Are electronic school planners the way forward?
Having homework data to hand enables all schools to identify the quality and quantity of homework and identify its efficacy for key groups of students.
All students need a little help organising themselves. The typical way to do this is to provide them with a school planner, encourage them to fill it with homework tasks and then hope they treat it with care, share it with their parents and most importantly – don’t lose it! But, are paper student planners really the best way to keep students organised today? Or is there a better way? Jenny Andrews from StudentFolder discusses the benefits of a paper planner versus an online organiser.
Traditionally, on the first day of school, paper student planners are given out to all students. Ideally they are good quality planners that are durable so they make it through the year. It’s nice to have something to give to students, however, the process of handing them out and writing in key information can take up precious tutor time and printed planners can be costly. Although StudentFolder is priced by size of school and not by pupil, the average cost per pupil per planner is between £1.50 and £2.50.
Students have a lot of things to carry to and from school. The paper planner is cumbersome and just another thing to add to the heavy backpack. The StudentFolder app provides everything they need on a small mobile device. Parents can be sent a letter requesting permission for their child to download the app and then it takes just 2 minutes to log in at the start of the day. Those without devices, can use the web app in the library or computer room.
Having an electronic organiser means that content can be updated automatically – eradicating the need and time for students to add new information or to correct mistakes found in a printed planner. This leads to tutor time requiring glue sticks and loose pages to be handed out – unnecessary time wasted.
Ease of setting homework
When setting homework for children who are using a paper planner, the task either has to be copied down (plenty of room here for students to make mistakes or to not copy down the task at all!), or a sticky note handed out to each child.
With StudentFolder, teachers can enter homework tasks directly into the system with no additional workload. They can add the homework whenever they want, and have it released to a student or class on a designated date and time of day. This allows a “do and forget” approach. Then in class, a teacher can simply state, “You have homework on StudentFolder”.
The message system on the app and web version allows students to ask questions using a “chat” format they will be familiar with and therefore more likely to engage with.
Communicating with parents
If students fail to copy down their homework or copy it down incorrectly, parents might question whether homework is being set at all. With the StudentFolder iOS and Android app, you can set up push notifications that will automatically sent to parents indicating that homework has been set and another notification for when their child completes it. So, there can be no complaint that the homework isn’t being logged and parents can encourage their children to complete tasks set.
Don’t forget, we encourage setting meaningful homework rather than just recording a homework task for the sake of monitoring.
Reducing teacher workload
From a teacher admin point of view, using StudentFolder for all homework is a huge time saver. If all homework is recorded on the system, whether a simple link to MyMaths or Kerboodle, or an on-going project, StudentFolder acts as a central repository. If school leaders want to run administration reports for tracking, this can be done saving both the teacher and SLT valuable time.
Data and differentiation
School leaders can also track the amount of homework or class coverage for teachers as well as see from simple graphs whether disadvantaged, SEN or EAL children are receiving a greater or lesser proportion of homework and whether these vulnerable groups are less likely to complete the homework. Therefore, teachers and school leaders can plan interventions.
So what’s your verdict?
Can you see the benefits of StudentFolder for your students? Is it time to replace that paper planner? Teacher Toolkit readers will receive 30% OFF if they buy StudentFolder for their school before 30th November 2017! Find out more information and book a demo for your school – remember to quote Teacher Toolkit in the comment box to claim your discount.
At its core, StudentFolder can reduce initial and ongoing printing costs; from planner to homework resources as well as reduce workload, increase available class time and parental engagement.