Blog

This is Revision Universe's very own blog! On this page you will see the thoughts and visions of people around the world about the latest educational or technological news and ideas. If you would like to write a guest piece about something on your mind then just contact me and I'll put a slot for you on the blog.

TRIOMPHE Over Your French Exam!

posted 22 Jul 2014, 03:59 by Arnav Rawat

TRIOMPHE is created by a native speaking French teacher to support students preparing for French exams at GCSE, ALevel, IB and DELF.

"I created this App because with 30 students per classroom, I realised very quickly it was just impossible to correct the pronunciation of everyone. We build this App to satisfy the demands of the talented students who really desire to understand the French Language. 

Through continual communication and feedback with and from my students and customers,  I have spent a lot of time understanding their needs and what will help them to take their spoken French to a higher Level. With this in mind, I began to develop a substantial curriculum which is aligned to exam boards criteria . 

We wanted to ensure students and users can practise their listening and pronunciation skills with a native French Teacher. TRIOMPHE is a complete Tutor in that, it explains the written rules in both English and French."

Triomphe is mainly focussed on pronunciation, written rules, gender classification for nouns and matching adjectives correctly.A unique aspect of this is that the user can easily track progress and also revise and rectify mistakes.
A 5 stars app which deserves the Educational App Store Recommended status.” 10/06/2014

TRIOMPHE is now available on iOS, iPad & iPad mini and will be soon ready for the iPhone. TRIOMPHE is a member of Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme  which helps schools to purchase the app at a discounted cost (50% reduction). 
TRIOMPHE is at the small price £4.99 for hours of training with more than 100 exercises!

Top 25 GCSE Revision YouTube Channels List

posted 7 Jul 2014, 02:15 by Arnav Rawat   [ updated 7 Jul 2014, 11:28 ]

Here is a list of the 25 best YouTube Channels for GCSE Revision.
There are channels on this list for all subjects, from Philosophy and Ethics to Business Studies. In this list, there is a mix of well-known YouTube Channels and also lesser-known ones which you may not have heard of but will still find very useful. Each channel on this list has a link and a description written by the channel owner.


Channel Owner's Description: "Mrbruff.com is an online revision site for GCSE English and English Literature. Mr Bruff has recorded over 300 revision videos at youtube.com/mrbruff, which have been viewed over 2 million times across 198 nations. His revision guide eBook is a number one Amazon bestseller and his iTunes podcasts have listeners from around the globe."


Channel Owner's Description: "Helping you with GCSE and 'A' level Maths. A collection of teaching videos along with worked solutions to past exam papers.


Channel Owner's Description: "A GCSE Maths Revision Channel. I create videos to help GCSE Maths students to improve their maths skills ready for exams. Visit my web site to see my video's broken down into sections and links to other similar videos as well as online interactive worksheets. Also practice your times table skills see if you can beat the best time which I guarantee is a legitimate time done by a year 9 pupil."


Channel Owner's Description: "A channel made by a secondary school teacher to help students on an individual level through exam papers and typical maths problems proposed by my students. It was never meant to go viral but it's popularity is definitely growing."


Channel Owner's Description: "Physics videos from Ben Ryder, Head of Digital Education at Sherborne School in Dorset, UK"


Channel Owner's Description: "Geographypods YouTube channel runs side by side with www.geographypods.com and is a repository for videos that my students create and use at the International School of Toulouse."


Channel Owner's Description: "The revision videos on the Learn Physics channel are aimed at helping students to succeed in their physics exams. The playlists are units in GCSE and A-level physics. Subscribe to the channel to receive regular updates, new videos and other channel activities."


Channel Owner's Description: "A useful revision YouTube channel with 70 free videos for GCSE students studying Medicine Through Time and the American West. Videos are also available on exam technique for the OCR exams."


Channel Owner's Description: "This channel is designed to help all students of English achieve perfect marks in their exams. Each video is designed to explain and exemplify what a perfect mark response looks like."


Channel Owner's Description: "My name is James and I am a student currently studying physics, maths, further maths and chemistry. I created the channel to help promote physics in a way that all could understand the marvels of the universe from young children, to physics teachers and old adults. I did this because, above all, I felt that there was a lack of high quality physics channels on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the content on my channel, thank you."


Channel Owner's Description: "This channel provides revision resources for GCSE philosophy and ethics courses or any GCSE course linked to belief in God."


Channel Owner's Description: "Revising for GCSE Geography? Need help or just a recap on: Rivers; Population Change; Development; Globalisation or Plate Tectonics? Then why not head over to GCSEGeographyHelp on YouTube for some helpful videos."


Channel Owner's Description: "CGP’s Maths Tutor channel includes a selection of clear, friendly video tutorials and worked exam questions for GCSE Maths. These videos are taken from the full versions of CGP Maths Tutor, which are available on DVD-ROM and as Online Editions."


Channel Owner's Description: "Short Geography GCSE revision videos covering a range of human and physical topics including tectonics, population and cities. Videos are aimed to help students sitting the Edexcel GCSE geography course, but have proven to be useful to many students on other courses and at different levels."


Channel Owner's Description: "Experienced Science teacher Mr Thornton is using YouTube to make the key topics in GCSE Science easy. With videos specifically aimed at Foundation level students, he wants to help you get a C in your GCSE."


Channel Owner's Description: "The Maths Centre e learning portal is specially designed to teach maths courses in a complete and intensive manner .We attempt to bring the classroom experience and success enjoyed by our students to you wherever you are. You can now learn at your own pace, anytime and anywhere."


