homework

A lot is changing in education – there are radical ideas (abolishing homework) through to the more subtle (replacing chairs with bouncy balls). So why pay attention to the “flipped classroom” movement? The idea of a “flipped classroom” might sound foreign and even a little silly, but as you delve into the paradigm you will find, just as I did, that it has the most drastic effect on learning.

The idea is simple – set the learning work for homework and the traditional homework as classwork. The first reaction you will think of (and get from your students) is: They call it homework for a reason, Sir!” But the reality of it is that the traditional homework, where students reinforce their learning and most of the times complete higher order thinking activities is being done at home, without teacher help or supervision. A flipped classroom seeks to fix this. Rather than spending your time in class on lower order thinking skills (remembering, understanding, etc) and teaching content or concepts, asks your students to read an article or watch a video. Arm them with the knowledge so that when they get to class, you can get to what matters – the activities that target the higher order thinking skills. So how does this theory apply in the real life classroom?

I implemented this over a six month trial in a Year 9 Mathematics class. These kids had, for the most part, given up on learning maths. Marks were on the low and unhelpful behaviour was on the rise… Here was a typical lesson:

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When I analysed the activities that my class consisted of, I found that I spent most of my class time on teaching a concept, for example how to find the missing sides of a compound shape. This was a low order skill when classifying it according to Bloom’s Taxonomy. The higher order skills (applying, creating) were set for homework (which was either not complete or copied from the answers).

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So I decided to make the change – from the first day of Term 3, I told students what the plan was: their homework was to watch a video before each lesson. The students were confused and even a little fearful, but the effects were immediate. I was not spending any class time on low order skills – the students were instructed to sit down and start the activity on the board (or the worksheet handed out). There was a few flow on effects from this style of teaching:

  1. The “lessons” were differentiated by default – students could take their own time to watch the video and learn the concept. They could stop, start and replay it at will, and if it took them an extra 20 minutes to do it they weren’t slowing anyone else down!
  2. Behaviour issues were down – students didn’t get upset, embarrassed or confused because they understood the content before the class started and their friends were all at the same starting point walking into the room (regardless of how many times they watched the video!)
  3. Students could revise the lessons before exams (or when they felt like they had to revisit an earlier concept)

In my flipped classroom, this is what my lessons looked like now:

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And this was the new way that Bloom’s Taxonomy was being prioritised:

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It wasn’t all rosy, though:

  • I custom made the videos, which took about 1 hour per lesson – I could use them next year, but the initial investment was high. Had I known about Skwirk at the time I could have used their content instead!
  • Some students still came to class without preparation – once students realised that they weren’t ready for class and the others were contributing freely, the students picked up the slack and watched the videos they missed.

In all, the flipped classroom was a success. I unfortunately was taken off the class at the end of the year, but students actually begged me to make more videos for them!

I highly enjoyed my flipped classroom experience and I hope that you decide to take the leap.

If you would like to know more about my journey or how you can flip your classroom, feel free to contact us to get an online presentation.

Skwirk provides over 18,000 resources that can form the basis of an engaging and meaningful flipped classroom lesson. Take a trial here and see how Skwirk can help your classroom. Keep in touch – we’d love to hear your experiences with flipped lessons!

Being a parent is tough! Although the challenges change as your child grows, sometimes it feels as if every day brings a new set of problems to deal with. One issue which caused an enormous amount of frustration in our household was homework. Not only did my children frequently not want to spend time with their books when they could have been doing other things, but to be honest I found homework difficult too. Many of the things I learned at school weren’t relevant to the current Australian curriculum and I discovered it hard to deliver help in a useful way. Thankfully, Skwirk has provided my family with a fantastic solution to the trials that studying brings.

Comprehensive, easily accessible

Skwirk is an online educational resource which contains over 18,000 pieces of text, animation, games, activities and videos designed to enhance learning across the curriculum. The content is aimed at four to 14-year-olds and covers popular subject areas including numeracy, literacy, geography and science. The site is easy to navigate and can be accessed from a laptop or tablet, so the kids can use it in the car or when we’re out and about, as well as when we’re at home.

