Engaging Students Beyond the Classroom

This is a guest post from Andrea Leyden at ExamTime, a free elearning platform. This article was originally posted on the ExamTime blog.

This case study outlines how a teacher integrated technology into his teaching strategy to improve his student’s exam results.

david bayne, teacherDavid Bayne is a Religious Education teacher in the UK with over 13 years teaching experience. Most of David’s colleagues used PowerPoint to share key notes with students in the classroom. After searching for a more rewarding way to engage students in the classroom and improve their learning experience, David discovered the innovative learning tools available at ExamTime.

Originally, David mainly used the Mind Mapping and Flashcard tools which quickly became integral to his teaching strategy. There are two main ways he implemented this new way of learning with students in the classroom. Firstly, he presented ideas to students and encouraged them to dissect a topic thoroughly by hosting a discussion, “I start the process with students by initially discussing the topic and then they continue on their own or collaborate with others.” This method is a key way to develop a number of skills such as analytical thinking, idea generation and working collaboratively.

Secondly, after the initial introduction to a new topic, students delve in deeper by creating their resources including Flashcards, Quizzes and Notes as well as Mind Maps. Students can then further develop and customise their resources with the addition of images, colour and other contextual links. Not only does this practice help students see their topic or area of work as a cohesive whole, it also “helps them to develop their ability to link ideas and concepts.” Mind Maps, in particular, are an essential part of this process.

As mentioned, ExamTime helps students to build teamwork skills but also supports students as independent learners. In this way, students can build a set of comprehensive learning resources with “constant access to resources on a platform they find convenient.”

David also found a way to use ExamTime to motivate his students by reducing exam stress. Many students feel overwhelmed at the prospect of upcoming exams but these tools can provide an easy way to digest information and breakdown what needs to be done. “ExamTime make topics more manageable as students can easily see what they need to be learning in one place.”

To summarise, David used ExamTime to:

  • Engage students by presenting ideas in class
  • Encourage discussion and collaboration among students
  • Develop skills such as analytical thinking and idea generation
  • Build teamwork skills and support students as independent learners
  • Help students keep motivated and minimise exam stress

Below is an example of one of David’s resources created with ExamTime. Click the play button on the Mind Map to watch it come to life:

by dbayne47

Technology & Teaching Strategy

At the end of the school year, exams are on everyone’s agenda! Coming up to this time, students need as much help as possible, which can mean teaching outside of the classroom.

In this context, David understands that technology is more than important, it’s essential. “Students embrace the power of technology as a natural part of life, so should teachers.” After previously working as a computer programmer, David is in touch with all things technology. To help his students around the stressful exam period, he created a series of revision webinars which were available for his students to watch. He cleverly integrated his ExamTime resources into the webinars which “generated excellent questioning and analytical skills in students.” For ideas on how you can do this, check out the ExamTime article on modern teaching skills!

All of David’s students are ExamTime members so he created a Group where he shared his resources and could chat with them using the discussion tool in real-time.

Linking these elements together demonstrates a holistic approach to modern learning which every teacher can accomplish.

The Results…

The results David and his RE class achieved reveals why this is an encouraging and useful education technology story.  Thanks to this innovative teaching approach, David’s AS results were the best ever and he is convinced that ExamTime and technology “greatly contributed to these excellent results.” Each year about 170 students sit the exam and the pass rate increased 10% from the previous year after this strategy was implemented. Not only this, the number of students achieving A – B grades improved from 34% to 60% the following year.

I can’t recommend ExamTime highly enough to other teachers. It’s an essential part of my teaching toolkit.”

 

Key Action Points

If you’re inspired after reading David’s story, there are some actions you can easily implement in your classroom:

  1. Create resources on ExamTime to generate discussion with your students
  2. Encourage your students to build a set of study resources to enhance their revision
  3. Start sharing resources with each other using a private ExamTime Group
  4. Incorporate other technologies such as webinars into your teaching strategy

 

Embrace new teaching strategies and transform your classroom using ExamTime. Our online learning tools can help you improve exam results by integrating technology into the learning experience. Try them here:

Get Started Now. It’s Free!

 

Feature image courtesy of Flickr, eflon.

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