During 2016 I have been profiling a number of Staff members from different departments to help to highlight the seamless nature of ICT integration into the vast majority of classrooms here at StAC. In Term 1, I began by profiling Donna Jones; a post which highlighted and celebrated the willingness of an experienced classroom teacher to innovate and model effective learning to her students. That post was followed by a profile of some of the great work occurring in the Mathematics department; focusing on the strong collaboration occurring between Mr John Quealy, and Mr Mitch Howard as they work to raise engagement and success levels for some priority learners.
This week I am profiling Mrs Bronwyn Radcliffe, a member of staff who predominantly teaches in the Languages department. Over recent years, it has been pleasing to see the enthusiasm with which the Languages department has embraced the potential of eLearning tools in their classrooms.
Introducing Digital Textbooks
In 2016 the French department began a digital textbook trial. In an attempt to source the best product for the differing needs of each year level it was decided to use two different products; Studio for Year 11 students, and AQA for Year 12.
The allure of digital textbooks, for Mrs Radcliffe, is the range of interactive activities that are seamlessly linked to self-marking activities, and the detailed analysis of student performance that she, as the teacher, has access to. This analysis is replicated by the functionality of the second main online platform that Mrs Radcliffe utilises; Language Perfect. This product allows Mrs Radcliffe to personalise the learning of her students to the particular topic content by ensuring that the vocabulary lists that she requires students to learn are directly relevant to the classroom content.
“I love that I can provide Language Perfect with the specific vocabulary lists that I need my students to learn, and in most cases, it is entered into the programme for them to learn within 24 hours”
This functionality of Language Perfect enables Mrs Radcliffe to run include elements of a flipped classroom in regards to students knowing in advance the vocabulary that must be learnt to enable their learning to progress more immediately in class.
Providing Students with Better Feedback
As part of our three year teacher laptop lease, Mrs Radcliffe has recently been issued a Microsoft Surface 4. We have previously blogged about the efficiency gains that a Surface tablet affords a teacher in giving students timely and valuable feedback, and Mrs Radcliffe has been quick to implement such practice in her class, through the class OneNote notebook. Her students now receive handwritten feedback that clearly identifies the areas for improvement in their work and, as in the example above, they can use the highlighter function to record the changes that they have made.
A second feature of OneNote that is adding value to Mrs Radcliffe’s teaching is the Insert Audio function. As a teacher of language, it is imperative that students are exposed to the correct pronunciation of new vocabulary. By using the insert audio function, both students and Mrs Radcliffe, are able to record, and listen to, each other speak. This has clear benefits for the quality of the student’s speaking.
Technology in Language Teaching
While researching this profile, it was again pleasing to see how fluently our teachers are able to articulate how technology influences their classroom practice. The confidence that they have to innovate, and more importantly reflect on the successes, and obstacles that ICT brings into a classroom, shows a real commitment to the flexibility and pride that they take in the development of their pedagogy. Mrs Radcliffe is a great example of this.