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Ignorance is bliss - the psychology of textbook bias

Ignorance is bliss - the psychology of textbook bias

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?

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The importance of ‘bottom-up’ for increasing the use of technology within schools

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

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Upgrade to Student Learning Analysis

Upgrade to Student Learning Analysis

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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The time a student spent on the assessment is now provided in the left-hand column
  4. 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!

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We are hiring!

We are hiring!

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.

 

If this appeals to you, please get in touch with our Proposition Director, Jacob Poulton, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

 

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!

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Nurturing Independence

Nurturing Independence

 

“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.

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How to use the EzyEducation platform

How to use the EzyEducation platform

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.

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Improvements to our Gradebook download

Improvements to our Gradebook download

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.

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Financial Markets Upgrade - Perfect Revision Boost ahead of Exams!

Financial Markets Upgrade - Perfect Revision Boost ahead of Exams!

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:

Macro Module 7 - Financial Markets New Structure

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.

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How can a student make any learning progress without a worked answer?

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.

 

 

NO FEEDBACK

 Incorrect - try again!

OR

DETAILED FEEDBACK 

Incorrect – watch the video feedback (worked answer) before you attempt the next question.

Audio Transcript

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.

Visual Transitions

 

Actual Video

 

 

 

EzyEducation provides this level of feedback after every question. 

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Early signs of EzyScience success at Darwen Vale High School

Early signs of EzyScience success at Darwen Vale High School

 

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?

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In Memory of Michael McCall

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.

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Are you struggling to keep up with your students?

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.

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Miracle cure for space gazing discovered…..

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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.

 

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New EzyEconomics Feature!

Setting and managing your student’s work just got one step simpler! The team at EzyEconomics have just introduced a subtle but effective change to the titles of all our bespoke formative assessments to improve the user experience.

Previously when setting assessments, it would contain only the unit number of that assessment. However, from today, when setting assignments for your classes you’re able to identify the assessment content area that you have set across both the Macro and Micro courses:

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We hope this update will prove fruitful and welcome any more suggestions you may have to how we can improve your own user experience when using EzyEconomics.  

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No More Essays for Homework?

No More Essays for Homework?

In this post, our Managing Director, Peter Jordan, reflects upon the common practice of predominantly setting essays as homework and why that might not be ideal.

After several weeks of marking exam scripts last summer, it became crystal clear again that large numbers of students really struggle when it comes to interpreting and comprehending unfamiliar data extracts and find it difficult to create written responses that are coherent.

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5 Major Takeaways from the BETT Show

5 Major Takeaways from the BETT Show

The BETT Show last week was a fantastic event for EzyEducation. Teacher feedback from those who took a look at our courses was superb and it is always nice to be able to match names to faces when meeting staff from schools already using EzyEducation.

Of course, one of the other benefits of being at such a large event like BETT is that it affords the opportunity to collaborate with all manner of interesting people from the education sector and gain some insight into the state of the EdTech industry right now. Our Proposition Director, Jacob Poulton, took away the following highlights from the BETT show:

  1. The use of technology in education is growing… but growing slowly.

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Our New Assignment Hub

Our New Assignment Hub

One of the questions we have encountered a lot when helping schools get set-up on the EzyEducation platform is “How do I set work for my students?”. We haven’t really had a great answer to this up until now, mostly directing those interested to use the ‘announcements’ tool and copy and paste links to the desired activities.

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The Economics of Christmas

We created this video in 2016 and given the date we thought it would be a good chance to get into the festive spirit and share it again!

 

 

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EzyBusiness Modifications: Threats and Opportunities

EzyBusiness Modifications: Threats and Opportunities

Since we launched EzyBusiness in the summer we have been humbled by the response of teachers and students up and down the country. Thank you very much for your engagement and support.

 

We will be implementing some enhancements to the Threats and Opportunities Section on Saturday 21st October and wanted to provide you with advance warning, in case you were planning to set/complete any of that section as half-term work. The enhanced resources will be available for you to view and for your students to access from Sunday 22nd October.

