BATHNES cluster meeting 7/11/2006 update
Teachers on the whole found that Taecanet was highly motivational for all ability levels, especially lower ability students due to the way that the learning materials are delivered in a self-paced manner, allowing students to learn using what they consider a 'game'. Many students do not even realise that it is a learning exercise, as it engages them in a way which combines more enjoyment and less 'forced' concentration. We also heard that the 'completion' element of the service worked well as students appreciate getting immediate feedback when completing questions and whole Units of work.
For the teachers, this 'game' mentality did not detract from the learning outcomes as many students appeared to have a greater understanding of the topics in-class, after using Taecanet for pre-learning activities. It was also noted that Taecanet is a good resource for supporting class learning, whether it be as a revision tool, or as an introduction to the subject for students. It is obviously very encouraging that teachers are finding their own uses for the service which supports our concept of allowing a great degree of flexibility, so that teachers can mould the service to meet their own needs whether it be revision, class work, homework or pre-learning.
In terms of future developments, the teachers that we spoke to suggested that an in-school report of usage and Units completed would be beneficial, which we will look to implement. Differentiation is another hot-topic (both for us and for schools), and it was suggested that this should be realised in the questions rather than the material itself. More gifted students should be able to answer more difficult questions, or explain their answer in more detail. We could employ 'key word' technology to allow these questions to be rated appropriately and this could also lead to a situation where Taecanet can tell teachers which 'level' their students are working to. This is something that we already have in mind and we are working towards a situation that will make this more commonplace in the service.
There was a lot of interest in the Virtual Classroom project for collaborating on school projects and sharing resources such as expert teachers. This will allow the cluster to work more efficiently and create a stronger bond between local schools which we are very supportive of. The Friday 13th ASE project (http://taecanet.blogspot.com/2006/10/groundbreaking-day-at-ase.html) also sparked a lot of interest and allowed all of the teachers to see just how powerful this tool can be. Ian Nairn will oversee these developments within the cluster and I will keep you posted on this front!
Many thanks to the staff from Peasedown St John, High Littleton and Farmborough for their continued support and feedback.