Liquid Layouts

If you looked at the ePortfolio exemplars I blogged at the start of the month, you might have noticed that they required quite a big screen for optimum display. Many screens in schools are only 800×600 so I’ve been worrying about this for some time.

So… through December, Sasha rewrote all the templates to conform to a system known as ‘Liquid Layout’. The idea is that a web page should intelligently resize itself to whatever screen it finds itself on, rather than demanding that you the user buy a screen the same size as the designer’s.

Perfectly liquid layouts work equally well on desktop or your mobile phone. We’ve not gone quite that far, but we have improved things a lot. Certainly the portfolios will display fine on all common school computers.

With our intensively graphical format it wasn’t easy, and I’m pretty proud of what Sasha has achieved. Take a look for yourself; here are the same real students’ portfolios I showed last month, re-exported with the new templates:

eAssessment training days

A particular pleasure recently has been to observe the increasing trend of early Yacapaca adopters seeking to induct colleagues. It is an extra level of validation when somebody thinks that what you are doing is good enough to share with their friends. And I’m a sucker for flattery.

These pioneering adopters tend to learn by tinkering about. They don’t just not need formal training, they don’t want it. So we don’t didn’t offer it.

Now things have changed. The teachers who are joining Yacapaca on the strength of the recommendation of a colleague are typically more pragmatic people. They want to know how they can do assessment more effectively, using less of their own time, using an online system.

To meet that need, we have set up a series of four one-day eAssessment training events around the country. The aim is to give a strong enough grounding that you can use Yacapaca as a day-to-day assessment tool in any subject. We will cover both the objective (multiple choice etc) and subjective (ePortfolio & short text) sides of the system.

  • Birmingham – Friday, July 7th.
  • Milton Keynes – Monday, July 10th (run in conjunction with Milton Keynes LEA and focusing on PSHE)
  • Swansea/Port Tabot – Friday, July 14th
  • Guildford – Tuesday, 18th July

Cost £95.00 including lunch
to book call Chalkface on 0800 781 8858
or email

Day Plan

The day will cover Yacapaca from start to finish:

Day-to-day usage

  • Adding students and additional teachers
  • Selecting and setting tests
  • Analysing results (including advanced analysis)

Authoring your own tests

  • Creating different question types (multiple choice, cloze, survey)
  • Managing your question bank
  • Constructing multiple tests from a single bank

Writing for publication

  • Writing stems with clarity
  • Options that that facilitate guessing and ‘gaming’, and how to avoid them
  • Writing formative feedback that best facilitates learning

ePortfolios and Short-Text resources

  • Basic setup of the ePortfolio module
  • Setting and monitoring tasks
  • Authoring portfolio tasks
  • Converting MS Word worksheets into interactive online resources
  • Writing ePortfolio resources for publication

The group will be kept small to ensure personal attention to each delegate, so early booking is advisable.

If you are planning to purchase a Yacapaca site license for your school, we can also provide this same training course on-site. Currently we won’t charge for this, but will require you to help us market the event to teachers from other schools near you.

ePortfolio integration

This evening we are uploading the next major improvement to Yacapaca. The ePortfolio is now integrated into Yacapaca for both teachers and students.

Teacher module

As teacher, you will see a ‘gateway button’ in the Yacapaca banner. This will take you into the ePortfolio module. You will find most of it self-explanatory, but please do refer to the ePortfolio Instructions if you get stuck.

There are assessment tasks on the system already for DiDA, the GCSEs in Applied Business and Health and Social Care, and ICT for ABE. But over and above that, it really is extremely easy to create your own ePortfolio tasks.

Student module

The student ePortfolio module is integrated via a new button in the top left of the banner. This leads to a list of all ePortfolio assignments, from where the student proceeds into the specific task. That list will be empty until/unless you set some assignments.

We’re not charging a bean for the ePortfolio until September, so if you want to know what the possibilities of ePortfolio working are, now is the time go and have a play! It has so many creative possibilities that it’s really up to you how you want to use it.