett campaign) because we have been using Firefly in our school for the past year and it had enhanced the way we use 1:1 devices. Students no longer have a paper planner and all homework is driven through this online platform. Tasks are set; work is uploaded, marked and commented on; communication with parents has been made easier and curriculum resources have a purposeful home. One of the best improvements since last year is the ‘showbie’ style marking features that include PDF annotation, voice notes, video and comment banks. New reporting features are also very welcome, especially when reviewing the impact of such a system.
Many schools are looking to use digital text books as a cost effective way enhance mobile device schemes, meaning schools can save spending on physical books and benefit from interactive features of online multi-media publications. Although there are many companies out there, the great thing about Classoos is that they work with many publishers and help schools to create their own book shelves for classes and students. Classoos is particularly useful for schools such as St Wilfrid’s who use Firefly, as class details and data are integrated, meaning that there can be a single sign on and that students and teachers can manage their text books easily.
Lastly, congratulations to Pobble, worthy Bett Awards winners. The platform founded by Henry Smith (@HenryPobble) is a secure way for students to get their work in front of a real audience; giving students a solid purpose to write and then inherently improving their work to meet higher expectations. His website is also full of wonderful ways to teach writing, as well as assess their work. Well worth a look for primary teachers and those teaching Key Stage 3.
Bett certainly gets better every year with technology that is providing more curriculum and teacher specific resources for teachers. Hope to get back and network there again next year.