50 teachers from across the world participated in the Best use of itslearning awards 2011. In the competition, teachers shared uses of itslearning that have shown to increase student achievement. Dee Kerwick-Chrisp was one of the two winners for her use of individual learning plans to improve student behaviour.
From left to right: Jennie Newman, Head of Assessment & Monitoring, Bedford Borough; David Cartledge, Network Manager at Greys; Brian Glover, Assistant Director Bedford Borough (Chief Education Officer); Chris Hilliard, Executive Director Bedford Borough (Children, Schools and Families); Dylan Jones, Managing Director, itslearning UK; Eugenie Amartey, Elearning Coordinator at Greys; and Terry Ashmore, Headteacher at Greys.
As an award winner, Dee won a shiny new Apple iMac and a Canon LEGRIA HF G10 video camera for her school – Greys Education Centre in the UK. The prize was presented to Greys in February 2012 by Dylan Jones Managing Director of itslearning UK and Alastair Cameron, itslearning Senior Learning Strategist.
Greys Education Centre has responsibility for the education of all Bedford Borough pupils that other schools deem too hard to teach, such as pupils who cannot attend regular school due to exclusion, long-term illness or other reasons. Many of these students have behaviour issues – and this makes Dee’s use of itslearning even more important for the children under the school’s care.
Using ILPs to encourage better behaviour
The teachers at Greys use itslearning to a great extent in their teaching, but they were awarded their prize for the extremely creative use of the individual learning plan (ILP). Once a week, every student meets with a teacher to set their behaviour goals, which are then added to the student’s ILP in itslearning. Then, at the end of each lesson, the class teacher refers to the student’s ILP before assigning the student a behaviour grade. (Dee is keen to point out that the 1–5 scale only reflects good behaviour.)
Any student with an average score above 3.2 for the week can enjoy a free lesson – and the student with the best score gets a certificate. This reward system has proven extremely successful, with students competing with each other to get the best score. The student’s weekly behaviour report is also printed out and sent to their parents – and the reports are sometimes used as evidence that students are adhering to court orders.
Praise to the staff
Since Dee has left Greys Education Centre since winning the competition, the award was accepted by Eugenie Amartey who worked closely with Dee on the particular project. In his address, Dylan praised all the staff at Greys, without whom the students would have little chance of success in their educational life, and emphasised that the prizes were for everyone to use.
Alastair Cameron comments: "I have nothing but admiration for the staff here. They are all completely committed to making a difference to the life of the children here. And it was especially rewarding to see that itslearning is helping the staff motivate and engage with the students and their parents."
Great work by all entries
There were two winners of the Best use of itslearning awards 2011. The other iMac and camera went to Anne Cathrine Gotaas from Norway for her use of itslearning in a flipped classroom model. Both winners demonstrated extremely good uses of itslearning that are showing to have a positive effect on students’ education.
But, as one of the four judges in the competition, Alastair admits the decision wasn't easy. "Being a judge on 'The best use of itslearning' competition proved incredibly difficult. There were so many innovative methods and all of them can easily be picked up and used by other educators, I have to say that selecting the winner was really tough."
You can see the full 12-person shortlist here.
Posted on Thu, March 29, 2012
by Alastair Cameron, Øyvind Flatnes, Dan Elloway