Channel Owner's Description: "This channel is giving a full IGCSE physics course, especially for Cambridge CIE physics 0625. it can also help other IGCSE and GCSE physics specifications."


Channel Owner's Description: "A series of short tutorials and revision videos from an experienced business studies teacher who just wants to share the passion for this great subject. Feel free to view, question and share as you see fit."


Channel Owner's Description: "Helping High School students learn about the tricky topics in science - Separate Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Statistics Videos for KS3, KS4 and KS5 (A-level & IB)."


Channel Owner's Description: "Success in the GCSE curriculum subjects is made easy and enjoyable with Education Quizzes. Effective learning of subjects including Maths, English and Science."


Channel Owner's Description: "Clear and concise explanations along with handy tips and techniques to help you achieve your full potential in Maths. Covering GCSE and A-level Maths in a structured and easy to follow way, including model answers from past exam questions."


Channel Owner's Description: "As a student I became fascinated with Science, especially Physics. I studied Physics in Manchester University and went on to complete my PGCE. As educators we must produce effective teaching environment that makes learning about science enjoyable and fun.  Currently I am teaching Physics and some Chemistry to A level standard at Ridgeway College in Limpopo."


Channel Owner's Description: "A series of informative and entertaining videos designed to help students prepare for their GCSE P7 exam (OCR 21st Centurry Science)."


Channel Owner's Description: "HelpWithHighSchoolPhysics provides simple examples for the sorts of calculations that are required for GCSE and A Level / High School level Physics courses. The videos are suitable for those that need help with some of the key ideas, but are also useful as a revision tool for the more confident students. If there isn't a video for a topic you need, just post a comment and I will try to get one made as soon as possible."


Channel Owner's Description: "To finish with, I included Revision Universe's own YouTube ChannelThis channel contains all the videos from Revision Universe. Subjects covered currently include Maths, History Biology, Chemistry and Physics."

Top tips for choosing a Private Tutor

posted 31 Oct 2013, 08:11 by Arnav Rawat   [ updated 31 Oct 2013, 08:12 ]

Education is an integral part of the development of child and with private tuition on the rise in the UK, the London based private tutoring agency Tutor House (www.tutorhouse.co.uk) has come up with its top tips on how to choose a private tutor. 

Tutor House’s director, Alex Dyer said, “Getting a child’s educational development right has never been more critical, with tough and highly competitive entrance exams for the best schools and stringent entry 
requirements for the top Universities.”

Where to find Private Tutors:

Upon deciding that your child would benefit from additional educational support, one of the first questions that you’ll ask yourself is where to look for qualified, experienced and high quality private tutors.

In a recent poll by Tutor House, 51% of parents said that they’d use search engines to find a private tutor whilst 32% said that they’d trust a personal referral and 17% suggested they’d use other means such as going through 
schools and local advertisements.

What to ask:

1. Is the tutor qualified?

One of the most important questions to ask is whether or not the tutor has a degree in the subject they are teaching. Do they have the appropriate knowledge and experience of the curriculum your child is studying at school? Currently the industry isn’t currently regulated, which means that almost anyone can advertise himself or herself as a private tutor. Most agencies like Tutor House do not take on tutors without a degree in their chosen subject and a full CRB check.

Don’t be afraid to ask for recent client referrals!

2. What are your child’s needs?

Poor exam results aren’t always a reflection on a child’s intelligence or ability. Extra support in more general aspects of education such as exam technique, organisational skills, how to write an essay, time management etc. can positively influence exam results in addition to subject tuition.Speak to your child and their teachers about their strengths and weaknesses to see how additional tuition can be put to best use.

3. Is the tutor CRB checked?

Private tutors should be able to produce a recent CRB certificate, and you should ask to see it before contracting that tutor, even if found through a word of mouth referral, and especially if the tutor is freelance.When Tutor House asked its parents, 90% suggested that the industry should be regulated with 95% supporting the notion that tutors should be CRB checked.

4. How will your child get on with the tutor?

Being a great teacher is more than just experience, qualifications and subject knowledge. The best private tutors are the ones that build a friendly relationship with children by engaging with them, improving their confidence, focus and motivation to learn.Feel free to sit in and observe the first couple of lessons to make sure that you’re 
content with the tutor’s method and treatment of your child.

5. How experienced is the tutor?

Years of experience doesn’t necessarily mean that a private tutor will provide a better service. However, on the whole, the more years of experience a tutor has, the better they will be.For example, all of Tutor House’s private tutors have at least 3 years teaching experience in schools, a degree in their chosen subject and have an up to date CRB certificate.

How much should you pay?

Tutoring fees are often dependent on location but as a guide, a highly qualified and experienced private tutor will cost slightly more. Tutoring agencies start from as little as £25 per hour and go up to £120 per hour, although at average is £40 per hour. 

Alex Dyer goes on to say, “At Tutor House, we feel that the industry needs some form of regulation, and because of that we only employ private tutors that have a degree in their subject, a recent CRB certificate and have at least 3 years teaching experience in schools.”
“Private tutoring is not a cheap service, and can be a financial stretch for a lot of families in the UK. With that in mind, it’s imperative to ensure that the level of service we provide is the best for each and every child and parent that comes to us.”

Tutor House employs the services of over 300 private tutors, offering a variety of disciplines, from PE to physics, tennis to IT, with specific tuition offered for Common Entrance and senior school examinations, GCSE and A levels. 

