ibeacon & differentiation 

After an eventful few months I feel it is time to write a few more blogs about my findings with the innovative ibeacons. As I have stated in my previous posts, the ibeacon has unlimited potential and new opportunities for impact daily. I found that I was looking for innovative ways to use them to challenge students of all abilities until the day we broke up for summer. Those days of teachers winding down are long gone and the ibeacon actually made me excited to continue that work ethic till the very end. 

One of the first things I thought when the ibeacon was introduced to me was differentiation. This was something I felt passionate about and had already been trying to do via technology. I tried QR codes to deliver information or aurasma to provide support. This had been effective but students do need motivation to access these resources and like many displays can go ignored. Also I found that by labelling or traffic lighting QR codes to represent challenge , the less able students opt for too challenging work.

In geography there are lots of case studies to deliver and I found the most effective way to do this is to differentiate them. I have used the ibeacon to present 3 different case studies which have different levels of challenge. By traffic lighting them, students access all three and choose the one that suits them. They can do this without showing their peers and it removes any stigmas. It also allows the teacher to have those important learning conversations or direct the student to the correct level of challenge.

I have also used the iBeacon by putting literacy support such as sentence starters and key words. Again using the traffic lighting method, students can choose the different challenging layers of support.

I have also played with tutorials this year for revision mostly, so students can answer GCSE questions at home successfully. I made them into QR codes and put them up in my classroom. It then inspired me to make more for all elements of learning; peer assessment, paragraph writing and numeracy support. Like other QR codes these only supported the students who actively got up to scan or alternativley, students used them to time waste. Ultimately it wasn’t working.  

So I decided to put the tutorials on the school app that can be accessed via the iBeacon. For example when teaching a lesson where there was an exam question or where students needed to write a paragraph, I would put the needed video next to the other resources they was using. This proved effective as students accessed them frequently and could pause and play it at different points during their work. I also used them for extension work, so students could create top tips or success criteria for other students/classes.

Another effective method of differentiation I have trialled is to simply place the lesson PowerPoint that I used on the ibeacon. I did this over a few lessons to encourage some more independent work. I find that our most able students are not challenged enough at times because they rely on the lesson structure where there is lots of support available. So to tackle this I tried to treat the students more like university students. I would load the Powerpoints with useful information and then spend 20 mins going through them with them and discussing. Then the last part would be students attempting a series of traffic lighted tasks to demonstrate understanding. What was nice about this is students kept scanning back to objectives to see where they was and it also promoted great conversations that took place between students. Students also became competitive as they wanted to do more red tasks (most challenging) than their peers, it was great to see the students learn without the lesson being driven by myself.  



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