Free Exam Prep resources

Doing classroom observation last week (of which more later), I noticed that Year 11s fall into three groups:

  1. those who have have effective revision plans
  2. those who are revising, but are not doing so effectively
  3. those who are still in denial

As it happens, my colleage Mike has been working on a resource aimed precisely at groups two and three. Specifically, here is what he has done.

You can use them directly from the Previews in this email, but to analyse the results you need to set your students up in Yacapaca. This takes 5-10 minutes, and costs nothing. Start from the signup page.

BTW, both the exam prep resources and Yacapaca itself are free.

Yacapaca slips past 2500 and I fail to notice

Yacapaca passed the 2500 registered teachers mark mid-last week – in fact as I write we have 2681 teacher members. A quick sample of the data suggests that approx 75% are from UK secondary school, and that each school has an average of 1.5 teachers registered. That would indicate that 1340 UK Secondary Schools now use Yacapaca, which is just over 25% of the total.

But the number I’m really proud of is the 77,533 students currently registered. That’s how many kids are now being more effectively educated through Yacapaca.

Another Yacapaca milestone

It wasn’t that long ago that we would celebrate in the Chalkface office if a real teacher had been on Yacapaca that day. It felt hugely validating that someone had wanted to use our litte system to run some tests with a class of perhaps 30 students.

Recently it’s been a bit busier. A good weekday would see teacher numbers climbing towards 50 – that’s 1500 students or so – or even peaking a little higher than that. I started to hope we would see the 100 milestone soon.

And today, something shifted. Perhaps because of last night’s email, perhaps because of the edubloggers who are starting to join us, we were up above 50 by lunchtime. Sometime around 3pm we hit the magic 100.

And kept going.

At the time of writing (11.30 at night) we’re up to 183. I’m just bowled over. And I’d like to say a huge thankyou to every teacher who has put trust in Yacapaca’s ability to deliver good quality, motivating, formative assessments to your students.

Top Dog

When we first introduced the Avatar template in Yacapaca, we only had one avatar, Bobo. Since then, he’s been joined by 14 friends – some human, some not, some … indeterminate. Bobo, having a head start, was the most popular – until yesterday.

Now we have a new number one! It can be exclusively revealed right here on Radio Chalkface that Britain’s Number One avatar is ….. [naff jingle] …… Amber!

Yacapaca avatar popularity chart

Amber probably owes her popularity to her resemblance to an Andrex Puppy, but her real namesake is this wonderful creature.

Why we won't be at BETT this year

Last January I was waxing eloquent about BETT, the education technology show. We’d run a well-attended stand, heard some very nice things about ourselves and our products, and were all feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves.

Looking back, I’m not so pleased. Running even a small stand costs £5000 if you include staff and preparation costs. Certainly it generated interest, but only a fraction of that created by Mike and Miranda with the free Xmas quizzes. The benefits just don’t justify the expense.

So, why does anybody exhibit? The reason I most commonly hear is “my competitors exhibit, so I don’t dare not to”. It’s a bit Emperor’s New Clothes-ish, isn’t it? I suspect that only a very small proportion of exhibitors get real value from the money they pour into fancy stands, expensive brochures and exhausted staff who, believe me, are pasting those smiles on by Saturday.

And who pays for it? In the end, it all comes out of the education budget one way or another. So this year, I’m restricting Chalkface to supporting the Moodle stand, and putting the money saved into more free resources on Yacapaca.