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Currently the NSSF does not endorse, nor carry advertising for, commercial products. This policy is under consideration. However, when products appear of particular value to small schools we will carry reviews, hoping they may save members time in searching and evaluating.

An e-learning service with potential to save teachers’ time and provide individual learning, whilst maintaining quality and providing asesessments.

Taecanet Springboard (Yes, that’s the right spelling.) is a web based e-learning service with a particular facility for individual pupils to learn at school or at home. It draws together pages from some of the best subject websites as chosen by a 50 strong teachers’ advisory group. From such pages it forms an interactive learning journey with much variety, and provides the pupil with simple assessments. After a full journey, there is an extension involving open-ended questions and problems. Teachers set the date for the pupil to complete the journey. Whole classes, groups or individual pupils can be offered the journey and each journey has some flexibility and is closely related to QCA schemes and to age groups. Such a system seems to have many advantages for mixed-age classes and especially where there may be only a very few pupils at one particular age/level. There is a full assessment record provided and teachers can plan the next learning if needed. The system is finding favour in small schools due to the ease and flexibility of use, combined with the opportunity for individual learning. Children can progress at their own rate.

I felt it did need a little time (about an hour) to understand the system as a teacher, but once learnt it is easy to use and potentially quick for children. It does not make direct links and this would be a useful additional feature. It can easily be used at pupils’ homes, providing more flexibility in the time and type of learning. (Perhaps, one day, pupils will seldom need to go to school!) It avoids much of the dulling effect of identical formats and multiple choice questions because of the imaginative use of a variety of materials from many web sites. However, the current problem is that it is limited to KS2 and KS3 history, science and geography but other subjects are coming. This limitation is to some extent recompensed by its low cost and the possibility of using e-learning credits. There is also a free trial available at http://www.taecanet.com

Mike Carter





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