In 2015, Ofsted stated in their published handbook they were looking to judge schools on whether ‘pupils are set challenging goals, given their starting points, and are making good progress towards meeting or exceeding these’.
Essentially this means teachers need to be able to not only help their class progress, but keep documentation of it, so they can show how their students are improving.Interactive learning has become a large part of modern teaching – particularly with the rise of Apps being used in our daily lives. But Apps are not only for home life, they can also be used to benefit your teaching environment. These are five of the current programmes available to help teachers set homework for their students and monitor their progress.
The Firefly programme is centred on saving teachers time – time that would usually be spent copying and pasting information into documents and looking through documents to find everyone’s submitted homework. Organisation is one of the basic objectives to the App, aimed at making tasks such as setting homework and giving feedback as simple and effective as possible.
- Teachers choose whether to set paper or online homework
- Students can submit from any device e.g. android, laptop, imac etc.
- All documents are in one place rather than teachers having to search through their Inbox
- Feedback is all stored under one archive including – annotations – comments – audio or visual comment
- Homework can be shared with the parents online, as well as students to keep them in the loop
Firefly prides itself on developing its product based on the results of multiple case studies. These include both state and independent UK schools and international schools in Cairo and Bangkok.
eSchools is an App for either primary or secondary schools, and differs between the two only when necessary. They focus on a variety of classroom features used in real time that can be translated to an App. No less than sixteen features and apps make up eSchools.
- Teachers can easily create projects online with a variety of content types. These can re-used year by year
- Homework can assigned to individuals groups or a whole class
- Teachers can come up with Quizzes for homework or in the classroom, and can monitor how quickly students answered the questions
Primary schools have logins for the students as a set of images, whilst the secondary school App can be accessed by students via their school login.
Secondary school teachers can also adjust their App to keep up to date with the timetable changes.
3. Google Classroom
The best key word associated with Google I believe is convenience. Google Classroom is extremely convenient, whilst also making the point of being compatible with other Google Apps. Oh, and the best part… it’s free!
- Teachers have control of setting up an online class. From there they can invite co-teachers and students. All relevant information can be shared in the online classroom including announcements, assignments and questions from students.
- Work pages, class stream and the class calendar are platforms where the set work can appear.
- Teachers can instantly send out homework, and create class discussions.
- The App is compatible with all other Google programmes such as Gmail, Google Docs and Google Drive
Google prides itself on offering useful and free services and as the App is for educational services, it contains no ads and does not collect or use student content or data.
Moodle has had a good success rate across the education spectrum, and primary schools to universities make use of it. Moodle allows the ‘Administrator’ – the user who is in charge of maintaining the site – to manage all aspects of their Moodle site, although some tasks can be given to a ‘Manager’.
Moodle acts as educational online platform where everything from homework, helpful documents, and grading platforms can be created.
- Courses can be accessed by students once they have been authenticated by the Administrator
- Every course has grade book which can record scores of homework, quizzes, activities, and peer assessments
- Tracking progress on Moodle allows teachers to keep track on when a course is completed – each activity comes with a checkbox that a student can tick upon completion. Once all boxes are ticked the Course marks itself as complete
Moodle is all about giving the teacher who creates the site – the Administrator – flexible control over the content and structure of their educational platform.
A useful tool is the ability to add or take away Restrictions, so that certain material on the site will be available to the student with the relevant ability.
Milk is a programme that focuses more than most on being a homework diary for teachers and students. Aspects are divided into four main sections: Homework, Dashboard, Messaging and Control.
- Homework can be set instantly and is accessible to students via their phones computers or tablets
- The Dashboard feature allows teachers to track progress attendance, as well as homework marks. This is especially useful for when teachers need to demonstrate class structure and progress
- Relevant newsletter need not be sent by post. These can be sent from wherever the teacher is and they are able to confirm which students have read them
- The programme imports student information from SIMS, creating an accurate account of the class to collect data from. This also means students can receive alerts when they have been set a new assignment
Milk puts emphasis on their Teacher Platform, where most of the features are available in one place. The Dashboard includes links to uploading worksheets and buttons for both the teacher and student to confirm work done.
Technology is advancing at such a pace that it is important the changes reflect in the classroom environment. Apps for setting homework cut down on paper wastage, and help keep each class’s workload in one accessible place for you the teacher.
Written by Josh at First Tutors