On 14th August 2014, 21 teachers participating in the Adaptemy pilot programme for Junior Cert students were invited to attend our first teacher summit in Bewley’s Hotel Leopardstown. The programme will involve spending one class per week in the computer lab working on questions generated by the Adaptemy system, and the teacher summit provided an introduction to the programme and allowed us to connect with and learn from our teachers before the pilot begins in September.
There was a feeling of excitement in the air as teachers from around the country arrived at the hotel and began to connect with each other over tea and coffee. The room began to settle as everybody took their seats and opened their welcome packs, which explained what the Adaptemy pilot will entail and described the classroom benefits that Adaptemy has to offer. Once the teachers had settled in and familiarised themselves with our programme, Conor O’Sullivan gave a brief talk on who we are and what we do before outlining the schedule for the day and introducing the rest of the team.
Dr. Michael Clark, a teacher in Belvedere College who utilised the Adaptemy pilot with fourth and fifth year students last year, then took the floor to describe his experience with Adaptemy and explain how the Adaptemy pilot can be used in the classroom and at home. Dr. Clark reassured the teachers that support is always available from the Adaptemy team, and his talk provided the invaluable perspective of a teacher who has tested the programme in the classroom. A walkthrough was provided on setting up your first class, allowing teachers to experience creating an account and working through questions from a student’s perspective. Teachers were advised to stress the adaptive nature of the programme and to remind students that the system will challenge their abilities regardless of whether they are strong or weak. Working together on questions from the ‘Expressions 1’ topic promoted discussion among the teachers, and as they became more confident with the Adaptemy pilot their understanding improved and some interesting questions were discussed with the team.
After a well-earned lunch, Dr. Clarke’s colleague Dave O’Grady spoke about how to manage your class before, during, and after a session using the Adaptemy pilot. Assignments view can be used to set work before a class, and teachers can use the live view while moving around the classroom to monitor the activity of each student and identify those who would benefit from their help. Reports view can be consulted after class to review the time spent by each student on the system, the improvement made by each student during the session, and the status of each student in a particular topic. Teachers gave feedback on their first impressions of the Adaptemy pilot, and it was clear from their positive comments that the programme will be an exciting and useful addition to their classrooms. Dave will be blogging about his experience with the Adaptemy pilot throughout the year, so watch this space!
The final section of our first teacher summit was led by Conor Flynn, who illustrated the importance of communication between the Adaptemy team and our teachers. Conor emphasised that our goal is to create a better way to learn and that we believe that “teachers are the most important thing”. Feedback from teachers is taken seriously and incorporated into the development of our programme because, as Conor pointed out, “if we don’t make you happy there is no point in our existence”. We will stay in close contact with teachers by phone, live support, and user surveys, collecting feedback and providing support where needed. Each school will receive a virtual pack containing the information and materials necessary for setting up and running classes on the system. Our team will be accessible via live chat for troubleshooting, and teachers can contact us with questions and suggestions. Conor concluded by highlighting that “no tool can replace a teacher”, assuring the teachers that the Adaptemy pilot will allow them to bring their students on a better learning journey.
Many teachers chose to spend more time at the end of the day practicing on the system with the support of the Adaptemy team and each other, creating a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Teachers and team members alike left our first teacher summit with fond memories of the day and a growing excitement about the journey we’ll be taking together using the Adaptemy pilot.
Have a question about the Adaptemy pilot programme for Junior Cert students? Tweet us @adaptemy to find out more!