For more information on private tutors in London contact Tutor House 


PRESS CONTACT: Nick Stuart-Miller, nick@mstuart-miller.co.uk - 01737 772139

Introducing myself, St Aiden's Homeschool and South Africa

posted 7 Sep 2013, 12:49 by Donnette Davis   [ updated 8 Sep 2013, 07:53 by Arnav Rawat ]

I was rather taken aback when receiving an invitation to become a guest blogger for Revision Universe.  Taken aback - and honored - that I be selected on the basis of my work within education particularly.  If I may take this opportunity before introducing myself, to thank Revision Universe for the opportunity to share with its readers our free original resources, experiences and research from a South African perspective.

My name is Donnette, known by my writing name as Donnette Davis, now married and aka Donnette Fry, mother to six magnificent children ranging in ages from 8 to 30, wife to Craig, and surrogate mother to 40 something elite international athletes from all over Africa.

Raised in Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe, I was always the new kid on the block, having attended 12 schools up to Grade 10.  With the work my father did, this entailed moving from city to city frequently.  This did nothing to instil confidence in myself, and as such was a loner much of the time.  It was at a very early age I realised that I would never, EVER, become a public speaker, this when the choir teacher in Grade 4 politely said "No.  Thank you." after my auditioning and really trying very hard at Do-ray-me, completely off-key and with a very loudly amused audience.  It was at that stage I turned to research, study and writing, something I could quietly lose myself in.  Receiving regular awards for "Literary Excellence" and "Comprehension" boosted my somewhat flat ego, even though I hadn't a clue what "Literary excellence" really meant.  I continued, persevered and found my niche.

Without going into my very long and varied business career, we were fortunate enough to travel a large portion of the globe, opening up new experiences to me and my then-new family.  At the time South Africa had the highest ranking education system in the world, and it was not unheard of for our family and friends in the UK to send their children to South Africa for their education.  Things took a change sadly, for the worse, post-1994, and although we continued to try and uphold the excellence of the education system, found that too many changes, too many unqualified people and too many teachers afraid of moving with the times, caused massive gaps in the system, opened loopholes, and together with mass fraud and corruption, we dropped in the short space of 15 years to having the 2nd lowest education system in the world.  But I digress.

During the early part of my now 15 year old's schooling career we found her to be a minority at the school which was now more of a business and money making scheme than a school.  Class numbers rose to sometimes 50, unqualified teachers were brought in to teach children in languages they had never been exposed to, students as young as 9 became unruly, principals and staff had no control.  Added to the fact that an annual teacher strike disrupted student examinations and the change in curriculum, the unruliness often led to fatalities and extremely serious injuries to students and staff members.  I removed my child and decided homeschooling, although taboo at the time, was the only way to go.  We did not look back.

A rather large amount of research revealed that there was nothing I would consider suitable curriculum with which to educate my children, and what was available was prohibitively expensive, more so than even an independent school.  We decided to take the bull by the horns, and work with what we had - very little - and make our own way in the education system by focusing firstly on trying to undo the damage that traditional school had left on her, and then by focusing on what her interests were, encouraging her where there were clear shortfalls.  I have never seen a turnabout in a child so quickly in my life.  Within 2 months I had a different daughter.  She was confident, reading up a storm, researching anything and everything and her work was of such a high standard, at that tender age, that other local homeschoolers asked if we might share our research with them.  I was more than happy to do this, but having compiled research into workbook format, it was onerous to email piecemeal everything that we had worked on.  Homeschooling became a 24 hour a day experience, every outing, every conversation, even cooking a meal, was an experience and an education.   St Aiden's Homeschool was born from this, a haven where we could share our free homeschooling resources with others, and they could download this at their leisure.

As you can see, I am a prolific writer.  However, a touch of OCD stepped in, and I did not just write educational books, and parenting manuals and stop there.  I researched early childhood learning difficulties, fine and gross motor skills, ADHD, Autism and many other topics of vital importance to any parent and something that is often overlooked in a general school setting - in this country in any event.

So anxious was I to share my new found knowledge with the world that I became one of the very first members to join a community known as Scribd, making available for free over 800 free printable resources.  I also starting writing professionally and published a number of books, achieving expert author status in a number of parenting forums, until I realised that while I loved to write and research, and then write some more, and was and am happy to share with anyone and everyone, there was a huge cost factor to this, particularly as I was unaware of free websites and had and still pay for my own webhosting.  I had to start writing and publishing books to be made available for sale to try and cover some of the costs.  Hence I am now published in a number of countries, and my work spread to include events, historical moments, the geographies, social studies and various core curriculum in other countries.  I now became a student of the universe.

This is of course all in a nutshell.  Each experience with my children has been a different one, worlds apart, and each has its own story, as does my global involvement with NPOs, African AIDS Orphans, charities, social media integration and stragetising, and my support in the athletics and running arena.  With a fairly advantaged background of travel, and my interest in other topics as aforementioned, I was and am able to extend this into the everyday life that we currently experience in South Africa, and into the different methods and materials I make use of to create educational resources that can, and are, used internationally.

South Africa as a country is evolving, in some respects it has improved, in the majority of respects it has degenerated into a poverty-stricken and crime-ridden country where unemployment is rife, local municipalities are bankrupt and under curatorships, and the Department of Education is so in the red they are now considering handing out tax concessions to parents who opt to place their children into independent schools, which by their very nature, cost more than an average month's salary to the fortunate few that are in full time stable employment.  I do not enjoy politics and in no way wish to politicize my journey with homeschooling or education or in fact life and living in South Africa.

I hope as I grow with the Revision Universe Community, I will be able to share the thousands of free resources that I have created personally, to enable those who might otherwise be unable to obtain such material, to have direct access to a wide variety of fun, interesting and educational activities.

