Pupils shine with Glow
One of the first classroom-based research projects into the impact of Glow, the Scottish schools' digital intranet, shows it has had a significant effect on pupil attainment.
Jaye Richards, a teacher at Cathkin High in South Lanarkshire, tracked four parallel S3 mixed-ability biology classes and found that when one class was taught one module using ICT-based resources on Glow, the pupils' marks rose by more than 30 per cent.
In what is admittedly a small-scale study, she used the Glow virtual learning environment once a week (for the other two periods, she used traditional teaching methods). The class's results showed a 32 per cent increase for the Glow module compared to two other modules.
When she compared the results of these two modules in her class with the three other S3 classes - who received no Glow-based lessons - the results were similar to two classes' results and poorer than those of the third, which was taught by the most experienced teacher in the department. However, on the Glow module, the results were better by nearly 15 per cent than the mean of the other three classes.
At the end-of-year exam, which re-tested all three modules, the class which had received Glow-based teaching in one module had an overall rise in attainment of 34 per cent, compared to 20 per cent achieved by the rest of the S3 cohort, even though only one third of the questions were on the topic taught using ICT on Glow. That result, Ms Richards says, suggests that a "multiplier effect" may be operating.
She has now embarked on phase two of the study in a bid to discover what exactly caused the rise in attainment. "Is the ICT responsible for the improvements in performance, does the use of ICT change the way a teacher works in the classroom, or is there a transactional relationship between these two, or indeed between multiple factors at work here?" she asks.
Ms Richards also reports that pupils in Glow lessons settled down immediately and were able to concentrate until the end of the lesson - as much as 20 minutes might be lost in a traditional lesson.
The quality of peer-assisted learning improved significantly for pupils working with Glow, as did the interactions between teacher and class.
A spokeswoman for Learning and Teaching Scotland, which runs Glow, reported anecdotal evidence of pupils being more willing to do homework via Glow, parents became more involved because they could access Glow from home and pupil motivation increased.
Marie Dougan, Glow programme director, said it was "fantastic" to see how schools were using the technology to enhance pupils' experiences.