Innovation in education - latest research updates
Since January, we've been exploring the area of evidence in education technology. This follows on from the finding of our 'Decoding Learning' report that hundreds of millions of pounds are spent on technology in schools with little evidence for the impact it makes on learning outcomes.
Back in January, I set out the rationale for this work, and in April I gave an update on how things have been progressing. As the teachers and learners we have been working with enjoy a much needed summer break, here is a further update on how the projects have been progressing.
The Visible Classroom
This project explores the use of real time captioning and transcription for student learning and teacher professional development. It is an EEF funded pilot, and has run in 10 schools since February.
As a pilot project, it has been a case of working with teachers to develop different aspects of the technology and the way it is implemented and explore the process by which it works as well as the impact it has on students and teachers. The project has now come to an end in schools, and the various teams are collating their data and findings and preparing to report on the impact it has had.
The use of the technology developed as we were trialing, most significantly as we explored the professional development aspect and whether teachers found it better to respond to ongoing 'drip fed' feedback on their teaching or an intensive programme. Some teachers on the trial tried having a single lesson a week transcribed and fed back on over the course of two terms, some tried an intensive 5 week programme where a lesson was transcribed every day.
Our Flipped Learning trial takes the model of delivering new content prior to lessons in the form of videos and exercises, then following up with more interactive and personalised learning activities in class. So far we have run the trial in five high schools in Scotland, exploring how students and teachers experienced the approach in a topic in their Mathematics lessons.
Some interesting findings and questions have come out of this work so far. Trouble free access to educational websites outside of school is still a challenge for some schools, as is making sure students complete homework tasks.
The traditional structure of lessons have many benefits, one of them being that familiarity means teachers and students know how to get the best out of them, so changing to a new and unfamiliar structure takes some adjustment. Mapping a new approach to the existing curriculum is really important, and the mapping we have done for the Maths curricula has been fundamental in making this trial work.
The Khan Academy resources have received much praise from the teachers we have worked with. The next stage is to refine our approach based on the feedback so far, and continue this trial in a further seven secondary schools in England in the autumn term.
Find out more about this project.
We are working with Third Space Learning to explore the impact of additional one to one tutoring, delivered remotely, to support primary children to achieve their potential in Maths. As a large random controlled trial, there has been significant work on the setup and initial data collection for this project.
We now have our full complement of schools identified and ready to start in September, and will work with six hundred children over the two years of the project. We will be discovering whether the children (around ten per school) who receive the intervention have better outcomes on average to those identified in other schools.
However, the evaluators York Trials Unit will also be exploring the wider effects of such an intervention. A case could be made that supporting children in a class who are struggling allows the entire class to achieve better. We will be testing that case to see if there is evidence for such claims.
Find out more about this project.
Over the coming months the results of some of our work will be analysed and start to be published, and I will blog as they do.
For now, I can report that we have learned a lot from these projects already in terms of how the experience of research affects schools and how the implementation of trials can be successfully approached. I will consider these practical findings in future posts.