This is the second post in a series we’re bringing to you where teachers share their experiences using Stile in the classroom, from implementation to day-to-day use and everything in between.
Brendan Leane at St. Joseph’s College in Ferntree Gully, used Stile to present a full semester course to his year 10 physical education class.
We understand you ran an experiment with Stile?
Yes, I had just finished a unit with the year 10’s when the deputy principal introduced us to Stile. I thought straight away, “I like this, let’s give it a serious go”. I thought I could use the same class to make a direct comparison, so I set up the next semester with everything based on Stile.
And how did it go?
Well, I’ve surveyed the boys. The feedback is extremely positive – 100% very happy. Accessibility, all the information in one place, efficient, very simple and straightforward – they find it much better for organising themselves.
That’s wonderful. And you could see all this for yourself during the semester?
For sure. Just this morning I had them for their last double session. I told them, “This is your time to prepare for the exam. Go back in Stile and look at the resources and your previous results. I understand you don’t want to sit for 80 minutes, so move when you need.” Now this is a group of year 10 boys, but it was fascinating to watch – they’d get up for a drink but come straight back and work away. The comparison to last semester’s revision was quite phenomenal.
Were there other direct comparisons you saw between semesters?
Yes. The students settle down to work much more quickly – a very clear observation. And are very keen to get feedback – “When am I going to get this back?” They were putting that back on me a bit in fact, but because of the ease of seeing it submitted I could just jump on Stile and start correcting. It wasn’t like having a pile of things on your desk and you say, “I’ll get to those”.
Even in this morning’s revision class I had Stile open while I was working, and a submission would pop up. I’d correct it, shoot it back and they got their assessment within 20 seconds. They’d look up and give me a nod – they liked that. And there’s never a worry at home that I’ve left work at school. That’s the same for the boys – they don’t lose worksheets, the dog didn’t eat them – no excuses.
The boy in the survey said you got through more work…
I’d say we completed possibly one third more work with Stile, and that’s a conservative estimate. There was a distinct shift at both levels. The weaker boys achieved more because they were comfortable on the platform and more interested to have a go. They could work at their own pace. The advanced boys flew ahead – they did more work because I gave them advanced things they could do. Their motivation was higher when they saw the tasks getting completed. It was very much about self-directed learning.
You didn’t take the same self-directed learning approach in the first semester?
No. I could have, but it would have required a lot more input from me in terms of creating and monitoring the resources. We’ve got a drive across the school to move away from the older didactic forms of teaching and Stile is ideal – it’s tailor-made for what we’re trying to achieve with that.
So to allow self-pacing you put up most of the content at the start?
For each topic, yes. This is the other great thing too – you can jump on and see students that are flying ahead and those that are falling behind. It allowed me to put more time into weaker students because I could identify them really quickly.
What will you change when you use Stile again?
Probably more hands-on tasks, just to get a balance. But I would still have it most heavily weighted towards Stile. In pretty much every class I teach now I’ll be using this, in some shape or form. The more you use it the more you understand what you can do.