Flexible learning is key in a modern classroom – there is no one-size-fits-all approach for teaching and learning. Tools to assist teachers and learners should meet a need without creating time/effort barriers. The design of a great classroom tool should simplify assessment and improve learning outcomes.
Getting the most out of the flexible learning journey
You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.Steve Honey
Anyone who has been a teacher in some capacity will be able to recognise that an understanding of each student and their approach to learning will enhance the teacher-learner relationship. For many teachers, this understanding of the individual is a difficult ask due to pressures on their day to day schedules. Meetings, planning, documentation – these are all time consuming activities that can have the tendency to drain and distract, but the need for skilled teachers to know and meet students on their learning journey never fades.
This process can be made more efficient with use of the right tools. These will enable flexible learning for every student.
As teachers are often skilled at seeing how best to help a student learn, a customisable flexible learning tool provides obvious advantages. Learning management systems (LMS) like Open Polytechnic’s iQualify combined with the iQualify for Schools learning resources give teachers and students the flexibility to manage teaching and learning in ways that suit both parties. Helping engage and inspire learners, offer feedback and assess tasks instantly – learning management systems are great tools in the busy teacher’s toolbox. Such tools make a teacher’s day easier to manage, with feedback and ‘next steps’ suggestions built in.
iQualify offers teachers the opportunity to build a cost-effective package of resources in key subjects. With New Zealand-specific resources built with instantly usable content, iQualify helps you know your individual students and provides carefully scaffolded activities.
New teachers will find iQualify a useful platform to launch their planning from. iQualify also provides an opportunity for Heads of Department to have input and combine ideas from all subject teachers. In this way, an excellent solution is custom-designed that can be accessed by anyone who needs it.
Students may have the option to select learning materials that meet their level of knowledge and interest. Students who want to move at a faster pace will find flexibility in the course material allowing for this possibility.
A frequent criticism of senior school timetables is that they lack the flexibility to accommodate students who aren’t present at school every day. Senior students who are out of school each week on work experience (such as Gateway and other Trades Academy programmes) will welcome 24 hour access that means they don’t miss out on critical learning. With iQualify, these students can be met on their individual learning journey and keep up with their peers who continue their learning fulltime on site.
Shifting gears to flexible learning
Covid-19 lockdowns have demonstrated how quickly teachers and learners can adapt, moving from face to face to online learning. While some teachers and students prefer one over the other, many have also come to see there are advantages in combining both. Blended learning gives teachers tools equip students for home learning while also enhancing learning in the classroom. Teachers can choose to use content again, adapt or develop it. The teacher is still the pivot in this environment as he/she still decides the outcomes for the learning. Learners have more control over when and how they learn than they do in a traditional model.
Take the wheel
With iQualify for Schools teachers can can use various tools to personalise the experience for their students and differentiate their approach. The teacher can decide how to use the material – students can work at their own pace. Alternatively, the teacher can lead learning with all students accessing the resources at the same time.
Multiple teachers could be using the same course, allowing collaboration and sharing of resources. Teachers can record a video to assist with written instructions or introduce a learning segment. This can be supported by text and/or email, so there are multiple forms of interaction between teacher and learners. The right LMS makes learning inclusive and can also be utilised with extra support such as a teacher aide. Students can ask questions of each other and the teacher(s). Groupings enable them to work together on a problem or a particular task or activity. The teacher can film a segment of face to face teaching and upload it, so those not present or those working on something else don’t miss out. Even those that were present might use this feature for their own revision. Share documents; lose nothing!
Another advantage to this flexible learning model is that teachers can reward learning with digital badges. Digital badges can instantly reward students’ accomplishments, so they get immediate feedback. Students can build their own “backpack” of badges that show the skills, completed activities and competencies they are developing. Through this system, many students will feel motivated to continue learning. Digital badges can show an individual student’s abilities which they can use on their CV or other portfolios.
iQualify for Schools resources have ‘next steps’ built into them. Some highlight where a student needs to go back to fill gaps in their knowledge or skills. As well as generic feedback, a teacher can personalise feedback given so that it is more specific. Teachers can also see what tasks and activities a student has attempted and where they might be struggling. It is easy to see a student’s input into discussion forums. Their time spent on online learning and their achievements can be tracked. This type of diagnostic analysis gives a teacher the tools to intervene and assist a learner to “fill the gaps” and to be successful.
- English, Maths, and Science (Year 9)
- English, Maths, and Science (Year 10)
- Level 1 NCEA: Maths, Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Health Education, Business Studies, Accounting, Economics, History and Geography (Year 11)
- Level 2 NCEA: Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Earth and Space science, Business Studies, Accounting, Economics, Financial Capability, History, Geography, Work and Study Skills (Year 12)
- and Level 3 NCEA: Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Earth and Space science, Accounting, Economics, History, Geography (Year 13)
- Year 9 – 13: Taku Haerenga – school wide careers programme
All content supports the New Zealand Curriculum. Years 11 – 13 NCEA Level 1 – 3 qualifications have been written and reviewed by experienced New Zealand teachers.
Get moving in the right direction
Contact us to find out how iQualify for Schools can work for you and your students.
Malcolm worked as a school leader for many years before joining the iQualify for Schools team. He has extensive experience with schoolwide approaches to ICT and supporting teachers to make great use of blended technology.
With a past life as an audio engineer, you’d better believe Malcolm is a great listener. He’ll be there all the way to make sure you have a great experience with iQualify for Schools.