Inverness High School has had 40 Chromebooks since January 2016 as a start to the Digital Hub Makerspace being developed in the school. In a very short time many teachers, even some technophobes, have started using the Chromebooks frequently with classes without any persuasion. We currently only have one whole-school computer suite of 20 machines to share between all classes.
There has been a lot of staff interest in getting quick starter CPD to use Chromebooks, Google Apps and work more electronically with pupils but all have experimented to find different ways of enhancing learning and teaching. We have individual pupils in classes and seniors in study periods borrowing Chromebooks to complete work.
All of the info below was within the first month of having the devices and growth with staff/more classes and pupils has continued to increase.
Inverness High PE department highlighted this resource. Able to show questions in slideshow format where pupils can answer in time conditions then you can freeze, share certain answers, record who's done what, teacher can reply 1 to 1, show all answers or just discuss certain ones, good for timed question practice.
Google Classroom has introduced a new feature that allows for “individualized work for differentiated learning.” As of this week, Classroom will allow teachers to assign work to individual students that reflects their individual needs. That means that assignments or questions can be posed to specific students rather than the entire class. This not only helps teachers give their students more specialized attention, but can also give students extra practice in certain subjects in a discreet manner.
Classroom has also updated its notification system for teachers with two new alert categories — one for when students submit work late, and one for when students re-submit assignments. Of course, educators can continue using other notifications, including updates, comments, and more.
Thanks to Gareth Braddick at Invergordon has been using various tools to support literacy at Invergordon. Here is a report from him...
At Invergordon Academy we are looking at developing our approach to Literacy, using film to support learners that find it hard to access traditional texts. Taking materials developed by the Literacy Shed, we adapted them for a digital learning environment.
The new Google Sites provided an opportunity to create a unit of work that is easy to access for pupils. The new Sites makes it incredibly easy to create a website. This can be described as the “shop window” for the pupils, providing visual cues and engaging their attention. Behind this is Google Classroom, which is used to organise the teaching materials that were developed using EDpuzzle, Padlet and Google Docs.
EDpuzzle is a tool that allows the teacher to insert questions into a Youtube video. The teacher can insert an open question and give feedback, or multiple choice, which is marked automatically by the software. The third option is to insert a comment which could be used to provide feedback in a video made by a pupil. EDPuzzle syncs with Google Classroom, making it easy to add your classes and keep track of progress.
Assessing open questions is straightforward. The teacher sees progress made and can give a score out of 100, plus an optional comment.
Padlet is a useful tool for opening up discussion. Once the pupils have submitted their answers on EDpuzzle they are asked to post their ideas to an online discussion board.
The pupil comments are anonymous so those that lack confidence are not afraid to post suggestions. In the settings there is an option for a moderator to give approval before posts appear. Once posts have been submitted the individual responses from EDpuzzle can be discussed and developed as a class.
Tables are useful for supporting writing and they are easy to create in Google Docs. Docs also supports images, which can help pupils to structure their thoughts. In this exercise pupils take screenshots and write a description to help them summarize the plot for the music video.
Links can be inserted at each stage, which take pupils in a loop from the Site to the other apps and then back again, before moving on to the next lesson. Using the Site pages, units for a whole year could be presented.
I would like to give you an overview of how using digital technology allowed me to cut my assessment and marking workload and spend more time creating engaging lessons and teaching my classes.
I am a teacher of Computing Science and before you think, ‘he is an expert and this won't apply to me’ please take the time to read this and reflect on how this could improve your practice as the tools I mention are very simple to use and could potentially save you time.
Bill Gates said, “whenever there is a hard job to be done I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it”. I liked the idea that there must be an easier way to tackle the issue on workload and I will happily admit that I can be lazy. Before any backlash, I am not portraying teachers as lazy people. My point is that I believe if we equip educators with the skills, confidence and knowledge to know when and how digital technology can be used to enhance our learning and teaching, then it will allow us to exploit these skills to improve our practice - as I have.
