In preparation for the new computing curriculum coming to schools in September 2014, OCR and top-rated adaptive learning technology firm CogBooks are working together to change how the pioneering school Cambridge GCSE Computing MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) can be used.
Since its launch in 2013, over 100,000 users across the world have accessed the MOOC, which was developed by OCR in collaboration with Cambridge University Press and Raspberry Pi, and based on OCR’s GCSE Computing curriculum.
From September, the addition of adaptive learning technology will allow every student to progress through the MOOC in a way which suits their individual needs. The technology constantly analyses a student’s activities and then uses algorithms to recommend the most helpful next step for them. The ‘personalised’ Computing MOOC supports teachers by providing them with in depth analysis of each student’s progress and helps learners move at their own pace.
Christine Swan, Director of ICT and Enterprise at The Stourport High School and Sixth Form Centre, commented: “As the teaching of Computing becomes mandatory in state maintained schools from September 2014, many teachers are keen to find quality resources to support learning. It is essential that students can demonstrate independence and progress in their studies. While the MOOC is a fantastic development, this new system will allow students to work through concepts at their own pace and will either accelerate or reinforce concepts until competence has been demonstrated through adaptive testing. Teachers will also be able to track the progress of their students.”
Liam Sammon, OCR’s Director of Education and Commercial Services, said: “We firmly believe that teachers are the guardians of education and should be at the heart of implementing the opportunities this technology can bring to the secondary age learner. Not every young person has access to high quality computing teaching, so the MOOC can support these young people as well as teachers.”
Jim Thompson, Chief Executive of Cogbooks and a former Research Fellow in Physics at Cambridge University said: “We share OCR’s commitment to making the latest advances in learning technology available to a mass audience. CogBooks was founded with the aim of bringing scientific methods to online learning. We do this by creating learning experiences and technology based on sound research and providing teachers with the data to inform how they support their students.”
Liam Sammon continued: “This brings technology more often associated with the U.S. university sector to the school sector and being free of charge, this will benefit young people and teachers across the globe. Teachers and students from 128 countries – ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe - have registered to date and we expect this to increase significantly this September with the new functionality and content.”
OCR was recently recognised in a DfE report (‘MOOCs: opportunities for their use in compulsory-age education’) as one of the few providers currently offering a MOOC for secondary age learners. CogBooks was most highly rated in a recent report on Adaptive Learning commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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