Learning and assessment

One of the key advantages of Skwirk for us parents is that it contains both learning and assessment elements. We’re all familiar with our children going off to “learn”, only to find that they’ve ended up doing something completely different! Luckily Skwirk includes the option of sending weekly, emailed progress reports to teachers, parents or tutors, so I always know exactly what study has occurred. Because my children can test their learning with online assessments, it’s easy for them to see what progress has been made and where additional assistance is needed.

Not just for homework help

Knowing that Skwirk can provide safe, relevant learning material isn’t just of benefit for homework, the site is also ideal for additional studying and tutoring. I have two children – one who shines academically and really needs content that challenges them and the other who finds learning a real chore, particularly when it comes to maths. Skwirk provides a customisable solution which suits them both. I also find it a great option to use for “top up” practice between tutoring sessions and to extend school learning.

Engaging format

Up-to-the-minute graphics, sophisticated animation and great video clips ensure Skwirk really engages my children’s attention. It’s that good, schools often use it as a reward for good behaviour! My children are always keen to use Skwirk and I’ve found that since we’ve started using it, the number of homework battles in our house has significantly decreased.

Skwirk is an innovative, exciting online resource that is designed to appeal to a wide variety of children and is already proving to be an invaluable learning aid to thousands of children across Australia and beyond. If you want to transform your child’s home learning experience, why not try Skwirk and enjoy the numerous advantages it brings? Find out more about Skwirk, click here. 

A quick search for “online educational resource” will reveal hundreds of different sites, each making impressive claims about their credibility and results. One of the biggest challenges parents face when trying to find a suitable site to assist their children with learning is deciding which one will be best. At Skwirk we understand how difficult that choice can be, which is why we’ve summarised the key reasons parents in Australia and overseas are opting to use us in order to enhance their children’s education. Read on to discover five clear advantages Skwirk brings to e-learning.

Well presented content

Nothing turns kids off a site faster than reams of text! With years of experience in the education field, our team ensures that the information you’ll find on Skwirk is conveyed in a way that children find enormously appealing. Pictures, videos, animation and advanced graphics provide an engaging, flexible learning experience that fuses fun with learning wonderfully well.

All in one place

Children may demand information on anything from multiplication to marine life, so parents need to be prepared! Skwirk contains over 16,000 resources on a wide range of topics, all in one safe, easily accessible place. This saves a considerable amount of time, as there’s no need to spend hours trawling the net and library to find suitable resources. In addition, Skwirk is designed to be user friendly, enabling children as young as four to independently navigate to topics of interest.

Relevant to the current Australian curriculum

A major problem with online research can be verifying the reliability of the information you find. The answer is to use Skwirk as a convenient, all-encompassing solution. All the Skwirk resources are regularly checked to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Topics are closely tied to the Australian curriculum and include numeracy, literacy, science, French, geography, history and more. This makes Skwirk an ideal homework resource as well as a great study aid.

Parental feedback

A regular emailed update of children’s progress enables parents to quickly assess how much learning their child is undertaking. Skwirk contains not only factual information, but also a selection of testing and assessment resources. These allow children to see whether they’ve understood a topic, as well as providing an assessment tool for parents, home educators and tutors.

Versatile

Skwirk can be used anywhere there’s internet access and adapts well to a tablet in addition to a PC. It’s suitable for children of all abilities and intended for ages four to 14. Skwirk can be used for homework help, revision, general interest, extended learning, differentiated learning and assessment. Many children find it so interesting they’ll even use Skwirk just for entertainment!

Skwirk is a well-established company with a significant track record in providing premium online education assistance to Australian children of all ages and abilities that enhances their learning. Relevant, engaging, adaptable and fun, it’s little wonder that with so many benefits, thousands of parents have decided to make Skwirk a valuable part of their child’s learning experience.

Parents – grab a free trial today. Click here.

The iPad was introduced in 2010, providing a compact and highly portable, yet accessible, medium through which to reach the internet, as well as a number of other functions. User numbers have grown significantly in recent years, with iPads being employed not only for work and entertainment, but also as an educational tool. This latter application has provoked considerable controversy, with some experts suggesting that screen use is detrimental to academic success, whilst others feel there are significant benefits to e-learning. Take a look at the benefits an iPad can bring to your child’s education, as well as the advantages of ensuring high quality textbooks are readily available as a learning resource.

