Posts tagged ‘collaboration’

An update and some maths apps

GCSE – still not using the class iPads but we are having discussions about different apps and giving them the choice about whether they want to download them themselves. recommended apps Ss have used are:

photomaths - With this app you can take a photo of an equation (it can’t be words or handwriting)). The app then gives the answer and an explanation of the steps taken to solve it.

This app has been shared by various different people. Sean (a mahts tutor) told Dionne (a GCSE student and a LSA in college) who told the GCSE group about it.

GCSE maths geometry – This app has 14 different categorgies for geometry, with 10 quesitons on each. I like this because the feedback is good – once you have completed the quiz there is a clear expanation of the right answer. This app has been recommended to the GCSE group and I know of at least one student who has paid for the app and says she’s finding it useful.

I found this by ‘playing’. I put GCSE in the app store search, this app came up & I liked it enough to recoemmned it. I like apps that are easy to use and useful. I don’t want anything where the technology is too hard and gets in the way of practicing the maths. Read more ►

a catch up meeting

How have you been using the iPads so far?

Tutor 1. “I have taken a single iPad into class to film student presentations. In the past I have audio recorded presentations and used these for students to self and peer review, but having the Ipad and recording the presentations meant I was also able to focus on giving feedback on body langauge too. I set the task up by giving students prompts of specific things they should give peer feedback on. This is linked directly to exam prep and evidence of improvement of a ‘soft skill’. I’ll repeat this task later in year so students will be able to see their progress over the course.”

To do: We discussed the possibility of using the You Tube Capture app on the iPad. The videos can easily be uploaded to the ESOL You Tube account keeping them private. During class, this privacy setting can be chanaged so ss can view the video and a discussion can be had on internet safety, privacy issues and ss given the choice about whether they want the links to remain open so they can share them with others.

Tutor 2. “to be honest I haven’t used the iPads yet. When I looked at them before they weren’t charged up so I didn’t use them. I like the idea of using them to record and linking this to mock exam practice. There is a level 1 criteria on body language so video-ing the students and doing a peer review task would be really useful. I can video them this week and plan for feedback next week.”

Other ideas: We looked at the Show Me app and discussed the possibility of higher level ESOL students creating videos on a particular grammar point. We also talked about Powtoon and whether this was a PC based software or a mobile app.



findings and recommendations

Here is a short PowerPoint giving a overview of the finding in relating to the  to the importance of the collaboration between the tutors and the benefits of using iPads in class.


Recommendations: to tutors

Whatever your experience with using technology both in and outside of your teaching role, your own digital literacy skills or opinions on the role of technology in education we have to accept firstly, that students generally like using technology in the classroom and secondly that the notion of ‘technology’ is a moving beast – that technologies come and go.

With these key issues in mind I would recommend:

  1. Find a partner or small group of tutors who can experiment together with new technologies. Having a sounding board for ideas, inspiration and the sometimes needed little push is a really valuable aspect of professional development.
  2. Get a trusted colleague to come into your classroom for a peer observation. There is huge value in getting another perspective,  both in terms of reassuring you about what is working well and getting objective feedback to help figure out what you can do to improve it.
  3. Involve your students in your experimenting. Let them know that you are trying something new and why and that you need their help in figuring out if it works or not.

student and tutor feedback: discussion


A common theme to emerge from the interview with the maths tutor and the student forum is the link between confidence, maths and technology. The tutor is very aware of her student needs and the level of support they need in developing their maths skills, and while she is keen to ensure technology is used to add variety and support student independence she is also aware that lack of confidence in the technology itself can be a barrier.

For the tutor, being part of this project has provided her with a space to take risks and try something new with her students. The feedback from the students has given her the confidence in continuing with using the technology and embedding it into her classroom practice.

Teacher Education Read more ►

a reflection on methodology: the research question

For a long time I struggled to pinpoint what exactly the research was, particularly in relation to a focus on the technology or a focus on the collaboration between the tutors.

What I didn’t have clear in my mind was whether the tutors involved in the project were the research question itself, or whether the tutors were the methodology I was using to collect data on using the technology.

I don’t think I have any concrete answers to how we can effectively use the technology. The technology is moving so fast and you become familiar with one tool and it disappears. This has been true in the past and is still true today, as I have invested a considerable amout of time on Ask3, only for it to be discontinued.

I can share what I have learnt this past year and I hope that this gives some inspiration for someone to explore something new, but the biggest thing that has supported my exploration throughout this year has been the people and the discussions. A huge part of this has been the tutors involved in the project, and I have learned something different from all of them.

a reflection on methodology: my voice in the project

One thing that I struggled with a lot during the data collection and data analysis part of the project was how I could include my experiences in this final project report. At one point I wondered if I needed to have someone come to interview me, in the way that I had interviewed the other tutors, but this didn’t feel right.

Recognition that a reflective journal was a valid data tool for action research came quite late in the project & drawing on posts from my own blog & more informal notes I have made throughout the year has been a really valuable data tool.

Having the support from my mentor at emCETT was really valuable to help me recognise what I had to contribute to the project. Although I had taken a lead in terms of coordinating the meetings and setting up the iPads, in terms of using the iPads in class with my students I was very much an equal with the other tutors. Read more ►

research journal: discussion

There are two essential aims to action research: to improve and to involve.  Action research aims at improvement in three areas: first the improvement of practice; second the improvement of the understanding of the practice by its practitioners: and third, the improvement of the situation in which the practice takes place” (Carl and Kemmis, 1986. p165).

These are been key aspects to this action research project. A key driver behind the project has been around how tutors involved in action research can improve their practice. This blog, as a dissemination tool, gives a voice to all the tutors who have taken part in the project, but I am conscious that the loudest voice here is mine. I have enjoyed writing this from two points of view:

  1. a ‘traditional’ research report that tells a story: the background, a question, methodology, data, a discussion and findings/recommendations
  2. my reflections on this.

I am a practitioner first and foremost, but I also enjoy undertaking practitioner research as a part of my professional development. I know that I am a better teacher for having fabulous, enthusiastic colleagues who are willing to support me to experiment with different things.  This gives me confidence to go into my classrooms and tell my students that I am trying something new and ask for their help with this.


tutor interviews: discussion

The key themes to emerge from the tutor interviews are as follows:

Access to the technology -

  • distance from the Flexible Learning Center (where the iPads were stored) was an issue.
  • BYOD. Who’s responsibility is it to provide technology to be used in the classroom.

Benefits of the technology

  • mulitimedia: images, audio, video
  • portability: move-ability within the classroom as well as taking it out of the classroom

Limitations/barriers Read more ►

research journal: peer observation

I was so pleased that one of my colleagues from the project was available to come peer observe me for this session. The feedback was so positive it was reassuring to hear how well the students engaged with the task and I got a different perspective on the lesson.

Involving students in research

I think the most reassuring thing for me was around knowing that the students had given informed consent to take part in the research, to be videoed and for me to share their work with others. This was an area that I had struggled with a lot around exactly how I was going to get feedback from my students. Read more ►