I have been researching and exploring a range of tools to improve and support Literacy and Numeracy skills at City and Islington College. Below I will evaluate and summarise my findings.
Brain POP! is an online resource to support a variety of subjects from Literacy to STEM topics. It can be utilised by both teachers and students. The online tool offers videos, quizzes and assessments for students to use to improve studying and learning in many topics.
Teachers can use Brain POP! for lesson planning and ideas as well as for classroom teaching and independent learning. For Literacy, there are topics surrounding famous authors and grammar practice and for Numeracy, there are Algebra, Probability and other modules available to study.
While it is a very resourceful tool and can improve learning for both Literacy and Numeracy in the College, the topics have an American focus so it may not be as useful for a UK college to use.
In regards to availability, the website does offer a small range of free topics to study and use, however to gain full access, G suite is required to use Brain POP! and all the resources it provides.
Newsela is an online learning resource for teachers and students which provides a range of news articles surrounding a variety of topics from politics to film. They have content for different ages and learning abilities. They offer articles at varying reading levels and abilities so it is universal and inclusive. As well as articles they also provide quizzes, assessments and writing prompts on certain topics and and subjects.
The main purpose of this tool is to improve literacy across all ages and abilities as well as to engage students in world affairs and other important topics. This is beneficial as it peaks interests in students as they are able to explore articles that are of interest to them while at the same time improving their literacy skills.
One of my main criticisms regarding Newsela is that is has a dominantly American focus in terms of the articles and news they provide which may not coincide with the College’s curriculum.
The resource is free to use for students, they are required to sign up to Newsela and they will have access to the articles and the activities.
Plotagon is a tool for teachers to use which allows them to create educational animations increase learning in Literacy and Numeracy as well as other subjects. It can also be used by students to create their own educational videos as part of their learning.
Its main feature is the ability to create educational animations which makes learning more engaging and entertaining for students. The online resource also provides lesson ideas for different subjects.
The cost of Plotagon for one user is $39 for the year and for 30 users it is $99. This is the cost for the Plotagon education license in order to install and run the software.
Scrible is a tool that is used for researching articles and media files. It helps make researching work and revising easier for students as it allows them to annotate articles and bookmark them for easy access.
Its main educational feature is the use for teachers. They can use the tool to set assignments and track the class’ progress as well as individual students. They can see the students research in real time and where each of their sources have come from. They can also see which students have started the research, which have started the assignment and how many words they have written.
This is a really useful for both teachers and students to have as it helps students with their assignments and research but also allows them to receive help tailored to their needs and areas of improvement as it provides the teachers with the information to help assist their pupil.
Scrible is not a free resource and teachers will have to contact the company to receive a quote.
EquatIO is a resource by Texthelp which is an online platform for students to help make studying STEM subjects easier and to provide resources for students to use for revision.
The resource allows students to write equations which equatIO digitally adds to word and g suite. It allows you to type, or even hand-write the equations and digitally convert them. It can also be used to create graphs easily and help students study maths.
It is a good resource to digitise equations and provide an online platform for study STEM subjects. However, besides the features mentioned above, there isn’t anything else that the resource offers so it may not be as useful for studying STEM subjects as other tools that are available.
EquatIO isn’t a free resource in general, however, for teachers, they offer both the Read&Write license subscription and the EquatIO subscription for free which is available once teachers fill out the specified form to activate their teacher account.
All of these tools and resources can be utilised by the College to improve and aid students with Literacy and Numeracy skills as well as provide additional support for students. Although not all of the resources are free, it may be worthwhile to invest in them.