Michael Strachan is deputy headteacher of an outstanding international school in Dubai. He writes a wide variety of materials, ranging from textbooks to opinion pieces on leadership and pedagogy. A seasoned CPD presenter, Michael has been involved in the University of Cambridge's Festival of Science, the Abu Dhabi 'Education experts' conference and occasional guest spots lecturing on the University of Middlesex (Dubai) MA educational leadership course. He is currently writing his dissertation for a Master's in Educational Leadership and Management, at the University of Bath.
With the aim for the UAE to be #1 in the Global Innovation Index by the year 2021, it is hardly surprising that there is a heavy focus on innovation as part of the nation’s school inspection framework. However, as with most buzzwords, the term “innovation” has become somewhat debased. Even among experts the term is fiercely debated. This ambiguity leaves the average teacher with a quandary: they are being expected to increase the level of innovation in their practice, as well as helping foster innovation amongst their students, all the while being unclear of exactly what they are working towards.
Summative assessment is a dead duck. We all know this. Aside from a final examination, all of the assessment we do these days should be formative. It should enable the student to improve. Yet still we use written tests which give students a score, a grade or percentage. Now, of course a student can self-reflect on why they got the grade they did or the teacher can go through the test paper explaining errors but to do this on an individual, rather than whole-class basis is almost impossible. How then does a teacher give rich and detailed feedback to their students without it being a huge increase in workload? The answer is diagnostic testing, a technique which allows formative feedback to be generated from summative feedback.
Gamification is essentially about turning all manner of activities into games or competitive activities. Teachers routinely make learning into a game to motivate and interest their students, and so I thought that it might be interesting to take this to the next step and use it with members of staff.