All for one and one for all!
The drama surrounding education during the pandemic almost guarantees that teaching, learning and assessment models need to change. Schools are reflecting on what happened and how they can implement a more resilient and sustainable model that will overcome the difficulties of any covid re-emergence or of future novel pandemics.
Prior to the pandemic many of our pioneering schools had already made steps in this direction and had recognised that technology would be the enabler. They have made a lot of progress through the last 12 months and this provides some clear signals for those schools that are currently reflecting.
- The foundation of all models seems to be a flipped or hybrid flipped teaching approach.
- High levels of activity, extensive monitoring and intensive participation management make these approaches work.
- Achieving this means that compromises are inevitable:
- It isn’t possible to effectively monitor everything that happens on the internet. Activity needs to be contained and monitored within a small number of trusted environments where all activity requires login, is tracked and supports the formative assessment process.
- While young people may find it easy to pass time by watching a video on Youtube (or a presentation in class) it will be of questionable teaching value without verification the activity took place or without assessment of understanding. It needs to be the same as the centuries old teaching model - deliver content, verify understanding, make records and address learning gaps.
- Colleague and student discretion cannot really be accommodated. The trusted environment (s) need to be contained in a disciplined strategic approach. All for one and one for all! If all colleagues implement an intervention and all students participate the results will be spectacular.
- As the government has now made sure all students have a device, access to a device in class should be a requirement and the focus should shift to how to make the most of this classroom upgrade. It is an incredible opportunity.
The benefits of disciplined strategic interventions can be spectacular. Here are a few examples of different schools that have done really well during the Pandemic:
KS4 – State Non-selective – St Ambrose Barlow RC High School
“EzyScience was initially purchased to support homework for our GCSE Science students. This was reasonably well embedded by the start of the period of school closures, and it has allowed students to work independently.
During the closures it became incredibly useful to support learning remotely and the ability to monitor student progress during live lessons significantly increased engagement. Teachers delivered the content through live lessons and students would then complete assessments live and could be supported by their own teachers where this was required or use the question feedback videos.
What was really useful was the Question Level Analysis grids that allowed staff to identify areas of weakness that were common across the class and immediately provide feedback to improve understanding. One of the biggest advantages of EzyScience is the that every assessment is marked automatically, and students receive immediate feedback at the time through the support videos. Staff can then use the gained time to analyse the areas of weakness and focus on the subject areas to work on”.
Nick Irwin, Head of Science
KS5 - State 6th Form College - The College of Richard Collyer
"Ezy has been a huge help for us during the pandemic. It already plays a central role in our provision and we were able to continue this seamlessly over the last 12 months to help with distance learning. It has taken the pressure off trying to deliver new material in online sessions and meant that distance learning tasks that we set could be more engaging for the students and focus on development of skills. I also think that it has been a genuine source of comfort to Yr13 students; we’ve fluctuated between full time, blended and distance learning, but their use of EzyEconomics has been consistent throughout and I think the usage data attests to that."
Ian Smith, Asst.Director of Faculty, Head of Economics
KS4 – State Non-selective – Burnt Mill Academy
"After the first closure of schools we realised we needed to change and encourage more independent work. EzyScience has helped us to do this and as the activity has picked up I have noticed significant changes in the way our team and students work. The remote support and troubleshooting helped us to familiarise and hit the deck running last May. The activity we have experienced has a been incredible. Although the challenges vary between classes we have been able to vary the application of EzyScience to make sure everyone keeps moving forward."
Ryan Sandford: Head of Science
KS4 - State Non-Selective - Ravens Wood School
"Ravens Wood have found Ezyscience an incredibly helpful way of tracking pupils progress over the course and pinpointing areas for further teaching within the curriculum. Pupils enjoy the ease of access and the way the mark book can help them focus on areas they struggle with. The instructional video clips and question reviews help with understanding and many students complete independent work to increase their knowledge and improve their marks."
Shelley Bristow - Head of Science
KS4 – State Selective – Upton Court Grammar School
“We were very grateful we had EzyScience during lockdown. Although we have set our own lessons EzyScience has complimented this work in terms of the videos and ongoing assessments to ensure our pupils have understood the work. The online capability has allowed our pupils to access the work and engage with the subject matter whenever and wherever they can at the most convenient time. Many of our pupils were fasting during Ramadan so having EzyScience when they felt able to work with the feedback even at odd hours of the day was invaluable."
Andrea Fleming, Head of Physics
KS5 – State 6th Form College – Barton Peveril Sixth Form College
Subject Leader Economics
"EzyEducation has helped our department to develop a system for effectively tracking homework for IGCSE Science. During the pandemic, where pupils have missed school, having somewhere to direct them towards recapping work has been a huge timesaver.Students and teachers found resources in the core practicals section helpful in allowing them to refresh their memory on practical methods/results or go through model data when the in-class practicals failed to work".
Head of Science
Will it help my students?
The benefits for teaching teams shouldn't really need explanation. However, many schools like to see hard evidence of student success. None of our GCSE schools have even had a complete year of support prior to exams. However, some of had started to feel the benefit in the most recently complete exam season (2019).
Woodbridge High School - State Non-Selective
"I thought you would like to know that our GCSE triple science kids knocked it out of the park this year. We achieved ALPS 2 and the following achievements in each discipline - 75% achieved grade 9 to 7 in Chemistry, 83% achieved grade 9 to 7 in Physics and 83% achieved grade 9 to 7 in Biology. Many of the kids say that EzyScience contributed to this."
Marc Williams, Head of Science
Some of our KS5 schools have had a better opportunity to experience any impact.
KS5 - Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School - State Selective
“EzyEducation’s approach inspired me to think about how I could find more time in preparation and class to develop key skills. This was achieved by effectively outsourcing a lot of content delivery, increasing student independent learning and capturing learning data that really helps me to make a difference for my students. The value added achieved by the first two cohorts is very encouraging.”
Roger Bottomley, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School
In the period since schools first closed the service has allowed students to side step the learning disruption associated with the pandemic.
"The time I invested over the last few years in developing a digitally supported approach allowed learning to continue without any significant disruption. We continued to work on content coverage independently and the online classes were used to address gaps and focus on skills development. This is how we always work and the model sustained regardless of whether students were in class or at home. My Y12s continued to make solid progress despite school being closed."