Once implemented, the Threats and Opportunities Section will have the following structure:

Key: L – Lecture Video; A - Assessment

Module 1 - Performance and Threats to Performance

TO1.1.1

Business Performance - Financial Assessment

L

TO1.1.2

Business Performance - Non-Financial Assessment

L

TO1.1.3

Overall Business Performance Measures

L

TO1.1

Business Performance

A

TO1.2

Introduction to PESTLE Analysis

L

TO1.2a

PESTLE Analysis

A

TO1.3.1

Political and Legal Threats and Opportunities

L

TO1.3.2

Competition Laws

L

TO1.3.3

Employment Laws

L

TO1.3.4

Tax Laws

L

TO1.3a

Political and Legal Threats and Opportunities

A

TO1.4.1

GDP and The Business Cycle

L

TO1.4.2

Business Implications of the Business Cycle

L

TO1.4.3

Fiscal Policy

L

TO1.4.4

Monetary Policy

L

TO1.4a

Economic Threats and Opportunities

A

TO1.5.1

Inflation

L

TO1.5.2

International Trade

L

TO1.5.3

Exchange Rates

L

TO1.5a

External Economic Threats and Opportunities

A

TO1.6.1

Social Change: Demographics

L

TO1.6.2

Consumer Behaviour

L

TO1.6.3

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

L

TO1.6a

Social Threats and Opportunities

A

TO1.7.1

Technological Threats and Opportunities

L

TO1.7.2

Environmental Threats and Opportunities

L

TO1.7a

Additional Business Threats and Opportunities

A

TO1.8.1

Competitive Markets and Barriers to Entry

L

TO1.8.2

Porter's Five Forces

L

TO1.8.3

Using Porter's Five Forces

L

TO1.8a

Porter's Five Forces and the Threat of Competition

A

     

Module 2 - Innovation and Digital Technology

TO2.1.1

Types and Importance of Innovation

L

TO2.1.2

Encouraging Innovation

L

TO2.1.3

Protecting Innovation

L

TO2.1a

Innovation

A

TO2.2.1

Digital Technology Pressures and ERP

L

TO2.2.2

E-Commerce and Big Data

L

TO2.2.3

Using and Evaluating Digital Technology

L

TO2.2a

Digital Technology

A

 

The current unit on business growth is being moved from the end of the Threats and Opportunities Section to the bottom of Module 3 of the Business Basics section.

This will now be structured as (business growth unit highlighted):

Module 3 - Mission, Strategy and Growth

BB3.1.1

Influences on Mission and Objectives

L

BB3.1.2

Theories on Corporate Strategies

L

BB3.1.3

The Value of SWOT Analysis

L

BB3.1a

Mission, Corporate Objectives and Strategy

A

BB3.2.1

Short-Term vs. Long-Term

L

BB3.2.2

Corporate Culture

L

BB3.2.3

Business Ethics and CSR

L

BB3.2a

Influences on Business Decisions

A

BB3.3.1

Expansion and Retrenchment

L

BB3.3.2

Types of Growth and Retrenchment Strategies

L

BB3.3.3

Evaluating Growth

L

BB3.3.4

Greiner's Model of Growth

L

BB3.3a

Business Growth

A

 

We hope you enjoy using the enhanced Threats and Opportunities Section as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. If you have any questions or queries about these changes, please drop us a line.

Have a great half-term!

 

The EzyEducation Team.

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A cure for results day insanity?

A cure for results day insanity?

Insanity is often defined as “doing the same thing, time and time again and expecting to achieve better results”.

 

 

Many teachers will relate to this on exam results day, as the chances are that results in most cases will be fractionally different to the previous year.

Although resources always promise to improve results, it is unlikely that any of them will have made a meaningful and sustained difference unless they have helped teachers to improve how they support their students.  

Meaningful improvements in performance are only likely if resources help teachers to achieve some key performance enhancing objectives:

 

  • Achieve significant increases in independent learning by ALL students.
  • Focus homework on preparing students for forthcoming classes.
  • Reduce time-consuming content delivery, so that more class time can be devoted to skills development and personalised interventions.
  • Improve learning records to support more effective personalised interventions

 

None of these objectives can be achieved without more time. As the reality is less rather than more time, the only solution is to use technology that provides the time to help teachers achieve these objectives.

 

Register today to sample our insanity cure!

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