All of us at EzyEducation were delighted to welcome Suella Braverman MP to visit us last week. Suella has previously sat on the Education Select Committee and is a current governor at the well-publicised Michaela Community School.
The model of flipped learning, or flipped classrooms, seems to fall in and out of vogue. The idea seems very sound: ask students to learn about a new topic independently, before they encounter it in-class. With students arriving to class with a basic understanding of the concept, valuable teaching time can be spent on high value-added activities, like personalised misconception handling, interactive application activities and developing exam-technique.
Most teachers we meet say that they would like to introduce more flipped teaching within their scheme of work, however, they have struggled to implement it effectively in the past, or don’t really know where to start with it.
Recently we might have achieved this with the template improvements that have enhanced the smartphone experience and a “last visit date” display in the school admin area.
We had a great time at the BETT show last week. It is always a pleasure to engage with teachers currently using the platform and teachers interested in starting their EzyEducation journey. TeachWire featured us in their 'Best of BETT' series. Here is their interview with our Managing Director, Peter Jordan.
We have recently released a significant upgrade to our gradebook. Teachers can still download the gradebook as an excel spreadsheet, but we hope this upgrade makes quick trips into the gradebook to analyse student performance easier to achieve by staying in a webpage.
Xmas has arrived! What a year 2018 has been. For the Ezy team, it has been nothing less than inspiring to see schools modernising teaching delivery and students responding with quite incredible levels of activity. Thank you for all the support provided by our schools and for making successful use of the service.
First of all, I would like to make it clear that I think some textbooks are an incredibly useful guide for teachers. If they are exam board accredited, they will provide far more detail than the board specification and can be used to guide teachers through a course.
However, is the level of textbook content appropriate for pupils?
It was fascinating to see Damien Hinds, relatively new to the post of Education Secretary, spend some time over the summer break encouraging the further development of educational technology and increasing its use within schools.1 This comes hot on the heels of his initial attempts to ingratiate himself with the teaching community via his focus on workload.2
The reporting side of the EzyEducation platform is absolutely vital to support effective usage. Our Student Learning Analysis report has become one of the key places to dig into how your students have performed on a particular assessment. I know from my experiences of getting out to see schools over the past few months that putting Student Learning Analysis up on the big screen at the front of the classroom is a great way of blending what students are doing digitally (often out of the classroom) with what takes place in-class. Running through one of the questions the class struggled with on average the most makes for a good start-of lesson primer.
We have just launched an update to Student Learning Analysis. These are a series of small tweaks which we think make a big difference.
- Students run down the left-hand-side and questions run across the top. This brings Student Learning Analysis in line with our recent changes to the excel gradebook download option.
- Partial assessment attempts will now be visible. When a student answers a few questions but does not complete the assessment you will see the outcomes fo those completed questions.
- The time a student spent on the assessment is now provided in the left-hand column
- The report adapts to the size of your screen. Perfect if you are using a tablet or mobile device in class.
We are really excited about our plans to continue improving the reporting side of the platform over the next 12 months. This will probably include assigning a snappier name to "Student Learning Analysis", but for now it stays!
If you have any questions about these changes or our upcoming development plans, please get in touch with us.
Thank you to all of our users for your continued support and I hope everyone is enjoying a peaceful summer!
After a fantastic Summer term, we are now looking to expand our team. We are particularly interested in talking to people with experience of teaching A Level maths, biology, or chemistry.
These are brilliant opportunities for driven individuals to come and build market-leading courses. The right people will have energy, drive, and will arrive with their own ideas about digital resources and assessment.
Thank you to all of the teachers and students who have engaged with us this school year and we hope everyone enjoys a great Summer break!
“Pupils have really enjoyed the independence the system gives them. They can choose a topic they feel they need more help on rather than just doing the revision we set them. It has been good to see that pupils from all across the ability range have been able to make progress and achieve a feeling of success.”
Vicky Pimblett, Head of Science at Queen Elizabeth School, Cumbria.
In life in general, we all get enthusiastic about, and invest time in the things we are good at. Even if we initially think we like something, we tend to drift away and avoid things if we subsequently fail to acquire competency. This might explain why many students are often reluctant about specific subjects or school in general and have limited enthusiasm for studying independently.
This video is designed for teachers, to help you navigate through the EzyEducation platform. It includes our lecture videos, assessments, feedback and reporting tools.
The video will guide you through all the features, no matter which of our subject platforms you are interested in, or currently using.
Our reporting options are at the very heart of EzyEducation. We unashamedly promote our view that schools get the most value out of a digital platform like ours by ensuring that teachers direct, monitor and react to student activity. Central to this is the ability to easily view and interpret student activity data. We are constantly developing our reporting options to support this aim.
Here at EzyEducation we aspire to the highest standards and one part of the journey for us has been the improvements that we have made in improving the quality and nature of the course lecture videos. No longer are our presenters “trapped” in a box and reacting to what is on the screen, instead the presenters are actively engaged in the content to provide a more interactive student learning experience.
