Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

Technology for learning that sticks

This video explores a variety of education technologies that can support retrieval practice, elaboration and learning that sticks.
So the de Ferrers Academy is a large one-to-one iPad school spread across three campuses that are all geographically quite close. So we’ve been using iPads now for seven years and really from the start we try to fully integrate them into teaching and learning. We always saw the iPad as a catalyst to provide deeper learning and more efficient and more frequent learning opportunities and also to improve teaching generally. So that’s really driven our whole approach over the last seven years.
A lot of the learning that we do at De Ferrers has really been designed around how the iPad can integrate and how we can best use the technology that we’ve now got to produce a very holistic and coherent curriculum where we provide multiple opportunities to revisit topics, to test and also build upon skills and really make sure that students can master their understanding of that volume of knowledge.
So when we plan lessons in terms of individual lesson plans and schemes for learning, we will build opportunities to use a wide variety of assessment for learning tools like Socrative and Nearpod and Quizlet and Plickers that really allow the class to reflect, to pick up areas of misconceptions, to go back and address those areas where understanding is not so good.
We’ll also use, particularly with things like Socrative and then some of the shared resources we make available through various platforms, students can be self directed to areas where they know from the immediate feedback of self-marking quizzes where they’ve done best, where they’ve done worst and then they can self direct their learning and how they’re going to get support, which really does allow us to differentiate a lot as a class without excessive demands being placed on a teacher. So I think the technology is really working very smart for teachers to make it easier but also allows students to progress better.
As the curriculum has become more content rich and fuller we’ve really found the need to develop more consistent retrieval activities in subjects, particularly things like maths and science and the technology has really allowed us to do that very well very efficiently but with minimal effort. So with tools like Quizlet we’ve often found very good sets of flashcards that we can use in multiple ways with different students, but we can also run it as a game with the whole class and bringing a whole emotional dimension in the way students interact but also to encourage audio and verbal explanations, which is a really powerful way to test if students fully understand them.
So I think having these retrieval tools has really helped get to grips with the way that the the secondary curriculum has now gone. Similarly, tools like Showbie, we don’t just use for feedback and setting work but we can also use for retrieval activities. Students can write directly into them and then we can display those retrieval activities and look at the sort of answers students give and how student A might compare to student B; what the differences might be in their approaches and what the best language may be. So it’s really allowed us to approach these type of activities in a far more complex but effective way than we could have done before.
An app that I found incredibly useful for knowledge retrieval would be an app like Popplet. I currently use that with my year 10 developing an idea of a knowledge organiser within English, which has recognition and retrieval of previous information for a specific exam at the end of year 11 and with lower group students actually writing down information on a traditional format is not useful for them. Popplet helps them take information, adapt the information, and then develop it using visual key codes. They can use their iPad to get images that they will recognise certain themes with.
They will layer and bunch the information together so when they’re looking at external retrieval after for a formal assessment it’s far easier for them to use Popplet than it would be a traditional format. In a subject like science what we might well see is that teachers will set a variety of short questions designed to revisit various particular topics that might have been covered a few years earlier. What they will often do is Airplay student responses. So we might use an app like Showbie to set that retrieval activity. The teacher will then be able to see all the student answers and display a couple using Airplay so on something like an Apple TV.
It’s a very powerful way to then visualise those student answers and particularly in science when you start to look at the idea of drawing diagrams or graphs, tools like airplay or tools like Nearpod with some of those built-in drawing tools they really allow us to get very effective at diagnosing very quickly how well students understand some of the graphical aspects or some of the more visual aspects of learning.

In this video, Greg Hughes, Vice Principal and George Andrew, Learning Technology Innovator at de Ferrers Academy (secondary), share how pupils can make use of technology to support retrieval practice and elaboration so that learning sticks.

As you watch this case study, consider what it reveals about the importance of purposeful use of education technologies and reflect on how the approaches might apply to your own context.
Thank you to Apple Education staff and Apple Distinguished Schools for creating this content.
Greg shares how their approach to a holistic and coherent curriculum means that there are multiple opportunities for pupils to revisit topics and build upon their knowledge. A number of technologies have helped teachers at the school to reflect, pick up on misconceptions quickly and easily, and address areas where understanding isn’t as good accordingly through their planning. You’ll learn more about these approaches in Week 3 of the course.
The tools mentioned by Greg and George are:
  • Airplay – used with Apple devices and Apple TV to display content on a screen at the front of a classroom
  • Nearpod – an interactive lesson creator
  • Plickers – a quizzing tool where just the teacher needs a device
  • Popplet – a multimedia mindmapping tool
  • Quizlet – a flashcard and quizzing tool
  • Showbie – an assignments, feedback and activity tool
  • Socrative – an activity and quizzing tool
  • Whilst Greg references the use of iPads, consider what might enable you to achieve similar in your own context if you don’t currently have a 1-1 iPad scheme.
Once you’ve read the case study, click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘Listen and respond: evaluating the use of audio feedback’ to view the next case study.
This article is from the free online

Using Technology in Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now