Posts Tagged With: AfL

Showbie: the app with so many possibilities

Our school first discovered the Showbie app just over a year ago when working alongside a senior computing colleague who was actually introducing us to Book Creator (another great app).  Since then, we have been exploring how to use it across a range of age phases from Year 2 to Year 6.  The video below, from the Showbie website, gives a quick overview of what it does and how it can be used.

There are many great benefits of Showbie, including: the app and sign up are free (you can pay for a pro version); it is cloud based so children can share learning they do at school with home and vice-versa; you can provide different kinds of feedback, including voice messages; it is compatible with many other apps and ultimately is easy to use!  Furthermore, it has a brilliant blog with plenty of examples of how Showbie is being used in classrooms around the world.

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Categories: Apps, Teaching and Learning | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Recommended reading

The most effective professional development is often initiated and determined by the teacher themselves. For many, this is achieved through engaging with the ever growing online community such as Twitter, blogs, TeachMeets etc.  However, for others the book (whether digital or old fashioned paper) is still their primary source of furthering their learning and practice.

Click here to see our updated recommended reading page.

Categories: Reading, Teaching and Learning | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Assessment: from government led to student led

The aim of this post is to challenge and provoke thinking about what quality assessment really looks like.  Currently, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding assessment in education and it has always been a highly charged and debated topic among academics and teachers.  This post should help identify the limitations of levels and, hence, why they have been removed from the new curriculum.  Furthermore, the power of student led assessment and critiquing will be highlighted and why this needs to be developed across far more schools in England.

One of the biggest changes in the new National Curriculum is the removal of levels and what this means for future assessment.  Watch Tim Oates, chair of the expert panel which informed the review of the national curriculum 2010 to 2013, talk about the purpose of changes to assessment in the new curriculum and rationale behind moving away from levels.

Although having been teaching and researching passionately for many years, Ron Berger’s outstanding findings on student led assessment has only recently become more widespread as a result of his video entitled ‘Austin’s butterfly’.  It does not matter if you have seen this video before, as it inspires every time. Watch and wonder.

The video illustrates the power of Assessment for Learning (AfL), specifically feedback and the use of success criteria (although Ron uses the term ‘critique’ to include all the elements of effective AfL).  Furthermore, Ron’s most recent book entitled ‘Leaders of their own learning: Transforming schools through student-engaged assessment’ is an excellent read and another investment worth making.

Amazon.co.uk describes the book as follows: ‘From Expeditionary Learning Schools comes a proven approach to student assessment Leaders of Their Own Learning offers a new way of thinking about assessment based on the celebrated work of Expeditionary Learning Schools across the country. Student–Engaged Assessment is not a single practice but an approach to teaching and learning that equips and compels students to understand goals for their learning and growth, track their progress toward those goals, and take responsibility for reaching them. This requires a set of interrelated strategies and structures and a whole–school culture in which students are given the respect and responsibility to be meaningfully engaged in their own learning. It includes everything teachers and school leaders need to implement a successful Student–Engaged Assessment system in their schools.  It outlines the practices that will engage students in making academic progress, improve achievement, and involve families and communities in the life of the school.

Assessment continues to be an ongoing struggle for many teachers, often causing much anxiety.  With the theory and rationale behind the abolition of levels explained by Tim Oates and the inspiring work of Ron Berger and his colleagues, it is an exciting time to be a teacher and be able to develop a child-engaged assessment system that is grounded in the principles of AfL and tailored to the school, children and teacher’s setting.

Categories: Assessment, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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