Jonathan Hutton teaches maths at Ashfield Girls High School in Belfast and was looking for maths specific apps for his school when he was introduced to Learning by Questions by his Head of Department.
It’s one thing having the equipment and another having the content. We had iPads and iPad training but no maths specific apps. So when a colleague showed me Learning by Questions it filled a huge gap for me and the instant feedback was clearly a very powerful tool. As teachers we receive so many suggested methods and equipment and it can largely all come down to one key question – will I use it?
“Will I use it?”
When you receive new tech in your classroom you’re always worried. You wonder how you will integrate it into your lessons and often assume that it might be quite hard. But after the cluster training I came back to school and immediately started running question sets. I used LbQ content to begin with, but because it was so clear and easy to operate I was also able to adapt question sets to suit my mixed ability Year 8 group.
I changed the number of basic questions students had to get right before moving on to fluency content and they do really enjoy it. They ask me if I will put the matrix up on the classroom display so they can see how they, and the rest of the class is getting on.
Ironically, after those initial concerns about usage I find I’m using Learning by Questions in all sorts of ways; before I begin a topic, in lieu of a worksheet, as plenary and what’s very popular is using it as revision for exams. So that’s at least 4 different ways and there are more besides. It’s enormously flexible.
“Ironically, after those initial concerns about usage I find I’m using Learning by Questions in all sorts of ways.”
As other teachers have discovered, I’ve been surprised by some children who were capable of more than I had previously thought and vice versa. I’ve found that if some students are struggling, asking others who have got the correct answer to explain it to the rest of the class is effective. And of course, there is less marking which saves me time.
The only issue I have is finding the right question set. Sometimes the key words I enter don’t come up with results and yet a slightly different search returns with the content I need. But this is just about me getting used to the system and what’s available. Rather like a recipe book – in time I’ll know where my favourites are.