I looked at many different online assessment tools that would allow me to assign homework and be able to carry out in class tests electronically. I decided the best tool for assigning homework was Google Classroom and making use of Google Forms. Google Forms is an online tool that allows you to create assessments/quizzes/homework and the computer will automatically mark them for you. I used a mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions for tests and homework. Multiple choice questions are marked instantly saving me an enormous amount of time and gives pupils instant feedback. When creating the assessment/quiz you just select the correct answer, so the computer knows this and will be able to mark this automatically.
Short answer questions submitted electronically gave me a significant time saving as well. Answers are returned to the teacher in an organised spreadsheet with all pupils answers. I’m sure we all know the hassle when marking prelims of moving papers around and looking back and forth at the marking scheme. When the answers are in a spreadsheet the question is at the top of the document and every answer for that specific question is organised underneath it. This allowed me to quickly work your way down the answers and mark them correct or not.
Another tool that is very similar to Google Forms is Socrative. I used Socrative for in-class tests to gauge pupil understanding on certain units of work. One benefit I found with Socrative compared with Google Forms is that learners do not get to keep a copy of your questions which was beneficial for class tests. Socrative allows questions to be asked in a random order which was useful so that pupils sitting close to each other did not see the same question simultaneously. Socrative works by pupils entering a room code and the teacher assigns an assessment to all pupils in that ‘room’. When I used this for class tests it allows me to see in real time the answers pupils give on my teacher device. Having a holistic view of the class results allowed me to quickly identify questions pupils were struggling with and needed more clarification on. Feedback from pupils was tremendous and with instant or significantly quicker feedback they told me they preferred doing homework and assessments electronically.
Another great assessment tool that I have used with junior classes and shown to primary colleagues is Kahoot. This is an online assessment tool which has millions of already created assessments/quizzes/games that you can use with classes. I ran training on Kahoot with teachers of all curricular areas and they were able to find an assessment they could use with class. Again, this potentially could be a time saver.
Another great benefit of using electronic assessment tools is the fact you have them available whenever you need them. For revision purposes, I would run the old class tests in Socrative using the 'Space Race' feature. This feature allows groups of pupils to work as a team and race against each other to complete the questions. As the pupils work through the questions their progress was shown live on the smart board. Pupils really enjoyed this and I found it made revision engaging and competitive. Usually, pupils would say to me they found revision boring but this was the first time I had pupils asking if they could do an old test again to try and beat their peers.
To come back to the Bill Gates quote about finding an easy way to do something difficult. I found using digital technology cut my marking workload and at the same time enhanced my learning and teaching. Having the assessments stored online saved me time from the admin of printing out tests, filing them away into folders and storing them somewhere. Tools such as Google Forms is incredibly powerful and I challenge you to think differently about how you gather information from pupils, staff and parents. Think about subject choice forms, parents night sign up, clubs and extracurricular event sign up and one great example recently has been permission slips. Google Forms allows users to attach a photo or document using the ‘File Upload’ option. Could this be used to return a parent/carer signed permission slip taken with the pupils/parents smartphone?
I really hope that reading this has given you some motivation to explore Socrative, Kahoot and Google Forms to see how it could cut your workload and allow you to spend more time on teaching. All of the resources mentioned are completely free and I would recommend you signing up using your Highland Google account.
As a class we use Quizlet a lot to practice vocabulary. It's a great interactive tool that allows pupils to compete against one another and against other classes on the leaderboard. As a class teacher I can see how much progress each pupil has made on the individual activities. I takes minutes to create a foreign language game and it's easy to add photos too.
Quizlet live is the activity that we tried last week just to change things up. It takes the same vocabulary list that you've already created and makes it into a team work game. The class is divided up into teams so they have to get up and join their randomly assigned team mates. When each question comes up only one person in the team has the correct answer so they all have to help each other out. On the board I can see the progress of each time like a horse race, the first team to get to 12 points is the winner but if 1 person answers 1 question wrong the team goes back to 0 points!
It got very loud but the pupils loved it, in one lesson we played it 4 times and they would have kept going if I'd let them. I even used it as a teaching tool with the senior pupils and since the programme chose the teams there was no bias from me as a classroom teacher about who was teamed up together. It was great to see Quizlet being used as a team tool instead of as an individual activity.
Thanks to Joy at Kingussie High School for sharing.
The Digital Learning Team will add news or examples of good practice on here so keep checking back for up to date info.