Any reference interpreted to be based on politics is unintended.  I base my writing on substantiated research, and write only on facts that have a direct impact on family life, encouraging learning internationally in children, general education and the future generations for which there must be left a legacy.  It is up to us to be the change.

Top 20 Educational Apps

posted 3 Sep 2013, 08:58 by Arnav Rawat   [ updated 3 Sep 2013, 09:09 ]

Here is a list of the Top 20 Educational apps to aid you with revision and learning. This list has a wide range of apps which are designed to guarantee success in school life. The apps range from an alarm clock to a star-gazing tool, so there will be something here for everyone. Don't worry about paying too much as well, we have a fine mixture of paid and free apps. Here is the list: 

1. Duolingo                                                                                                                                      Price: Free

This app can enable anybody to learn a European language easily. There are many lessons with each one requiring you to use the core skills: Writing, reading, speaking and listening. Languages covered include Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German and English.


2. iMindMap                                                                                                                                    Price: Free

iMindMap HD is your limitless workspace for teachers and for students.

The tool is ideal for facilitating individual or group brainstorming sessions, creating hand outs,organising tasks, lesson planning, setting creative homework tasks and creating and delivering presentations and so much more.


3. SpellingCity                                                                                                                                 Price: Free

VocabularySpellingCity is a fun way to learn spelling and vocabulary words by playing engaging learning games using any word list. Our free app includes seven spelling activities. VocabularySpellingCity Premium (paid) Members have access to additional games and features. 


4. Math For the Brain                                                                                                                       Price: Free

Math for the brain' will enhance your math skills and keep your brain younger and smarter, while providing you with insightful brain facts. This application is fun and challenging for people of all ages. 


5. Revision App                                                                                                                               Price: Free

Revision app is the Ultimate Learning Tool for GCSE, A Level and University students! Revision App is the one –stop shop that offers free flash-card test; Revision content; Teaching Videos and covers thousands of different subjects. A great educational App proven to help students increase their educational attainment by 20%. If you care about your education, Revision App is not only crucial but essential for you achieving those A grades 
you deserve!


6. Star Walk HD                                                                                                                             Price: £1.99

Star Walk is the most beautiful stargazing app you’ve ever seen on a mobile device. It will become your go-to interactive astro guide to the night sky, following your every movement in real-time and allowing you to explore over 200, 000 celestial bodies with extensive information about stars and constellations that you find. 


7. iStudiez Pro                                                                                                                               Price: £1.99

Plan your timetable, record your homework and analyse your grades against your targets with this fantastic app from iStudiez. Simply a must for all students going to school, college or university. 


8. The World Factbook                                                                                                                   Price: £1.49

The complete CIA World Factbook at your fingertips, including extensive information on more than 250 countries and locations throughout the world.  Includes world reference maps, country comparisons in various categories, and full flag descriptions. 


9. Me Books                                                                                                                                   Price: Free

Me Books is the multi-award winning children's picture book shop and the 'go-to app for families of little storytellers'. Bursting with classics like Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit to modern favourites Peppa Pig, Me Books lets children and their families record and save their very own version of these much loved tales.


10. RevisionAid                                                                                                                                Price: Free

Build your own quiz to help you revise topics for a forthcoming exam. RevisionAid enables you to add text and multiple choice questions to make a personalised test to help you revise. 


11. Popplet                                                                                                                                    Price: £2.99

Popplet is a New York based start-up dedicated to creating fun, gestural and visual experiences for both the web and mobile web.


12. Inkflow Plus                                                                                                                              Price: £5.49

Inkflow is a notebook for Visual Thinking that's great for notes, brainstorming, or prototyping. Easily combine photos, text, and drawings. The unique Inkport feature lets you scan in real-world handwriting into digital vector ink. 


13. ExamPal                                                                                                                                  Price: £1.99

Access and schedule ALL current examination dates for GCSE, iGCSE, GCE, VCE, GNVQ, Diploma, ELC, AEA, STEPS & NQ with ALL Examination Boards. Create your personal exam timetable integrated with calendars and alerts. Create an individual revision planner and access key revision tips. A tool for parents to help support their child through the stressful examination periods.


14. iStudyAlarm                                                                                                                             Price: £1.49

Studying for a class, mid term or final exam just got easier with iStudyAlarm.  Staying focused while studying can often be a challenge and the iStudyAlarm is designed to help exam students of all ages. Research shows that studying in 20 minute intervals and taking a 5 minute brain break is highly beneficial for learning and memory. Studying is suppose to get you ahead in life, not make you a nervous wreck.  


15. Move the Turtle                                                                                                                         Price: £1.99

Move The Turtle is an educational application for iPhone and iPad that teaches children the basics of creating computer programs, using intuitive graphic commands.


16. Algebra Touch                                                                                                                          Price: £1.99

Have you forgotten most of your algebra? Algebra Touch will refresh your skills using touch-based techniques built from the ground up for your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

 Say you have x + 3 = 5. You can drag the 3 to the other side of the equation. 

Enjoy the wonderful conceptual leaps of algebra, without getting bogged down by the tedium of traditional methods.

 Drag to rearrange, tap to simplify, and draw lines to eliminate identical terms. 

 


17. iAnnotate                                                                                                                                 Price: £1.99

iAnnotate turns your iPad into a world-class productivity tool for working with PDFs, Word/PowerPoint files, and images on the go. Over one million people—including students, teachers, and professionals—use it to read, mark up, and share their documents! 