Fast, portable and convenient

Unfortunately, textbooks can be heavy and cumbersome to transport. Even using a textbook can be time consuming and frustrating, as finding the information you need is frequently a challenge. In comparison, an iPad is light enough for smaller children to carry easily, can be used anywhere and most learners can find the information they need in a few minutes, making it ideal for flexible learning. A single device is all that’s needed to access comprehensive information on a wide range of subjects. Sites such as Skwirk, for example, contain over 16,000 learning resources, covering curriculum material for four to 14 year-olds.

Range of learning mediums

Textbooks contain writing, diagrams and photographs, but little else. This can make learning a dry process and can often deter children from wanting to find out more about a topic. One of the major advantages of e-learning is that in addition to these methods of conveying information, children can also enjoy video clips and animation, adding interest to the learning experience. Different presentations of the same information allow children to find a method which suits them best, enhancing retention and engagement.

Interactive

Textbooks contain plenty of useful facts and figures, but do not present opportunities for interaction. Conversely an iPad can provide numerous tests, quizzes, assessments and puzzles which encourage learners to remain attentive and retain the information they need. For children who have trouble concentrating, an iPad can work wonderfully well as an aid to study.

Appealing

Those of us who remember the pre-digital age will frequently favour textbooks, as they are familiar – a tried and tested method of obtaining high-calibre information when you need it. Whilst this is still the case, it’s important to recognise that premium, interactive content is frequently a more appealing way of learning for young people. The use of iPads doesn’t negate textbook use; rather it offers a route for accessing information which better suits many young people today, complementing more traditional methods.

Textbooks continue to play a major part in many educational experiences, particularly for advanced learners who need to access niche subject matter. For school aged children, an iPad which gives them access to high quality educational material can be of real benefit in enriching their learning experience in a wide range of subjects.

Long gone are the dreary days of ‘chalk and talk’. We now know that the limited teaching strategies of old simply don’t work for all students. To instil a life-long love of learning in students, we need to introduce subject matter in a way that’s vibrant, interesting, inspiring and interactive. What’s more, each student’s particular needs and learning style must be taken into consideration – whether they’re learning the English curriculum or the science curriculum.

Teaching to inspire

That said, it’s one thing to acknowledge that modern students need exciting learning experiences; it’s quite another to make it happen. So how does a teacher make sure that students are not only learning, but also enjoying it?

Well, for a start, it’s crucial to find a point of real-life interest. Say, for example, a student is struggling with learning the maths curriculum. For many people, rows of abstract numbers don’t mean much. But put them into a context – whether that be counting money, for those interested in shopping, or counting waves, for those who love the beach, and the entire picture changes.

That’s why, here at Skwirk, we’ve put time and effort into developing online education resources that appeal to students at their points of interest. We’ve created more than 18,000 teaching tools that make sure students are engaged and that learning is a joy – rather than a gruelling task.

Meeting a range of learning needs

There’s been ample research to prove that there’s more than one way of learning. Some students remember facts, ideas and skills best when they’re presented visually. Others learn best by getting active. We know that simply giving kids textbooks and asking them to read, take notes and memorise, doesn’t work for everyone. So, in addition to making sure students are interested, teachers must give them access to a variety of learning strategies.

Again, this is where Skwirk comes in. Name an education tool – such as iPad resources, interactive whiteboard resources and education videos – and you’ll find it on the Skwirk site. What’s more, all teacher resources are produced with the Australian curriculum in mind. Skwirk covers every aspect of the national curriculum, from the history curriculum to the science curriculum.

For the first time, Aussie Product Review will be reviewing a service, but I would describe Skwirk more as a community. Skwirk, pronounced school work quickly, is an interactive learning website. One of the great things about Skwirk is that all the content is Australian and the content has been written specifically for the syllabus in each state therefore making it a wonderful aid to help children all around Australia.

