Saturday, 20 June 2009


Well, as i've been prety much absent this year at this blog address, i thought i'd try to get back on the horse.

Was reading some article about how "the young people nowadays" ((C) My Dad) live in an Echo Chamber type world where ideas are more or less instantly fed back on, which reminded me of a story in the NY Times last year about how top class football (they said soccer ... Bah!) players succeed because of not just practise, but deliberate practise. The difference being that they recieve immediate feedback on specific tasks, and wondered how i was addressing these two linked ideas at the moment.

So i've been on a quest to hit this immediate feedback at often as possible. Somtimes this is just flat giving them the answers to start with (so they can concentrate on method rather than outcome) but i've found the most useful way is using my old friend MS Excel and it's sweet conditional formatting so that when a kid answers a question, they immediately know if it is correct or not.

Result? Well i experimented like this for 2 parallel classes i teach.

I gave both the same material, one as a standard pen and paper exercise, the other on latpops with immediate feedback.

Class Pen & Paper did ok, and completed their work in the lesson.

Class Laptop did the same.

In the test the week after, class laptop scored a full level higher than class pen and paper.

(P&P average National Curriculum level 4.2, Laptop NC 5.4*)

* it should be said that some of this group said they'd saved a copy of the spreadsheet and used it to practise at home - this may have had an influence

Anyway, this is usually the time of year i like to experiment (more free time as year 11 and 13 have finished their exams and left) so going to keep on with this and see how it affects other classes.

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