18. Math Champ Challenge - Common Core (Schools Edition)                                                            Price: £2.99

Math Champ Challenge uses social gaming  to strengthen understanding of Common Core mathematical standards for middleschool students (Grades 4-7) and includes over 2500 questions all mapped to CCSS domains. Teachers can register their interest in an evaluation copy by entering their details here http://eepurl.com/BBIZ9 


19. SpellBoard                                                                                                                               Price: £2.99

SpellBoard provides a fast and intuitive way for you to enter your list of spelling words. All you need to do is enter the word (correctly spelled), the grade level (1-12) and the spoken word (recorded via the devices built in microphone). Optionally, you can add a written and/or spoken phrase. That's it! Now you are ready to study your word list and be quizzed on it. 


20. iTunesU                                                                                                                                     Price: Free

Finally, I have include ITunesU in the list. It is still relatively new and untested but deserves to go on the list for its immense potential. Using the app you can download books, courses and other educational essentials.


5 Reasons Students Need Instructor Feedback in Online Lessons

posted 27 Aug 2013, 05:58 by Arnav Rawat   [ updated 5 Sep 2013, 08:43 ]

Online classes offer a simple and convenient solution for students who are working full time and may not have the schedule availability to attend traditional classes. However, sometimes in an online learning environment there is a lack of communication between instructor and student. Here we will list and discuss five reasons that students in an online class need their instructors to provide them with detailed feedback on their assignments.

Better Grades

Put simply, students are going to do better when they know what instructors are looking for. When they are continually getting bad grades, they need detailed feedback to let them know where their weaknesses are. They will also learn what they are doing right, in the case that they are getting good grades. Those who want to start doing better are going to need to understand what exactly they should be working on.

Students Do Better Later

Those who are taking an online class and aren't getting the feedback that they need may find that they don't end up doing well in subsequent classes. Those who aren't able to communicate well with their teachers aren't going to be able to get the help that they need to do better later. When students have a good relationship with their teachers and are getting good feedback, they will do better later on.

Motivation

Students who are receiving good feedback and construction criticism may have better motivation to continue to do better. Those who aren't getting the feedback that they need and just don't know why they are doing badly may feel that they should simply give up. Even just this little bit of information about how they are doing may feel that they are starting to better know what they're doing.

Students Aren't Ready

Many students aren't aware how difficult college coursework is going to be when they first enroll. In an online course, they may come to realize that this is really difficult, and they won't have the instructor help that they would have in a regular class. Having good instructor feedback can help those who have a hard time adjusting to college classes.

Allows Students to Assess Their Progress

Students want this kind of guidance, as it will allow them to gauge how much they currently know. That will give them better insight as to how much they are going to need to study in order to pass tests and learn more. Students really want feedback, is helps them feel that they are receiving the direction that they need to learn and do well in the class overall.

These are all the basic reasons that students need adequate feedback from their virtual classroom instructors. Most students aren't used to a self-directed learning approach, and adjusting to this can be something that is difficult for some. Especially students who are newer to the system and are still used to the way that they were treated during high school. These are all things for instructors and students to consider when taking an online class.

Thomas J. is an article writer for Lift Education, your source for fast college degrees online. He lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud father of two young boys. When he isn't working, Thomas enjoys watching sports and spending time with his family.

How do you revise most effectively? Take this quiz to find out!

posted 24 Aug 2013, 08:07 by Arnav Rawat   [ updated 25 Aug 2013, 06:42 ]

We recently designed this quiz to help you find out how you revise most effectively. This quiz has been performed on hundreds of students and has given them interesting results. Take this quiz and find out which method you should use for effective revision.


Top 30 Educational Websites

posted 22 Jul 2013, 00:01 by Arnav Rawat   [ updated 22 Aug 2013, 05:56 ]

Here is a list of the Top 30 educational websites. There is a rich variety of websites for many different subjects ranging from Pre-School to Key Stage 5. You may not see common used websites such as BBC Bitesize because this list includes some less widely-known websites which are just as good, if not better. These new resources will give students different and possibly more effective ways to revise and learn. Please do not take these rankings too seriously because they are entirely made from my opinion. Learning is a personal process. You may like some sites that others do not. Each site has a short bio/introduction.

1. Planet Science (http://www.planet-science.com/

Planet Science aims to inspire and excite science students aged 7-14 years using articles, experiments, activities and resources for use at school and at home. Their mission is to tickle your curiosity, excite your interest, and ignite your passion for science.

2. Teaching Ideas (http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/

Teaching Ideas offers thousands of free lesson ideas, activities and resources that teachers, educators and parents can use with their children.


Get Revising now! - Make your own revision timetable and use the GCSE and A Level revision resources. Download teaching resources and gain valuable exam tips and advice to help you get the best grades.

4. Maths is Fun (http://www.mathsisfun.com/)

Maths resource for parents and students. Includes puzzles, games, activities and printable maths worksheets. A mix of fun and study is good!

5. The Faculties (http://www.thefaculties.org/)

The expertise of the academic in the secondary school classroom. The Faculties provide free video podcasts presented by university lecturers on topics from the UK A-level/IB curriculum. 

6. IXL Maths (http://uk.ixl.com/)

Maths is about so much more than just numbers—so, IXL is too! We approach each maths concept from all angles, offering visual representations, word problems, interactive activities, and more. With an abundance of maths problems for every learning style, students can't help but build lasting skills and confidence.


I-study offers free comprehensive revision notes for IGCSE Economics, Geography and History. IB resources for Geography and Economics. Additional revision materials also available.

