Some of you might be aware of my Youtube account where I talk about some different tech that you can use in the classroom.
Below you can see my video on how I use Plickers, but I wanted to give a bit of a write up to go with it.
The reason I am pro-Plickers and anti-most other apps of the same kind is that Plickers only requires the teacher to have a device. For me this is essential for a few reasons:
- Not all pupils have a smartphone or the latest smartphone, therefore meaning that they cannot take part in the activity. We are effectively excluding them based on their income, or parental decision not to allow their child to have a smartphone.
- Some pupils have a phone, but it is not a smartphone. Again, this excludes them.
- Some schools don't have the infrastructure, or do not allow pupils to connect their devices to the school wi-fi, it is unfair to get pupils to use (or overuse) their data just so that they can take part in an activity.
- It might go against a school policy, perhaps pupils shouldn't have phones out at all. It would create an inconsistency if you started allowing them for chance events.
For Plickers, only the teacher has a device, this means that you avoid all of the above problems.
All the pupils require is a card (prior to the class you need to allocate a number to the pupils) printed out with a funny shape on it. You can see an example at the top.
As you can see on the card there is a letter, 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D', a question, selected by the teacher, appears on the whiteboard, pupils then hold the card up with the letter which they think has the correct answer, pointing towards the ceiling. Using your device, you then scan the cards.
You are then able to see how pupils answered, meaning that if they all got it right you can move on. If there were errors then you can recap on what they need to know and address any confusion.
I really like Plickers, it is easy and simple to set-up and use and it is something different for pupils, whislt enabling you to see how pupils are answering and getting on.
You can check out the video I posted below, which is avaliable on my Youtube channel.
Try it out and let me know how you got on, either in the comments below or on Twitter, I'll do my best to help you out, or defend my points.
Ever since I read about it on the highly informative Education Endowment Foundation Tool from the Sutton Trust (which can be found here) I've been fairly interested in the idea of Mastery Learning. The Sutton Trust gives a really good explanation of Mastery Learning, in short, they found that for a low implementation cost, there was significant progress made by pupils. However, they found that this progress tailed off the longer Mastery Learning was used.
My account is purely anecdotal, but would make for a fairly fascinating research project. Meaning that I'll have to add it to the list.
I initially tried Mastery Learning out last year with my Year 8s on a SoW on the Buddha. I forget my motives, but I decided to combine the idea of Mastery Learning with that of Flipped Learning. I can only assume, at this point, that I chose to do this for either the sake of practicality, or because I'd come across the idea of Flipped Learning at the same time and haphazardly meshed the two together.
I administered the course through Edmodo (because it's pretty great for a range of stuff) and the course followed this structure:
- Prior to the lesson, the pupils watch a video. I link this to Edmodo. They then have a quiz to answer.
- The quiz starts, in week 1, with 10 questions. By lesson six the amount of questions raises to 20.
- The quiz has a time limit set, this was done to prevent pupils researching the answer every time.
- Based on the tenets of Mastery Learning pupils were required to score over 80%.
- If pupils score over 80% when they arrive in the next lesson, they complete tasks which work on apply the knowledge that they have gained.
- If they score less than 80% then they complete a task to ensure that they do meet the 80% threshold. This also allows you to tailor support to pupils as soon as they enter the lesson.
- The reason that the question number grows, is that in Lesson 1 they are only tested on content for that lesson. In week 2 they are quizzed on content from Lesson 1 and 2, week 3 they are tested on content from week 1, 2 and 3. Eventually in week 6 they are being tested on content from week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6! Meaning that it should place a high value on retaining knowledge across a longer term, not just in the moment as some teaching styles can promote.
It's easy to write this online, as you cannot quiz my pupils, but they were genuinely enthusiastic for each video and quiz.
I would never recommend something unless I thought it had a benefit for pupils (and teachers). The initial set-up of this was somewhat time-consuming, but the time spent in the set-up saves you A LOT of time once you get into the swing of it. The fact that Edmodo can 'mark' the quiz for you means that you can tailor individual support for pupils really easily and effectively.
One of the time-consuming factors in the set-up is the quiz design. You can opt for multiple choice, which brings the potential headache of providing effective distractors. Or the fact that in a subject like RE there can be spelling variations which Edmodo cannot cater for.
Last year was my first run-through. I loved it, the pupils seemed to love it, but I know there were areas that I want to work on.
This year I'm working on some of the brand, shiny, new version. With a whole load of research backed factors (which deserve a post of their own) I'm going to make my own videos, use Edpuzzle to ensure engagement with the videos and work on the quiz design, which is a WAY bigger job than I'd ever imagined. I'm also going to try and measure the output to see whether there is a significant improvement in the pupil's work.
Any questions, please send them my way. I'll make sure to keep you posted with my revamped look at Mastery and Flipped learning and will most definitely be putting together a research-backed look at video use.