Experimenting with digital learning tools: trying something different for the new school year

The idea of trying to introduce new and innovative ideas and technologies into the classroom may sound like an appealing one. But how can teachers ensure that change equates to progress rather than a step in the wrong direction.

At GCSEPod we are regularly asked about how integrating our learning resources into the classroom can be done seamlessly. Here’s our advice for teachers looking to bring new edtech into their GCSE schemes of learning.

GCSE online resource

Familiarise yourself with the software

Every teacher knows that preparation and planning is integral to getting the best out of students in every aspect of education. But in the case of technology it is particularly important to familiarise oneself with the tools available. The GCSEPod support team always recommends that teachers allow time to trial the system, watch Pods and explore additional functionality before incorporating Pods into lesson plans or flipped learning scenarios.

Experimentation is best done early on so that a teacher can feel comfortable and competent with software. Fear of pressing buttons or trying out features can prevent a teacher from using a tool to its full extent.

Anticipating mistakes and potential questions from students is always important – as is ensuring that issues such as connectivity and WiFi passwords are handled before the lesson begins.

Have a back-up plan

With the best will in the world, even the strongest Internet connection can drop out from time to time and even the best hardware can run slowly – usually at the most inconvenient time. To safeguard against this kind of challenge, why not have a back-up option available . . . such as an offline playlist that’s already been downloaded.

Be realistic

GCSEPod has been shown to have a marked impact on learners’ Progress 8 scores and performance in GCSE examinations over time. Yet it is also important to understand that acclimatising to a new technology and getting the best out of it can take time.

Many GCSEPod subscribers introduce our digital learning tool to students early in the academic year. Yet often usage can be relatively low until students begin revising for their mock exams. However, once it becomes clear to learners how effectively they can identify and close knowledge gaps with GCSEPod, usage can increase dramatically.

For teachers looking to utilise GCSEPod for flipped learning or in the setting of assessments, it is often important to be realistic about how fast to introduce Pods. Set goals for students that are achievable as they begin to adopt the technology.

In the early days it can be important for students to become comfortable with a new piece of software as part of a quality experience rather than opt for sheer quantity.

Parental buy-in

When trying out a new technology and integrating new ideas into the classroom, it is always important that teachers get the support and buy-in from parents.

Encouraging parents to help their students experiment with online learning resources at home can be incredibly effective. Not only will parents quickly grow to understand the value of a resource but in the case of GCSEPod it can also help to break the stigma surrounding digital devices. Rather than being seen as a distraction from study they may instead be embraced as a means of advancing study.

Looking to bring something new to the school this September. Find out more about GCSEPod by contacting the team on 0191 338 7830 or by email support@gcsepod.com

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“100% of our year 11 students achieved at least 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C.

82% achieved at least 5 GCSEs including Maths, English and/or Welsh at grades A*-C. An impressive 27% of grades were at A* or A compared to the national average of 19.4%.

We strongly believe that GCSEPod has played an important role in improving the outcomes for some of our pupils. Indeed, some of our top users exceeded their target grades in many areas and have now returned to the sixth form to continue their studies at A level.”

Diane Evans - Assistant Head Teacher,
Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteif

There is a very clear correlation between the subjects with the most pronounced raises in attainment (English Literature, Chemistry, Biology and Physics) and those that had the highest GCSEPod usage.

In addition, the student with the highest GCSEPod usage was also our highest achiever.

Because there has so clearly been an impact on the departments that utilised GCSEPod effectively, we will be looking to increase the use of GCSEPod across the school in coming years.”

Andrew Ost - Deputy Head,
Fort Pitt Grammar School

“We’ve used GCSEPod for a year and the results speak for themselves!

Not only did we see a rise in headline measures across the board with our highest user of GCSEPod gaining 7A* – but the students and their parents love it!

It’s fun, user friendly, and easy to use in a variety of ways – on a mobile device, in school, at the heart of our mentoring and intervention strategies, for flipping learning, and to deliver positive engagement that parents can see. Plus we’ve only just scratched the surface!”

Dominic Howkins - Vice Principal,
Ormiston Sudbury Academy

Awards

Don’t just take our word for it. GCSEPod has gained huge recognition since our initial launch in 2010 and we continue to pick up industry awards along the way. We’re constantly listening to the schools that use GCSEPod and learning how we can best support teachers and students in times of change. Contact us to tell us your goals for the next year and discuss how we can be a part of your school improvement strategy.

Click here to find out more about our awards