Teach Touch Typing!

Your students type a lot, but I’ll lay odds that they type badly. Prompted by internet guru Seth Godin‘s blog, I’m going to reprise an argument I had with Mark Leighton a while ago, about why it’s vital to teach them to type properly.

Here, paraphrased, are Mark’s arguments as to why he didn’t need to teach typing separately, and my ripostes.

My students can type anyway

No, they can hunt and peck. To call that typing is like saying someone can drive if they can Continue reading

It is long past time to abandon paper-based examinations

chinese exam g edit

The ‘exam paper’ has been around for the last 14 centuries and it is still going strong. The way things are going, the exam-paper looks likely to outlast even the news-paper.

But it shouldn’t. Paper-based exams are a hideously-unreliable method of assessing competence. Here are some of the major reliability problems of Continue reading

Our first-ever 8th Dan student

8th DanMeet Beatrice Wongsanguan, Y11 student at Patana School in Bangkok. Beatrice is the first student ever to achieve the 8th Dan belt in Yacapaca.

In case you do not know, we copied the Judo belt scheme to describe our levels. Students earn White Belt almost immediately, the work up through the colours to Black Belt. After that, they get into the Dan grades, and progress becomes much harder. Achieving each grade is 60% more work than achieving the previous grade was. 60% may not sound like a lot, but it compounds up very fast.

Belt grades are earned primarily through diligence. Regular practice, regular revision and participation in the voluntary extension activities such as peer assessment are key. Beatrice has been using Yacapaca since Y7 (I looked up her records) and is clearly a top performer even in a school renowned for its work ethos.

Congratulations Beatrice! Read the full story in the Patana magazine.

Introducing Sequence questions

Being able to work out a sequence is a classic demonstration of understanding and this makes it a popular assessment option.

The new Sequence question type in Yacapaca supports up to 5 items to be sequenced, with text, images or both. It uses a simple and intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

sequence

This sample quiz will give you a flavour of what is possible.  Try it!

GCSE Exam Practice modules coming in January

Exam results

Next January, we intend to launch a new series of professionally written and edited online practice GCSE exams, entirely auto-marked.

The aim will be to raise GCSE results by at least one grade level for students who practice regularly.

Planned features:

  • All GCSE question types, including multiple choice, short-text and long-text
  • Exam-timed questions
  • Instant, automatic marking
  • Formative feedback
  • Student motivation features
  • Select questions by keyword, topic and difficulty

There is a huge pile of work to do between now and then. New software modules to be written – some of them using advanced AI. A whole authoring and editing process has to be created and populated with talented individuals. But there is nothing we’ve not done before. What this project does is for the first time pull together skills we have developed over the last 25 years into a single, amazing, product.

I’m excited!