We have reviewed the Skwirk system through three year levels Years 2 and 4 and high school Year 10. Here is what our reviewers thought of Skwirk;

My little one is in Year 2 at school and things have to be interesting to keep this age focused for any period of time. I can say with the bright pictures, colourful animations and games, Skwirk kept her involved for her whole computer time quota. I think children, particularly at this age, learn more and/or quicker visually so to have the animations and colourful pictures throughout kept her interested and focused on the task. Quite honestly I didn’t have to ask her to get on Skwirk she was asking me. As all the activities are targeted at her age group I really don’t think she realised that she was learning while ‘playing’ on the computer. Also, I could jump on after her and check her progress. Skwirk was wonderful and I think it has been invaluable help for my daughter.

I was lucky enough to be given the chance to review the Skwirk system with my daughter who is currently in Year 4 at school.

Once we accessed the site with our login details we were happy to find a huge choice of lessons to choose from in many subjects. My daughter loved being able to choose what she wanted to do when she wanted to do it. I found she spent a lot more time learning this way than conventionally with her set homework. The activities kept her amused and interested literally for over an hour, easily and without any coaching by me.

The lessons we tried were very easy to use and challenged her at every step, which she enjoyed. She felt liked she had achieved something at the end of each step and told her Dad all about what she had learnt when he got home that night.

I’d recommend this system to anyone who has school aged children whether their child is having trouble with learning or not. It is a great way for children to learn at their own pace and support their own learning at school.’

‘Year 10 is a bit beyond me at times so it was great to have Skwirk pick up my slack! While I didn’t hover over my son while he was on Skwirk I did get to go on at the end of the week and view his progress. While we were doing our Skwirk trial, I did notice that should my son not understand something he was studying he would head to Skwirk to get the extra help. My son just loved using Skwirk and even he said “it has been a great help to me mum.” I would consider Skwirk an investment in the son’s education. I was very impressed by this online schooling system.’

Well, what a rave review! I would have to agree; anything to help further education or teach children in a different way to what the school teacher has taught them is a great thing. All children are different and learn in different ways, so if your child cannot quite grasp something in the classroom maybe you should visit Skwirk, it might just be the help your child needs.

Parents grab a free trial by clicking here. Watch a video below to find out more about Skwirk.

Aussie Product Review is a free service for small Australian businesses. They review products and promote business’ on their website and social media outlets which have a collective following of many thousands!

As a homeschooling mum, finding the right curriculum for our children is a top priority. Skwirk, an online curriculum, is aligned with the Australian curriculum and is loved by kids. It is a program that encourages independent learning in Maths, English, Science, Geography and History for all grades from foundation to Year 10.

Skwirk has been having an overhaul and added an awesome option purely for homeschoolers. Now, homeschooling parents have access to all the tools, all the year groups, all the subjects on Skwirk, everything that is available to teachers. I particularly love that I am now able to access the National Curriculum code search and lesson planning functions.

My boys are currently completing Grades 2 and 4. The K-2 lessons are animation based, which our boy loved. The videos are bright, colourful and easy to watch and understand. After watching the video, there are interactive activities to complete. After completing these activities, there are games that can be played.

The lessons for Grades 3-10, include content that is to be read, a short animation, and activity and a worksheet which is all completed before taking the assessment.

As a parent, you are able to create your own lessons from the lessons provided and by adding your own images or YouTube videos and assign these lessons to your children. You are also able to assign your child lessons from the database as well. You are also able to print out any worksheets or design your own quizzes, which I think is very useful for homeschoolers.

Progress reports are available weekly and are easy to print out. These are great for showing assessors how your child has been learning.

We have found Skwirk to be a great supplement to our lessons, so if you are looking for a new online program for 2015, why not try Skwirk today? Click this link to get Skwirking.

Stacey is a homeschooling mum of two energetic boys. Due to her hubby’s shift hours, they decided it would be better for her to stay home and homeschool the boys.  She has homeschooled their two boys from the start. Her blog, A Moment In our World, was started as a way to share their homeschooling journey with their family and friends, who nearly all live far away. Now it is a fabulous resource for everyone, comprising of fun activities, crafts, lots of free printables and yummy recipes.

Connect with her via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.