Are we lost in a heap of tools and apps when it comes to supporting pupils? How often do we ask pupils in learning support what tools work for them? How often do we experiment with different tools with the pupils until we find the ones that meet their needs? I think we need to find a way to empower pupils, both in and out of learning support, to make good choices in the technology they are using.

  • Could the first few weeks of any school year be dedicated to experimenting with workflow and support tools, enabling pupils to make an informed decision on which tools work?
  • Could we create a resource that is created by pupils for pupils, where they explain what tools they are using and how they help?

I found myself recently breaking the golden rule of coaching. I went to a meeting with the Learning Support team with a list of resources and spent 10minutes explaining how they could use each of them. I had to stop myself I never once asked what they needed the resource for. We started again and whittled it down to just a few that they could recommend to pupils. Next, I want to find out what these pupils thought and find a way to synthesise these findings.

Google Keep – Great for keeping notes, adding reminders to your calendar and adding to-do-lists. Can be added to your phone and laptop (through Chrome)

 

Forest/StayFocusd – Allows you to schedule in work time and allows you to set limits on your use of the internet. The full Forest app is to be paid for (and on Apple and Android) but seems well worth it. Here is the Chrome extension for Forest and StayFocusd

Grammarly  – add this extension to support with spelling and Grammar. My only issue is that all the spelling support is in American and that can cause issues for those among us that write using British English.

Others that I think could be useful are:

  • Explain Everything: A nice app allow you to create visual representations of work
  • Book Creator: An app or online and allows you to create books, newsletters, comics with multimedia elements
  • Quizlet: An app and online (great Chrome extension) where you can create flash cards quizzes and collaborative resources
  • Notability: An app (and especially great with a Apple Pencil) where you can create annotated notes and visual representations of ideas.

So do you have any tools that work and more importantly do you have any anecdotes from the pupils using them. Could we find a platform to share these with pupils far and wide?