Product review: ActiveLearn Digital Service

Contact: www.pearsonschools.co.uk/ALDS Reviewed by: John Dabell

I love platforms. One of my favourites has to be Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross in London. Great Malvern is also on my list, it’s so pretty. But there is another platform I’ve just spotted and am getting rather excited about; and that is Pearson’s ActiveLearn Digital Service, an online learning platform full of tools to help students succeed across the curriculum.

This a resource that’s packed with powerful content. All you do is choose which subject or subjects you want to focus on and then access front-of-class teaching resources with online homework and practice, together with planning and assessment materials. You can watch videos of teaching ideas, download editable plans and schemes of work, customise pre-populated ‘playlists’ with your own resources, download prior knowledge worksheets and send content to students’ tablets and smartphones in class. Then there is the option to set online homework, review answers and run reports. This service goes hand in hand with various excellent student books. It is a very motivating and hugely supportive online resource ideal for the classroom and for home for Key Stage 3 and GCSE students. The features vary according to the products you buy into but you get lots of interactive questions, oodles of support and assistance par excellence with tracking.

Solid support

For teachers the support is as good as anything I have seen. For example, I looked at maths resources – namely the Edexcel GCSE 9-1 Maths – and I was hugely impressed by the superb materials for facilitating planning and teaching of the new specifications. Materials are available so that you can plan each lesson using pre-prepared editable templates. You can present new topics and concepts, test students’ prior knowledge and then access over 800 extra resources from hotspots on the pages. There are plenty of collaborative learning activities and opportunities galore to explore concepts in more detail and depth using animations, videos and engaging deep-learning activities.

There are literally thousands of differentiated activities available to help students move at their own speed and level. Lots of practice is guaranteed with over 4000 questions covering Master lessons and the formative and summative tests. There are on screen hints with instant targeted feedback that motivate learners to work independently, work out where they have gone wrong, try again and discover what to try next. A range of digital assets and tools are available to help students succeed. Students are able to get support by accessing features built into exercises such as ‘Learning aids’ and ‘Help me solve this’. There are also some extremely helpful worked examples to escort students through questions by condensing them down into chunks and more easily achievable steps. There are over 400 exam-style and problem-solving questions giving loads of opportunities for practice, and to help further there are 500 explanatory videos on offer which are brilliant because they help learners get to grips with more challenging questions showing how to plan, solve and display a response. These offer support so that students gain in confidence and learn to tackle problems independently.

Keeping track

Using this platform, tracking is not the traditional nightmare we have come to associate with assessment but a joy. You can review results of groups or individuals and receive accurate reports and evidence of learning against learning objectives enabling you to give feedback with purpose. The option to drill down into results is there so can you can see exactly how students answered their questions. Progress is tracked over time so you can share further reports with other staff and parents.

As well as maths, ActiveLearn Digital Service covers a range of other subjects including science, MFL, English, English literature and humanities. Overall, it’s fair to say that the platform is very easy to use and takes no time at all to set up – and there is free online training if you need extra support and guidance.

Language Show Live

This 16-18 October expand your knowledge, pick up the latest language teaching resources and gain specialist advice at Language Show Live, the Europe’s largest and most exciting event for languages. Now going into its 27th year, Language Show Live returns to London’s Olympia Central, offering teachers ways to keep up to date with changes in the language sector as well as the chance to progress their career. The show offers an extensive CPD certified seminar programme dedicated to school leaders and teachers of all levels, the latest language products from over 160 exhibitors and live cultural performances for a fun day out.

All this and so much more; and it’s free to attend for Teach Secondary readers. To register, visit www. languageshowlive.co.uk/tickets, or for ticket enquiries contact language@ speeddata.co.uk

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