One of the content areas where we thought the introduction of this new video format would add the most value to our existing course is the Financial Markets Section (Macro - Module 7). The content within this section draws upon a wide-range of content areas from all sections of the economics course and introduces lots of unfamiliar and complex terminology and concepts for students to manage. Therefore, we felt that this was the perfect module to upgrade and perfectly complements the nine financial market assessments that we recently upgraded over the Christmas holidays.
The new module structure will see an increase in the 13 lecture videos currently in the module to 29. Follow the link below to view a breakdown of the upcoming changes to this module and the new content that we will be releasing:
These changes will be implemented on the morning of Tuesday 8th May and therefore there may be disruption when trying to access the videos in this module over that period.
We are evangelical about feedback. Without it, the only purpose of an assessment exercise is to test the level of learning that is transferring from class activities and to provide a mark book entry. No wonder all but the most capable students get frustrated with archaic digital services.
Students need an explanation to improve and the difference in terms of learning progress achieved by a service that provides no feedback and a service that allows students to interact with a full explanation that incorporates a worked answer will be enormous.
This will help students to improve their performance. This will inspire them. Humans like to succeed and if they do they will come back for more. If they continuously fail, they won’t want to come back for more and will become reluctant learners. Why would anyone want to do anything if they keep getting questions wrong and aren’t provided with any immediate way of improving?
Let’s look at a basic geometry question and think about how much detailed feedback might help.
Incorrect - try again!
Incorrect – watch the video feedback (worked answer) before you attempt the next question.
In this question, we are asked simply to find the missing length. We are given the lengths of two of the sides and can, therefore, use Pythagoras to work out the final side length. Let’s have a look at what we have been asked to work out here. So, the missing length is the side opposite that right angle that is called the Hypotenuse. Pythagoras theorem states that the two squares of the two shorter sides add up to make up the area of the square of the length of the longest side the Hypotenuse. So, let’s take the two short sides and square them to find the area. So we are going to do 21 squared and 20 squared which gives me 441 and 400. Now because they make the area of the hypotenuse I am going to add these two values together to get 841. That’s the area of the Hypotenuse. We need to know the side length so the final thing we have to do is to square root the answer. Remember this 3-stage process of squaring, adding or subtracting and then square rooting at the end. So, the square root of 841 is 29. There is your answer.
EzyEducation provides this level of feedback after every question.
Many digital services proclaim their success by highlighting that the most active students have achieved the best results (hardly surprising as the ’best’ students are surely likely to be the most active users of a service) or that a school’s GCSE grades had improved the year after adopting a service without any detail regarding the level of usage or how the impacts of other independent variables were managed.
While statements like this are eye-catching, how indicative are they of the value added by using a particular digital service?
Everyone at EzyEducation was shocked to hear that our esteemed colleague, Dr Michael McCall, passed away last weekend.
Having read maths at St John's College, Cambridge and secured his PhD from Durham University, Michael entered a career in teaching. He most recently was the Head of Maths at The Portsmouth Grammar School for over a decade. As a teacher, Michael was a student's best friend. His ability to bring clarity to mathematics was astounding, and despite being a mathematician first and a teacher second, his dry wit made his classroom a delight.
Having retired from teaching, Michael joined EzyEducation as our maths consultant to oversee the development of our A Level maths course. He brought his years of experience, relentless attention detail and, most importantly, his fierce and incisive humour to the role. It was a role that Michael clearly enjoyed - hunting down every little error that threatens to destroy the student's experience and presenting his way of teaching topics on camera to benefit potentially hundreds of thousands of students in the future.
We enjoyed a celebratory curry recently in Michael's old stomping ground of Southsea to mark the completion of our AS course. He was on fine form as we looked forward to moving on to more difficult topics, or what he termed "getting closer to proper maths".
All of us will miss Michael, as I know will his former teaching colleagues and all the students who had the pleasure of his time.
Marking and its importance is the subject of much discussion between teachers and those who monitor educational performance.
Marking with the provision of effective feedback is considered to be worthwhile but marking for its own sake is generally seen as a waste of valuable time. And yet, because teachers are too busy to provide timely and effective feedback they often find ourselves ‘flicking and ticking’ so that students feel that their work is valued and don’t become demotivated.
What do your students do when they say they are revising?
The chances are that neither you or their parents will actually know. The only intel will be what students say they have been doing in their bedroom. Their favourite social media franchise will have a better idea of how they are using their time!
Revision needs to be a specific and supported task
Many studies show that simply reading or listening/watching has a low associated retention rate. The next step might be to make revision a more specific task to help identify and then correct learning gaps with feedback. The only problem with this is that manual approaches might not achieve enough due to the scarcity of human marking resources.
Students can cope with more work than a teacher can mark
All our school users know that the solution lies in automation and tend to set specific revision programmes to push their students harder. Experienced users also know that the students can cope with more work than a teacher can mark.
Transferring learning from revision into exams
Usually, there isn’t any point doing this with a digital service that does not provide unique feedback following answers. However, a digital service providing a genuinely formative assessment experience can be a highly productive approach as it can transfer learning from revision into exams.
If teachers then have the data to manage student inactivity (often by sharing reports with carers) and address learning issues, then everyone should be a winner.