The world of teaching and learning can become full of gimmicks, fads and “must have” gadgets. The IPEVO visualiser is different. It is a rare example of a non-gimmicky gadget that won’t just be a passing fad.
At the end of September we distributed IPEVO visualisers to any teacher in the Multi Academy Trust (one 11-18 secondary and two primary schools) who wanted one. Here is a collection of their initial thoughts and some examples of work. The visualiser doesn’t actually require any significant change to a teacher’s usual approach within the classroom, it simply allows the teacher to make their teaching or the work of students much more visible. You will note a thread running through many of the responses related to using actual examples of students’ work to highlight best practice and excellence or address mistakes or misunderstandings. This is all part of a greater focus on formative assessment and feedback across the academies. The word “live” appears time and time again.
Christ the King Catholic Academy
The use of visualisers was not an alien concept to Christ the King staff. The school had a large visualiser prior to the new IPEVO visualisers being distributed but only one teacher used it, as it was too big to readily move from room to room. The main benefits the children have commented upon, with these new devices, is that they are so much smaller than the old one and are light and easy to use (plug and play). The main staff comment has been that they “look” the part.
Children’s work is now edited live during lessons. Where editing is being demonstrated or pupils are asking for support in improving sentences the book is placed under the visualiser and children can observe, comment on and physically see the drafting process. The opportunity to praise specific aspects of the children’s work is a real bonus in improving their confidence. Instead of using interactive board software the visualiser can be used to demonstrate key concepts. For example, in Numeracy, coins may be placed under the visualiser to practise counting money. It’s easy to add and remove coins to change the amount. In Science the exploration of very small creatures like mini-beasts or mould organisms captures the children’s imagination as the visualiser acts like a huge magnifying glass.
The incorporation of the technology into English lessons has benefited both students and teachers significantly. Predominantly, the camera has been used to project students’ work so that peers and teachers can offer advice for improvements. Similarly, work has been projected to act as model examples. This enables staff to project examples of excellence that are authentic, rather than produced by a teacher and passed off as student work. This authenticity is important as it shows students that such results are within their intellectual grasp.
The camera has also allowed teachers to model annotations of literary texts to the class live, whilst discussing the thought process behind the annotations. This is incredibly beneficial as it has allowed students to watch the thinking unfold, rather than handing them a pre-annotated text. It also allows the class to be involved in the process, adding their thoughts and ideas to the annotation. More simplistically, the camera has practically benefited teachers through reduced copy-typing; it has also been used to demonstrate seemingly trivial tasks in class, such as how to fill out a table or cloze activity correctly, making such instruction much clearer for students.
Science was an early and enthusiastic adopter of the IPEVO visualisers and has used them in several different ways. The visualiser is particularly useful when looking a graph drawing. With a new Year 7 class who found graph drawing difficult it was used to walk the students through how to draw a graph live. This gave the teacher the chance to answer questions, which crop up, at different points in the process. In Key Stage 4, this was extended to marking similar looking graphs and showing students how marks are allocated with very similar looking graphs attracting very different marks due to the stringent success criteria used. Students are now much clearer about how to gain credit when drawing graphs.
This technique is easily extended to the marking of examination scripts, where having analysed students’ responses, key errors in understanding or examination technique can be highlighted and retaught.
Science, like Art and Design Technology, considers the image and video capture of the IPEVO visualiser has great potential. They are already being used to capture and show images of how practical equipment should be set up (image left projected on the whiteboard as an on-going reminder to the whole class) and practical demonstrations of constructing circuits, magnetic fields or convection currents in a beaker of water with the help of a bit or potassium permanganate. Plans are being put in place to record demonstrations and practical work and make them available on-line for staff and students alike.
They’re quite useful for showing keyboard skills and the playing of melodies in Music. There’s no need to try to gather thirty students around a desk with the vast majority unable to see what is going on. Students have a perfect view from the comfort of their own seat.
Humanities – Religious Education & Geography
In Geography GCSE students regularly mark their own work using the mark scheme provided by examination board. They sometimes struggle to translate the single word answers given to the sentence in front of them. Previously teachers had written model answers but the visualiser allows teachers to select a number of good responses, produced by students, and show them to the whole class. Marks can be adjusted immediately and learners’ responses become more accurate. Students are also more engaged as they don’t know when their book will be picked up and used.
Similarly in Religious Education the IPEVO visualiser is used to highlight students work and share this with the rest of the class. It has been effective in both exemplifying excellent pieces of students learning and also demonstrating where any improvements might be made. Sixth Formers increasingly learn from each other and develop ‘model’ essay answers.
The visualiser can also be used to model examples of good secondary data presentation in Geography. When one Year 10 class was struggling to develop original ideas a variety of secondary data that another class had researched was shown to give them ideas. Later this year, the visualiser will be used to help teach Year 11 the skills section of the GCSE Geography course. Instead of going round the room pointing to the same thing on the maps the visualiser will make it easy to project sections of OS maps to the whole class and identifying key features to note.
Art, Design & Technology
In the Art and Design & Technology Departments the IPEVO visualisers have proved to be an asset to teaching and learning. In Textiles they have been used it to demonstrate the yarns into fibres, how to use the sewing machine and intricate sewing techniques. In Food when demonstrating skills to whole classes it allows all students to see how to carry out fine motor skills whilst in Resistant Materials they have used it to demonstrate finishing techniques. It allows us to demonstrate in micro skills in macro detail.
Art has used the visualiser to demonstrate techniques, show exemplar work to the class and intricate detail in art work.
The IPEVO visualiser has proved efficient on staff time and cost effective at reducing printing costs. At just over £50 most schools would be able to buy ten for staff who wish to act as early adopters and test out the potential of the technology themselves.
As well as being impressed with the portability of the device, the function of ‘snapping’ a photo which can then be viewed and e-mailed to students has proved a hit. In the age of ‘Snapchat’ and ‘Instagram’ the instantaneous nature of information delivery is the norm for many young people. We’re probably just scratching the surface of what these non-gimmicky gadgets can be used for.