8. Maths Worksheets Land (http://www.mathworksheetsland.com/)

Math Worksheets Land contains thousands of printable materials to help students age 5 to 18 conquer mathematics.

9. Jim Baker's Online Learning (http://www.jimbakersonlinelearning.co.uk/)

This site was created initially for chemistry students with the view to promoting independent learning, of which Jim Baker is a great believer. It has now grown to contain links to other subjects, teacher training and general links and is used world-wide. 

10. French Revision (http://www.frenchexams.org/

French revision for all students. Contains thousands of interactive exercises for French listening practice, speaking, reading and writing for GCSE and A Level. The ultimate French exam revision site containing listening exercises, reading exercises and writing exercises.

11. Education Quizzes (http://www.educationquizzes.com/)

Enjoyable quizzes written to provide entertaining KS2, KS3 and GCSE revision. Subjects include Maths, English  Science, Geography and History for all ages.

12. Spartacus Educational (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/)

The Spartacus Educational website provides a series of history encyclopaedias. Topics covered include British History: 1750-1960, United States: 1840-1980, First World War, Second World War, Association Football, Making of the United Kingdom, Tudors & Stuarts, Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Watergate, Spanish Civil War, Russia: 1860-1945, Germany: 1900-1945, France: 1900-1945, etc. Entries usually include a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is linked to other relevant pages in the encyclopaedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail. 

13. Interactive Mathematics (http://www.intmath.com/)

Interactive Mathematics is an online Maths resource which now attracts over 10,000 unique visitors per day and over 1/2 million page views per month.

14. Languages Online (http://www.languagesonline.org.uk/)

Languages Online offers a wealth of interactive, self-marking resources in French, German, Spanish and Italian, offering active practice and instant feedback in grammar and vocabulary from beginners through to Advanced Level. Units are differentiated and include a wide variety of different tasks covering various skill areas. 

15. Hegarty Maths (www.hegartymaths.com)

Colin Hegarty is an experienced Mathematics teacher in London. His channel is to help students with their Key Stage 3, GCSE and A-Level maths studies. You will also find many past paper solutions to aid your revision. This channel is to provide help to students out there who need a little extra help and cannot afford tutoring. 

16. Make Me a Geek (http://www.makemeageek.co.uk/)

Make Me a Geek is a website full of creative revision ideas for you to have a go at as well as providing some great discounts and articles for all your geeky needs! 

17. Science Revision Videos (http://www.sciencerevisionvideo.com/)

Science Revision Videos is a collection of short video clips that will really help students prepare for exams in Biology and Chemistry. The videos have been produced by a science teacher with nearly 30 years of experience in the classroom. If you can't find the topic you want then just ask and he'll create a new revision video just for you!


S-cool is one of the UK leading GCSE & A Level revision websites. For over 13 years S-cool has been providing free top quality revision resources to millions of user in the UK and Internationally. The recent introduction of forums, question areas, timetables and mobile apps, has led to a 70% growth in users. 

19. Mangahigh (www.mangahigh.com)

Mangahigh is an online mathematics resource designed to help teachers deliver the primary and secondary curriculum through a proven games-based model. You can sign-up for a free trial at their website.

20. Schoolsnet (http://www.schoolsnet.com)

Since 1999, Schoolsnet has earned a reputation as the leading online guide to schools in the UK. It has hundreds of thousands of registered users including parents, teachers and students. It includes detailed school profiles, exam results, and inspection reports.

21. Study Maths (http://studymaths.co.uk/)

Study Maths is a free GCSE maths revision site aimed at helping you pass your GCSE maths exam. There are hundreds of worksheets, past GCSE questions and games to improve your maths.

22. Mr Allsop History (http://www.mrallsophistory.com/)

Free history revision podcasts and lesson resources for GCSE, IGCSE, A Level and IB students and teachers. A wide range of materials from an award winning teacher.

23. White Group Maths (http://www.whitegroupmaths.com/)

A place which hosts personally written summaries, solved problem sets and examination advice, all made freely available to the A level Maths student.


This web site contains: videos, associated lesson notes and exercises which help many students achieve success in their own studies.

25. Absorb Learning (http://www.absorblearning.com/)

The Absorb courseware titles are interactive courses based around our unique simulations, interactive animations and videos, linked by an involving narrative. Each title offers a huge amount of interactivity - ranging from simple animations that show hidden concepts, to powerful models that allow flexible experimentation.

26. A Level Up (http://alevelup.co.uk/)

Aimed at Primary aged children. Aligned to the National Curriculum: A Level Up offers parents a chance to find and fill the gaps in their child's maths knowledge.

27. Physics Online (http://www.physics-online.com/)

The internet is a treasure trove for teaching Physics but it is difficult for teachers to find the time to fully benefit. Physics-online.com is a unique new web app that solves this by providing a searchable collection of 2000 great interactive resources for teaching physics.

28. Flash Maths (http://flashmaths.co.uk/)

A huge collection of maths starters, activities and games designed to aid the teaching of maths lessons in and out of the classroom.

29. Super Maths World (www.supermathsworld.com)

Interactive maths games and activities for all ages. Written by a maths teacher for maths teachers with comprehensive content for key stage 1-4. 


MathedUp! is a mash up of teacher resources and student independent learning tools including video tutorials. Aimed at KS5 maths and further maths currently but will be updated to include KS4 over the coming months.




How Important is "Appropriate Questioning" to deliver "Outstanding" Lessons?

posted 23 Jun 2013, 08:26 by Arnav Rawat   [ updated 23 Jun 2013, 08:29 ]

This post was written by Magical Maths. If you want to guest blog on my website please do not hesitate to contact me.

