What I’ve learned this week #5

Another quick week – today I’m out of school meeting with other Computing teachers or faculty managers in the authority. I enjoy these meetings as there are usually one or two new ideas or resources shared.

1. Found out about Quia – an eAssessment web application which can deliver resources, tasks and surveys to entire classes or individual pupils. One of my colleagues at Inverurie Academy uses this with her classes and found that it allowed for quick target setting as well as effective delivery of differentiated lessons or homework. I noted that if classes were shared between teachers with different accounts the pupils would need to remember different logins and passwords. After discussion we agreed that a school licence would solve this issue.

2. Delivered lessons to S3 pupils on new developments in data visualisation. I used sections from David McCandless’ TED talk “The Beauty of Data Visualisation” as well as a short practical task exemplifying sparklines. I made it relevant by showing a spreadsheet of glucose levels and discussing safe levels for those with diabetes. Pupils realised that by having visual indicators of the progression of glucose levels plotted against a safety range was very useful for doctors and diabetic patients who wanted to avoid slipping into a hypoglycemic coma. A bit scary perhaps but boy did it get their attention.

3. The assessment of S4 pupils at the mid point of the new Databases & The Internet unit shows a marked improvement in attainment. In previous years some S4 pupils wasted a term working through Intermediate 2 Database Systems and failing before rushing through Int 1 Information & The Internet during the final term. The overlap between the two units allowed a longer period to master the basics so I combined the two units as a bi-level, multi term unit. Next term the classes split with the Int 1 pupils tackling web design and the Internet theory sections and Int 2 pupils going on to Normalisation to 1NF.


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