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Improving literacy learning outcomes using Hapara Teacher Dashboard and Google Apps

Tags: Diverse learners | Effective pedagogy | English | Student inquiry | Teacher inquiry | GAFE | Learning management systems (LMS) | Primary | Upper primary |

With a vision for improving literacy learning outcomes, Houghton Valley School trialed Hapara Teacher Dashboard and Google Apps with their senior classes over 12 months.

Leaders trial e-learning and digital literacy initiatives, and begin to align them to curriculum planning.
eLPF, 2014

Leadership and strategic planning play an important part in setting-up a trial. A key part of this is to have a clear vision that can be articulated by the principal, the teachers, the students, and the wider school community. It is important for everybody to be able to understand what the possibilities are with digital technologies in terms of reaching the vision. The e-Learning Planning Framework  (eLPF) is a valuable way to scaffold understanding and plan for the professional learning and infrastructure necessary to achieve the vision.

e-Learning facilitator, Ross Alexander talks about the importance of having a shared school vision. He explains how the eLPF can be used to help teachers and principals reflect on the teaching and learning that’s happening in their school, and how that teaching and learning needs to change to make the most of digital technologies. By using eLPF online survey tool , schools can identify where the teachers and the schools were at, and plan for professional learning needed to reach their vision of where they would like to be. Teaching as inquiry is a very important part of this process. It enables teachers to explore, to see what works, and to see what other schools have done. He stresses the importance of focusing on:

  • the purpose for using a particular piece of digital technology, not, "What digital technology should I use?" 
  • student achievement, not just engagement.

Trialing Teacher Dashboard at Houghton Valley School

e-Learning leader and teacher, Peter Holmstead describes the purpose, introduction, and setup process trialing Hapara Teacher Dashboard. They focused on using the tool to improve student reading and writing outcomes. Setting up the trial included parent consultation and consent for their children to participate. Peter explained the purpose of Google Apps and Gmail accounts to parents. During the trial Peter found, monitoring student progress, looking at student work, and sharing work with them was much easier. Reluctant writers made significant progress, shown by an increase across several sub-levels in AsTTle writing tests. Students talk about improved engagement and the benefits of collaboration.

Teacher inquiry: Using Google docs to improve learning outcomes
As part of the trial, Peter inquired into using Google apps to improve student literacy learning outcomes. He focused on four students who were high achievers using Google Apps and Gmail to communicate and produce several projects through the year. The students share their successes in learning and explain the benefits of being able to collaborate and share their work with a wider audience. 

Benefits for learning and teaching

Peter and his students identified a wide range of benefits for both teaching and learning as a result of using Teacher Dashboard and Google Apps. These include:

  • increased student collaboration
  • seamless learning between home and school
  • students giving specific feedback to each other
  • increased student engagement with improved student learning outcomes reflected in AsTTle writing results
  • easy teacher access to student work for monitoring student work, and providing guidance and feedback
  • simplified workflow, for example the "smart-copy" functionality enabled easy personalisation of activities for separate groups or students.

Understanding how Teacher Dashboard works

Hapara Teacher Dashboard is an add-on for Google apps for Education. It enables the principal and classroom teachers to manage the student learning environment. With a single sign-on, the teacher can access all the student files as these have automatically been shared with the teacher through pre-configured accounts.

Teacher dashboard provides a a snap-shot view of student activity across Google docs, Google sites, Blogger, Picasa, Gmail, and Google calendar. It helps teachers track engagement and improve student outcomes. Teachers can push out Google docs to their students and view all student work organised chronologically by class and by student.

Setting up and using Teacher Dashboard
A video explaining the step-by-step setup process and benefits for teachers in using this tool.


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