About 1.23 million children in England have special educational needs (SEN). This accounts for 14.4% of children in the population, and is a huge percentage of pupils in our schools, meaning that it’s vitally important to get children the help they deserve so they can excel academically rather than getting left behind.
Pobble, the global literacy initiative recently named as one of the top-five providers of education technology in the UK in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, has announced that it’s opening up its assessment tool for external users. The tool allows teachers to create assessment files for pupils, and moderate their writing together with colleagues. A limited number of teachers can now sign up to gain access for free.
What is it that makes a school special? Is it the location, resources, perhaps a particular specialism? While there could be many things, most schools would say the teachers and pupils that make up the core community of the school; they are the living embodiment of a school’s ethos. So, naturally, schools will want to shout about their achievements, and the internet is a fantastic resource for spreading the word, whether this is through email distribution, a website or social media.
Zzish, the UK-based software company founded by former Google product manager Charles Wiles, has refined its groundbreaking ‘teacher dashboards’ with a series of new features that help teachers tackle the tedious marking mounting. The platform is pioneering the way in which students learn and optimising teacher’s valuable time spent marking and spotting learning gaps.
1. Grade the teacher!
One way we can improve the learning in each lesson is to get the children to openly ‘grade’ the teaching and learning that has gone on in the lesson (pictured above). This allows children to take responsibility of their input into the lesson, and allows honest dialogue between teacher and pupil to take place. it helps to develop the teaching and learning that goes on by allowing the pupil to be in control and take ownership of their effort, something some children find challenging to understand. This method develops a pupil’s understanding of the need to engage actively with their learning opportunities and to allow active thinking to help them learn.
Inventive Computing teachers and gurus have been working in and with schools across the country to ensure that teachers have everything they need to deliver the subject, which was introduced into the National Curriculum in September 2014. Progression Pathways has worked with partner schools to collate a set of free-of-charge, impartial and sans-marketing Computing FAQs available online and in PDF format from: www.computingfaqs.net. In addition, online open forums will ensure that this selection of FAQs are up-to-date and relevant for school leaders and teachers alike.
I often hear and read that being a teacher requires passion (plus a thick skin, a love of paperwork and a longing for constant change while living without sleep or having a social life – only joking!). I also hear that teaching is more of a vocation than a job. After nearly four decades, I would have to agree. Passion for teaching and learning is certainly what provides the energy, the drive to overcome challenges but is that how it starts? For me, it was almost by accident.
I just hated getting my son’s report card these last several years. Funny, too, since I was a Middle and High school Language Arts teacher for 16 years and sent out report cards very similar to the ones I was now receiving. I guess that we get a more clear-eyed view of things as a parent. I just did not feel that these report cards helped me understand what our son excelled at and what he needed work on. Sure, there were the letter grades. But just what went into that A- or B, beyond the grades on a set of assignments?
My first use of the Plickers assessment app for SEN purposes was met with mixed results. Staff and students were intrigued, but too much support was required for the students to use the cards that are provided on the website in a meaningful way. The concept of holding the card up a certain way to ensure a letter was the right way round was not clear to most. The abstraction between an answer they knew and the letter depicted on the card is a concept that presents difficulties for most of my students.