Holy Trinity cluster meeting update 23/11/06
Graeme suggested that Taecanet had worked well in his school for pre-learning activities which was echoed by other members of the group. The fact that Taecanet introduces the personalised learning agenda to students was also seen as a benefit. Even when students were left to their own devices, with no pressure to complete work, Graeme and his staff would often see a high level of completion, with students finishing work 'off their own back' which is very encouraging. He was also of the opinion that Taecanet offered Gifted and Talented learners an opportunity to learn by exploration which resulted in them learning more. If you would like to see what Graeme has to say about Taecanet, please visit http://www.taecanet.com/
Some of the teachers reported that Taecanet is a good homework tool due to the fact it is safe and can be accessed via the web. It was also said that the service helps to reduce the workload for teachers in terms of marking, and it was very useful for showing parents what homework their children have been set. The group told us that it was very useful in terms of introducing topics to students and giving the class a good baseline of knowledge on that topic.
Taecanet is being used in a number of ways in these schools, which is something that we would very much encourage and in fact, almost every teacher that sees Taecanet, sees a potentially different use for it. It is currently being used across these schools in these ways: as a revision tool, for extension work, for research, for homework, and to support other in-school teaching. We were told that some students would react well to working on Taecanet, but some may not, which is to be expected as students learn in different ways. This is a fair point and at the end of the day, Taecanet is simply another available resource to be used within a blended learning environment. This seemed to be recognised by the group, with one teacher commenting that you can 'dip in and out' of Taecanet.
We were also told that students thought that Taecanet was a 'game' and that they learned without realising. It was also put to us that some students responded well to the fact that they did not have to write. After all, this is not everyone's strong point and it is just pleasing that students are engaged in learning. However, it is vital that these key skills are also addressed in other areas of that child's education. Children enjoy the 'rewards' for learning by collecting the gold coins and being able to access games, which is good news as they were designed to be both motivational and rewarding.
In terms of improvements, the idea of 'timing journeys' was brought up, which would enable the teacher to gain a valuable insight into how long it takes students to complete journeys/units. This would give teachers the opportunity to see if the students may need to be challenged with more difficult work, or whether their students are struggling with the work depending on how long it takes them to complete it. This may be of value to teachers and this sort of information should not be too difficult to extract. One teacher also made the point that students are able to use the 'Back' arrow to navigate and replay the games, which is something that we are aware of and working to put right. Voice-over technology was a popular idea, and we will implement this into the service to aid the weaker readers. The Virtual Classroom was largely seen as a valuable addition to Taecanet, and a few schools expressed and interest in finding out more, which will be followed up soon.
Many thanks to all involved, and I hope the next meeting is even more productive. If any Taecanet users require any more in-school support then please contact me and I can arrange some follow up training or advice. You can email email@example.com