The Science department, as previously blogged about have been working with a class set of iPads this year and developing strategies to maximising learning and progress using digital technology. Carmel, our head of Science has been developing the use of “Showbie” with all her classes. This blog represents a summary of the work that has been done so far in terms of feedback to students on completed work.
A new way of working – A new way of marking and feedback
This is in response to several issues:
• New GCSE science is more demanding and contains more content.
• Our curriculum time has been reduced and content has increased.
• Pupils are not responding to revision classes, either not turning up or not focusing when they do.
• Homework is an issue we have not yet cracked – some do it, some don’t and the VLE has become an excuse not to.
• The collection and marking of this homework was not efficient and the feedback time too long to benefit pupils.
Our new way (on trial):
Make use of range of devices to let pupils carry out work in their preferred way.
Re-invent the concept of homework so pupils don’t see it as a weekly task that could be missed, but an requirement of the course that has to be completed.
The work pupils were asked to do had to have real purpose and value and not be just a box ticking exercise.
A culture of independence that was proven to lead to better results that you were missing out if you didn’t participate.
What we did/are doing:
I have created/sourced an extensive range of questions / worksheets and mark schemes.
I have uploaded them in manageable chunks onto Showbie – showbie is primarily an iPad app but files can be accessed and viewed through any device. Whatever format pupils work in, completed work can be uploaded back to showbie and mangaged there.
Pupils always have access to the questions on their phones, pc or tablets.
Pupils can answer questions directly on the iPad by typing or writing directly on the screen. They can work on their PC e.g. word etc and upload the answers into the showbie folder. They can work on paper and photograph the sheet and upload it onto showbie. This gathers everything together in one place and in my opinion is the strength of the process. All work is checked and signed off by the teacher, it must have been completed in a certain way to get signed off. If pupils need support they ask for very specific help via showbie comments. I have been developing this workflow over several months now and think we have got the balance about right now.
Reviewing work (marking):
As the volume of work is very high it is impossible to mark every piece of work and if pupils are working in the right way this should be unnecessary. We wanted to encourage a culture of independence and pride in hard work and perseverance. We also recognised that
pupils often did work to please the teacher and need someone to take and interest in what they are doing and give them a pat on the back for doing it. By giving the pupils the mark scheme at the same time as the questions we moved the ‘pat of the back’ focus from ‘getting the answer right’ to ‘completing the work’. The next crucial part was to initiate and maintain high standards of working that, if slip,are pulled up straight away. This takes a great deal of effort at the start but less to maintain but is essential to the whole process being effective.
Everything is tracked in a simple excel spreadsheet. When a piece of work is signed off the colour of the cell is changed from red to green. Amber is for pieces of work started but not completed. At first (Phase1), I allowed pupils to select which topics they wanted to work on but i have now changed this as some topics/questions were being avoided! Restarting the trackers again at this point (Phase2) also proved important as a number of pupils who had got behind became committed to keeping up to date.
I upload lots of assignments so pupils can work at their own pace. There often seems a number of pupils that go ahead and this spurs the others into action when they see they are lagging behind.I show the tracker at the beginning of every lesson just to keep it in pupils minds. The element of competition seems to prove very important.
Next phase (started this term) is to blend this in with lesson expectations and interleaving.
How much work has been done?
An incredible amount by the pupils. We have never had success on this scale with homework. Classes who have been taking part:
Last term…..in this format
Y11 Triples Physics – now moved to all three sciences
Y10 Triple Physics – now moved to all three sciences
Last term…. in a different format that was too difficult to track and manage but has now moved to this workflow
Y9 set 1 dabbled with extra homework and worksheets in lessons, moved to new workflow this week
Y8 set 4 used for oracy and recall – moved to this workflow this week
Y7 set 2 same as 9.1 and moved to new workflow just before xmas
Y7 set 6 used for recall and practical lessons, will follow to this workflow in a few weeks.
The images below show the screen that students see when they logon to complete the work as well as the way that teacher and student can interact through the submission of work.
The images below show the development of the feedback dialogue between teacher and student.
This is a trial that is evolving all the time and there are sure to be future blogs about our progress!