Technology in schools can make a massive difference, improving outcomes for pupils and making teachers’ lives easier. But EdTech isn’t a silver bullet – the key to impact and efficacy comes down to successful implementation and that involves collaboration between teachers and technology providers.
I’ve been a Head of Science or have line-managed science for eleven years in four different schools and I’m now Assistant Headteacher at James Hornsby School in Essex. When I started teaching we had coursework, modular exams, multiple resits and science was on a par with English and maths. All that’s changed over the last few years, which left me wondering: how do we get pupils revising early for science and how do we compensate for the lack of solid, early data that the old approach gave us?
It was because of this that I felt the need to jump on board the Tassomai train. When I talked to the founder Murray Morrison, he addressed all of those points I was worrying about and it seemed he really knew what science teachers needed.
How does Tassomai work?
For those that don’t know Tassomai, it’s an online programme that students use on their computers or phones. It’s like a revision book that reads the student. They log on every day, answer some quiz questions and the algorithm works out their strengths and weaknesses, tailoring the programme and the questions to them. Usage data feeds back to teachers, like a live, updating Personalised Learning Checklist. This saves teachers time in accumulating and processing the data and helps us target intervention.
But as Murray freely admits, it’s not Call of Duty! The students aren’t going to be running to do Tassomai unless there’s a certain amount of drive from the department. He’s very aware that what makes Tassomai work is successful implementation in schools – and that comes from collaborating with teachers, taking their feedback on board and helping them launch the programme in the classroom.
In that spirit of collaboration – and because it’s the best flipped learning I’ve ever seen – I was happy to talk about my experience of implementing Tassomai at the PiXL Science conference. You can watch the full presentation on YouTube; meanwhile, here are my top tips:
- Get the SLT on board
Good results data and the fact that Tassomai ticks lots of boxes for Pupil Premium students helped get my SLT to buy-in.
- Use Tassomai’s launch presentation
Devote a lesson to launching Tassomai. Allow students to set-up the programme and explain the benefits. Since 90% get an A*-C (9-4) grade if they use the programme well, that’s a big motivator!
- Make it fun
I confess I really cheesed it up, creating regular “Tasso-memes” and encouraging competition in class. Leaderboards and rewards for good usage also help.
- Make it stick
Tassomai is so easy to use as homework; it sets itself and gives instant feedback. All you have to do is check that students are doing it. We introduced detentions where necessary to drive regular usage, but we are leaning heavily on praise to build good habits.
- Use the data
The programme gives us early solid data which we use for intervention, in conversations with parents and for report writing. So thanks to Tassomai we can now be confident about the grades the students are likely to get.
You can find out more about Tassomai on its website and you can meet the Tassomai team at Bett 2018, stand F80.
Watch David Back’s PiXL Science presentation on YouTube and below.