This was going to be the year that I made it a priority to learn how to teach SOLO. It took me a while to appreciate SOLO and how I could teach it effectively, I even failed a few times. I then found the only way to make it work, was to create multiple resources, which allowed for the students to progress, albeit with difficulties. Many found it confusing, which often resulted in all students going through each phase together, with the most able students not being challenged.
However, with the advantage of my own “editable app”, I was able to easily deliver SOLO through the iBeacon, by assigning the different stages to individual beacons. Students were now aware of how the process worked and appreciated the ease with which they progressed, without being drowned in paper resources.
It was incredibly satisfying to be able to engage with the students on their own terms and at there own pace. This was achieved by the use of videos, word documents, PDF’s and PowerPoint presentations.
The IBeacon also meant I could assess student progress, by programming the beacon to send questionnaire’s at different times. Remarkably, the information returned by the students was considerably more detailed than was expected, which illustrated deeper learning. Previously a high level of understanding would not be demonstrated when only speaking to the students. This was particularly pleasing, especially when my Head asked, “how do you know they have progressed?” In reply, I proudly showed him the document below:
It was so pleasing to see the results – students were assessing their understanding independently and taking ownership for the first time. My students asked quality questions about their learning and were very keen to be top of the class.
A recent lesson
Let me take you through a recent geography lesson (the topic was coastal landforms), where the iBeacon was used. I was motivated to use the iBeacon, because of a distinct lack of confidence amongst the students, which was in part caused by half of the class not being present during the previous lesson.
The students at pre-structural phase watched a simple YouTube video I had edited. To help them gain a basic understanding, they had to draw a spider diagram of notes. I then grouped the uni/multi structural stages together and asked the students to read a PowerPoint presentation I had created and then produce annotated diagrams.
Students were then shown a WAGOLL (what a good one looks like), where they had to pick out the good points of annotated exam answers.
They then created a list of top tips from the exam answers – explaining how coastal landforms are created. This was part of the relational stage.
Students then had to answer a GCSE question regarding the formation of a chosen landform.
The extended abstract meant students had to apply their knowledge through the marking of exam questions/answers and provide feedback, which should be acted upon it. During the lesson students were sent two Google forms via the iBeacons, which delivered timely reminders and relevant content. These lessons proved to be more beneficial and delivered greater impact. Students loved it too, because they can control their learning, which allowed me to offer more one to one support.
Lastly it was good to have a visual AfL record of where the students finished, by using SOLO cards sent out over the ibeacon. I now deliver SOLO lessons frequently and have helped create an atmosphere of independent learning, which is a first for my classroom! Again it’s great to see how the ibeacon – with help from Aspire2Be – is making a genuine and lasting impact in the classroom.