As a professional tutor and an aspiring OfSTED inspector the concept of "Appropriate Questioning" in assessment for learning is an aspect of pedagogy that I have regular discussions on. This is especially so when debating the link between successful questioning and outstanding lessons.

Appropriate questioning is paramount in successful assessment and more importantly effective questioning is a powerful tool for learning. As well as planning for appropriate open ended questions throughout the starter, main and plenary in my lessons, I encourage learners in my classroom to come up with their own ideas and to think aloud. Learners need to be nurtured to explain their reasons for their answers and express a deeper level of understanding. Finally learners need the opportunity to ask their own questions and not limit apprehension. I do this by encouraging that “It is okay” to give a “wrong” answer in the lesson.

The questioning requirements highlighted are important because they all concern the classroom climate for learning.  Establishing the right climate and culture is a crucial factor in effective questioning, an environment where pupils feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and asking questions needs to be created. Learners will be more inclined to ask questions if there is a supportive atmosphere in the classroom and the classroom teacher can establish this and a positive climate by “Promoting a risk-taking culture” and make errors as “part of the learning experience”. In the case of a learner answering question incorrectly in my lessons, particular my bottom set year 7 class. I survey the class and ask, “who agrees”, “who disagrees” and “who is unsure”. After stating the right answer I follow up with the statement that “it is ok to be unsure or to get a questions wrong, as we can learn from it” and go though the correct method of getting the correct answer. 

I have found that the use of small whiteboards and pens in conjunction with effective questioning can allow the passive learner to express themselves and help me as the classroom teacher to identify where pupils are currently in their learning. A wave of answers on the whiteboards allows me to get a quick insight in the class’s comprehension of a concept and inform planning for future learning. A quick analysis of responses can establish further probing of questions to develop a deeper and broader understanding for those learners who I think have understood the concept and will be able to deepen their subject knowledge.  This strategy has been highly successful in my low ability groups across my key stage 3 classes. For example it has nurtured various learners in my bottom set year 7 class at my A placement to have the confidence to attempt to answer questions that I address to the class. The risk of answering a question wrong and being exposed to their peers is limited and the low ability learners in question have developed their classroom interaction skills, increased motivation and it has enabled me to assess their learning and plan accordingly.  

It is not necessarily about asking more questions, research shows that teachers ask a lot of questions in the course of a day, “approximately one every 72 seconds, on average”. This is supported in a trainee's mathematics lesson I observed recently. The observation focused on appropriate questioning and number of questions asked and showed that the teacher in question asked 52 questions in the lesson, working out to be 1 question every 60 seconds. However, one significant aspect that I noted was that the learners were not given the appropriate “thinking time” and a large percentage of the questions were answered by the teacher.  The results of the observation were very interesting and after reflection helped even myself to adjust my teaching style to first ask the right questions and to allow the appropriate time after asking a question for pupils to think, reflect and express.

Appropriate questions reinforce the focus for learning and draw out pupils’ understanding of the learning, this in turn helps to progress the learner. Different types of questions serve different purposes.  Some seek facts only and others encourage and extend learners’ understanding.  In the case that recall is required closed questions are appropriate, however, when you want to know what they understand, more open-ended questions need to be planned for. Mathematics is renound for its closed style questions, and I have tried to counteract this stereotype,  by always responding to answer with a “Why do you think…” , “Could you tell me more about…” or “does anyone want to elaborate further”. Effective questioning also concerns how well we deal with responses from pupils. I have found that using wrong answers to develop understanding and always listening fully to the pupils’ response in its entirety regardless of correctness, and not overlooking other answers and responses normally reveals more about the learner’s level of understanding. For example one strategy that I have used in my lessons is using a ‘wrong’ answer to turn it into a springboard for improved understanding.  The learner is informed in such a way that I do not actually say ‘No that’s wrong, I will encourage them on with a positive comment and at the same time steer the pupil towards a better or correct response. 

As you can see appropriate questioning is a subject that can be discussed in great detail and is very significant when planning for good/outstanding lessons. In this article I have started to discuss the tip of the ice berg and would like to hear your comments and thoughts on the subject. Please tweet @magicalmaths to express your views.

www.magicalmaths.org

Schools replacing student planners with Teachers exams App!

posted 17 Jun 2013, 05:35 by Exam Pal

Having taught in secondary schools for 16 years and been an examinations officer for 5 years I know what a difficult and stressful time examination season can be. Student organisation is essential to achieve examination and academic success whether it’s recording homework, creating a revision plan or tracking coursework. Having been the examinations officer at Hastingsbury Business & enterprise College for 5 years I have be involved in some interesting situations when it comes to student examinations. Take the case of the student who turned up for a History exam in the afternoon only to find that it was in the morning or the student who sat what he thought was a German Exam and when I met him outside he told me it was so tough and he didn’t understand a word of it, he actually did the wrong paper and sat a French exam! Lack of organisation can cost a student dearly as there is only one sitting for official examinations, miss it and it is gone. It’s this key organisation and the ability for students to prepare themselves in the correct manner for examinations that prompting my thinking.

Exam boards release dates for exams months in advance but schools only tend to issue dates and personal exam timetables weeks prior to the exams. When I asked my year 11 GSCE students when their exams were last summer they all held up a piece of paper with exam details, duration, venue and seat number (all of which can be stored in the app). I thought at the time this should be something scheduled in an app. Students will often lose their exam timetable or student planner but rarely lose their phones, mobile technology is such a key part of their everyday lives. Students often complained that their exam timetables were being issued far too late by their school giving them less time to prepare for revision.

