Well…the NQT year has certainly caught up with me which is why this website is looking rather sparse at the moment! I have been working with a group of SLT & HoDs on rolling out the use of Google Classroom within school. Admittedly, it has been a bit of a hard sell but I have found technology to be invaluable within the classroom. Particularly when workload is such a huge issue within education, it is important to utilise the tools at hand and utilise the fact our children are attached to their phones 24/7.
So, here is my take on technology in the classroom. By no means am I any kind of expert…merely someone with an interest but I hope that this helps or peaks your interest in one of two things that may well save you some time and energy.
Admittedly, this works better as a whole-school roll out rather than just one or two teachers using it but I have found Google Classroom to be invaluable. If your school uses SIMS (I’m not sure about other platforms) you can automatically collate your class lists and invite students to join the class. You can also invite parents/guardians to join so that they receive updates about their child’s work.
You can: set homework; share resources; post announcements; post questions; live mark; and collaborate with both students and staff members. After every Year 10 lesson, I upload my PowerPoint/Google Slides to the classroom for those students who have been absent as well as revision/consolidation of class work.
I have used Google Classroom to live mark work that students are doing which allows them to see in real time how they can improve and get instant feedback which they love!
Parents can receive weekly/daily emails to summarise the homework their child has been set as well as see any missing/late homework. This has led to less chasing down of children for missing or incomplete homework. It has also led to less phone calls to parents as well as increasing communication so that they can support their child at home.
‘Parental engagement with children’s learning is effectively supported when parents receive clear, specific and targeted information from schools.’ Department for Education
This is a bit of a fun one to use! Plickers is a system that allows you to scan an entire class with a phone or tablet to gather their answers. Each child has a unique code attributed to their name. Each ‘code’ has 4 sides: A, B, C, D. You can then post questions on the website which students will be able to see. They then turn their card so that the corresponding letter is at the top (their answer).
For example, What is the capital of England?
Students would then hold their card so that the letter C is at the top. Once scanned, you are able to see a break down of each child’s response. It is useful for checking their responses but more importantly, each shape is unique so students can’t see each others answers.
Because of the above reason, I like to use it to check how students are feeling about a certain topic. It is a useful tool for gathering a lot of formative data on a class without it being laboursome. I can scan an entire class of children in less than 30 seconds and be able to pin point which students may need some extra support. See below for an example:
I can then click on to see a full breakdown for each child so I can then target them accordingly in the following lesson.
Mentimeter is one that I haven’t got a huge amount of experience with but I have heard good things about it and we have used it in whole school CPD too. You generate a code for your class/audience and they use that to ‘log in’ to menti.com. Once they have done this, they will be able to see any questions you have posted as well as the ability for them to post questions. This was really useful when we had CPD as we could ask/post questions which could then be addressed at the end so the presentations weren’t interrupted. It was a really useful and interactive way of doing things and I think it could be useful within the classroom.