Innovation in the Classroom and Beyond
In his recent blog for Alps, Mike Foley highlighted the importance of focusing on teaching and learning during these difficult times (Re-calibrating and bringing the agenda back to teaching and learning). During my time working in schools, it has always been a privilege to work with teachers in the classroom. Over this time, I have never ceased to be impressed with my colleague’s ability to bring innovative approaches to teaching ‘traditional’ concepts; from using rappers to teach iambic pentameter in Shakespeare to ‘Plant Cell Disco’ models to teach cell structure in biology. As we approach the end of one the most challenging terms in recent memory, the on-going requirement to adapt teaching plans to provide engaging learning experiences for our students has required all the creativity and innovation that teachers can harness. This ability to innovate is being tested even further as teachers are required to move to blended learning approaches when ‘bubbles’ of students are required to work from home for significant blocks of time. What is certain, however, is that teachers across the country are rising to this challenge and that new approaches to teaching and learning will continue to emerge.
Coupled with this innovation in the delivery of skills and concepts, schools will also need to focus closely on approaches to assessment in order to identify gaps in student’s knowledge. Whether in the classroom or at whole-school level the nature of learning experiences during the summer term will have resulted in colleagues in schools having to modify their assessment practices. The information from this on-going assessment will be critical in helping to shape the next steps in learning within the classroom. Equally, it will be essential in helping teachers and school leaders to effectively identify particular groups of students who require additional support and intervention so that the additional catch up funding can be targeted most effectively.
At Alps, we are continuing to innovate and further develop our approach within Connect Interactive to help support leaders and teachers within schools achieve the very best outcomes for their students. In her recent blog “Starting the Autumn Term in the right frame of mind” Sue Macgregor, our Director of Education, highlights the importance of setting targets and creating a monitoring point zero (MPZ) as a benchmark for tracking progress across the term – and how Connect Interactive can support this process. At this point, many of you will now have completed a set of summative assessment. Use of both the Strategic Overview and Subject Overview elements of Connect Interactive with the most recent assessment data will help school leaders to quickly analyse student progress to date. Using the Connect Interactive Comparison and Filter Tools will help target key groups of students who require further support or intervention. In addition, the new ‘Trends’ feature within the Subject Overview provides an effective means of targeting students who are making less progress than expected.
Looking further ahead, we are working on exciting projects to enhance our platform further. We want to provide leaders and teachers, both within schools and colleges and across groups of schools, with increased capacity to support the process of improving outcomes. By providing quick and easy access to additional key information our analysis will help shape both intent and implementation. We will provide colleagues in schools and colleges with more details on these important developments in spring 2021.
Reading one of the excellent ASCL newsletters recently I was struck by a quote from Ian Flemming
“Hope makes a good breakfast. Eat plenty of it.”
In these difficult times hope, coupled with an ambition for our learners, is what will make the difference – and from a classroom perspective, the ‘What If?’ tool in Alps is a good a place as any to start.
If you are interested in finding out more about the power of Connect Interactive please register for a free trial on our website or contact one of our team [email protected]for further details and a demonstration.
Alps Educational Consultant