Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a teacher and leader of digital learning, working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 2 class using iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Explain Everything .. same title, different work: personalisation

At many times the learners drive what my projects will look like or how I'm going to create things to make them manageable in the classroom.  This is the case with our maths projects.  I've found often that the learners use photographs to create digital learning objects to document their understanding.  This can create many projects in a week, many of which go unsaved.

This week I'm trialling using one project a week - I create and send to all learners the project title page and learners are able to add on to this with blank pages to create their DLOs.  The plan is to save it back to their Google Drive at the end of each week.

I'm also able to merge existing Explain Everything projects into each weeks work for different learners to work through.  This enables me to direct learners to "this weeks maths project file" and have them continue on from where ever they left off, addressing whatever needs the learner has  -  personalised learning!

Today I introduced the project title page to the learners - and had them each find it on their own device.  I explained to them that their work would look different to their peers - it was interesting that even though I covered this, I still had many learners come up to me and say theirs "looked different" to their friends!  That aside, we had an extremely successful session and each learner was able to save their project on their device at the end of the lesson, enabling them to pick up where they left off tomorrow!  I'm looking forward to seeing if this new way of working enables me to capture more of each learners individual progress by making it easier for my 5 year olds to save their work each day - the project is already labelled and is therefore a much easier process for them to follow.

As an aside, I find myself creating more and more "project title pages" as these make the projects in Explain Everything easier for my learners to find!


  1. Sounds a very interesting development Karen. How do you get round only seeing each learner's project once a week? Does that have an impact in timely feedback/feed forward?

    1. I'm seeing each learners project every day as I review where they are at and give them verbal feedback or go over a particular aspect with them as part of my small group micro teaching. So far I'm actually finding that I'm seeing & responding to it more than in the past as we are now not having the "accidental" deletions of work that the learners were prone to do. The only difference is I can't access the projects via Teacher Dashboard until the end of the week. If I find that I need to do this, I'll look at uploading the partially completed project during the week as well as at the end of the week.

    2. Makes sense. Thanks for that explanation. My next wondering: would there be any benefit in recording your verbal feedback on the project? This is NOT a suggestion, it is something I am curious about the pros and cons of.

    3. Hmmmm! That has me thinking! I need to brainstorm the pros & cons - definitely worth exploring the potential benefits/drawbacks for sure!