Also, having mentored students for many years I was constantly being asked by students “When should I start revising, what are the best methods, and how do I create a revision plan?” So Exam Pal was really born out of experience and a need I saw in my students.

 The initial idea from hand drawn screen shots to the App store has taken 12 months. The app design and interface was very challenging as we wanted to make the app as easy as possible to navigate but at the same time detailed enough to provide vital information.

My GCSE and A Level students have been involved in the design process at several stages, from choosing the name, to helping with the screen menus and testing the app as a target audience. Several returns to design and programming have resulted in an app that we feel is incredibly user friendly, graphically pleasing and will become an essential tool for all students studying for examinations on many levels.

 Now that the idea is in store the students have continued to support the app by leaving reviews via the app store, recommending to friends and family and our media A level group are currently working on a 3 minute advert to help promote the app.

There have been many challenges along the way. Deciding the name of the product was tricky one and pricing the app was a big decision.The overall look of the app was a balance between user friendly graphics but with a serious nature, after all we are dealing with examination dates and organization.

After 12 months of hard work and 3 weeks of getting the app approved by Apple I was overwhelmed when the app appeared in the app store. It’s early days but initial response has been great and very positive. Teachers love it and think it is a great idea. Students can’t get enough of it at the moment. For us it’s about providing a tool to improve academic success especially with exams and revision. Many students want to revise but do not know the best methods and where and when to start. The great selling point about the app is that it is a rolling product and there will be demand every year a student comes up to examination time. I see students at my school looking at their phone using my app to tell them their next lesson and where to go, the student timetable is another feature of the app.
I have had many of parents contact me telling me that they loved the fact that their own phones could display their sons or daughters exam and homework deadlines. We are seeing more and more reviews from parents as they download it for their siblings.

So we had designed an app that has a massive target market and will appeal to the 2 million students taking exams this year in the UK as well as the 16 million taking exams in the US.

With so many apps being released every day we were a small fish in a big sea.

Once the app was live I sent an email to Tim Cook and Phil Schiller at Apple. I got their attention by sending them £2 via PayPal to download the app. Neither Tim nor Phil responded (although not too sure where my £2 is) but I was sent an encouraging email from Mary Jane Beth at Apple Education UK & Europe. She loved the app and passed the details onto her iTunes team and sales staff.

Exam Pal works on many levels. It integrates official exam dates for students studying examinations with all major awarding bodies at all levels, it provides exam date countdowns, stores previous exam results (ideal for CV writing), it syncs to iCalendar and Google calendar. It also enables students to put in their timetable, log and track homework and has access to key revision tips. The calendar function is pretty useful as anyone with an iCal or Google calendar can sync – which means parents can have full access to their children’s exam timetables, revision timetables and homework alerts too! Enabling students to obtain their exam dates months in advance rather than having to wait for schools to issue their timetables is priceless and when timetables are issued they can check their scheduled dates, add seat numbers, venue, exact start times and alerts.

The tips section is an excellent resource within the app. This section provides a number of key tools to help students prepare for examination success. It covers how to revise successfully e.g. using flash cards, summary shapes, mnemonics, timelines, mind maps and links to past papers. There are two revision planners that can be downloaded, a weekly revision planner and a monthly revision planner. How to prepare for the exam, what to do once in the exam and after. We have also included a section on how to deal with anxiety and coping with exam stress. This was an area identified by my students as an area that is often overlooked. Examination season is a very stressful time for students. Here are some tips for dealing with examination stress.

Exam Pal first appeared in the app store in November 2012 after 12 months of designing. The app has been compiled by using my 16 years of school teacher experience having been involved in the examinations process, student mentoring and graphic design. App design experts at 4fx Design and Multimedia have created the app interface and coding and have been helped along the way by my students.

 Exam Pal will continue to develop over the coming years and we are constantly updating the exam dates as the new season of exams appear. We are developing the app based on the comments received in the app store, as well as the student testing groups in local schools. The accompanying website will be updated to help support the app and student needs as well as more emphasis placed on revision techniques. We are hoping to integrate a revision section in the app which will enable you to list your subjects in order of revision need. We hope that the device will also keep track on how long you have revised for.

 I have had opportunities to move into management but enjoy my teaching too much and would rather stay in the classroom. I am an advanced skills teacher in my field and have coached members of staff to become better teachers. Exam Pal came about due to my frustration with paper exam timetables and the need for every student to access revision methods and improves examination results. The dream is to make Exam Pal a household name or a playground name at least! We would like every student with a mobile device to use the Exam Pal on a regular basis for homework and timetabling as well as the peak examination times although we emphasise that Exam Pal should only be used in conjunction with a schools examination paper timetable as exam start times can vary.

Our best intentions are to increase the examination success across all schools and introduce key organisational tools that students will encounter in the real world.

 It is true to say that our students are driven by mobile devices and social media. We hope that Exam Pal will expand via our Twitter and Facebook feeds and those students will share their revision thoughts and exam concerns.

I am myself considered an old school teacher having taught for 16 years. Fortunately my subject Graphic Design is geared towards technology. I watch the Gadget show, Dragons Den etc. so I know what is new and exciting. We need new technology to inspire our students when teaching. Teaching has changed so much in the last 6-7 years. No longer can we teach didactically we have to tune into the students interests and engage them. I read recently that a student’s attention is their age + 9 minutes!

If we can embrace this technology and discover ways to engage our students through new media such as Exam Pal then surely we can only but improve the academic success of generations to come.

 

 

 

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