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Review of languages online extra website after Year 1

Background:
languages online extra was conceived to solve a problem created by languages online. I knew that a lot of teachers were setting homework on languages online, and I also knew that they had no way of knowing whether their students had actually done their homework and benefitted from the learning opportunities provided by it. And of course, we all know that students also know that their teachers don’t know, and we know what a big majority of them won’t do as a result of that!

I wanted to make the resources on languages online traceable, so that teachers can actively set them as homework, and then see their pupils’ work and identify any issues or individuals that might need extra support, and actually know that practice of language had happened and progress been made. I wanted to create a facility that enabled teachers to set meaningful languages homework which marks itself and delivers evidence and data, with minimal effort on the part of the teacher

languages online extra was launched in September 2017 and has been running for an academic year now. How well did I achieve my objectives?

Review: French First Year Learning with Year 7:
I have been using the “French – First Year Learning” course with my own Year 7 French class of 32 students in the UK since September, and I am really, really pleased with how it has worked out. I was of course keen to make use of the facility, but I also wanted to see it working from a teacher’s perspective, to make sure it is doing what I want it to do.

I set the course up for the class at the beginning of the year, and then provided the students with personalised sign-up instructions via a single weblink instruction page (I do this for all teachers and classes). The students followed the instructions and all of them managed to sign up to the course without intervention from me.

Over the course of the year I have regularly set homework on the website course as we have worked through the various topics, intermixed with other types of homework for variety. Doing this regularly has meant that students get used to the routine, and they don’t forget their login details and passwords (they can of course use the automatic password reset facility should they need to).

Each time I set an online homework, I select the tasks I want the students to complete and then set up a badge linked to those tasks. I also edit the “Homework” notice at the top of the course so that it is really clear to students which tasks they need to do.

Once students have completed the tasks, the badge appears on their homepage. Each task also gains a green tick on the course page once it is completed and passed, so it is really easy for pupils to keep track of their work.

It is also really easy for me to keep track of their work as well – once it is due, I simply access the “Manage Badges” section on the course, find the badge I have assigned and click the number of students who have completed it. If it is not the full 32, I can sort names alphabetically by surname, and then check against my classlist and identify who has not completed their homework, and follow up as necessary. I can also access their individual grades if I wish to, or if there are queries as to why a pupil has not completed the work (“I thought I did it?” “You did, but you need to revisit it and improve your score – look, there is a red cross instead of a green tick on this one”.)

Homework Lotto:

Over the year, I made use of the 15 homeworks Lotto game. I gave all students a Lotto card at the beginning of the year and they stuck it into their Pupil Planners (these last a whole year – exercise books might not…). Each time I assigned a homework badge, I also assigned a Lotto number. Once pupils had completed the homework they received a cultural badge and a Lotto badge – they then tick the number off if they have it. Once all numbers are ticked off they could claim a small chocolate prize from me. It is amazing what the offer of a small cholcoate prize can do for motivation! Check out the student feedback for what they thought of the Lotto game by clicking here.

End of Year Prizes:

Following a suggestion from a student - why didn't I think of that?! - I awarded prizes to the top performers with the highest scores across the course. The grade book can be sorted by total, so this was really easy to do, and went down very well indeed! I did the same at Christmas (I remembered then!). I could certainly make more of this in future years to encourage students to go beyond the work that I set them.

Summary

So, has languages online extra achieved what I set out for it to achieve? YES! It has functioned as a ready made source of homework and has been very easy to manage. Plus of course, having set up homework tasks and badges for this year, I won’t need to repeat that part of it again next year.
To find out more about taking advantage of languages online extra in your classes, please follow the links below.

With languages online extra you can:
set interactive homework which marks itself and delivers data
track your pupils’ progress
incentivise your pupils with games, badges and points competitions
set up rewards with just a few clicks
Plus, languages online extra is:
available as an app
free of advertising
Click here for full details
Want to have a look around? Log into the Demo course and take a closer look:
Click here to go to languages online extra
Log in with the following: Username: demoteacher, Password: Demoteacher-123


Site concept, design and management by Andrew Balaam, for Languages Online Ltd. Additional materials by Francisco Villatoro, Ruth Smith and Jacky Tidbury.