On HOTmaths teachers can set and manage activities for students to complete via the ‘Task Manager’. When students log on they are directed automatically to the activities set by the teacher. Teachers can see when students have completed tasks and how they have done.
Task Manager was built in direct response to feedback from teachers who wanted to direct student activities while not limiting what it is that students can see and do on the site at any given time. Other programs “lock” the site down when students are doing set tasks, stopping students from having access to any sections of the site except the task screen. On HOTmaths, students are able to pursue their interests without limit. They can review earlier work, see where today’s learning will take them next year and the year after – see that the mathematics they are learning about today sits in a continuum of learning and is not just an isolated concept with no links to other learning.
HOTmaths created a Task Manager that does not limit student movement on the site but rather provides guidance and direction. Teachers can set tasks by selecting elements of any lesson or using whole lessons; can attach messages to each task and can assign tasks to whole classes or individuals or groups within a class. When they log on, students are immediately presented with the set task and teachers are provided with immediate and detailed results of students work done on each task. Since its introduction we have seen Task Manager being used in a range of exciting ways – in classrooms, in computer labs and for homework.
Teachers experimenting with the ‘flipped classroom’ are using Task Manager to set homework activities that include discovering new concepts through experimenting with interactive widgets; working through a guided walk-through of a new lesson where concepts are broken down into simple stages that are question-checked for understanding at every stage; or reading lesson notes. This allows teachers to use class time to be the ‘guide by the side’ rather than the ‘sage on the stage’. In the classroom, teachers can use Task Manager again t set tasks based on students’ individual grasp of the concept – allowing the teacher to teach to each student’s ability. And because Task Manager provides instant feedback and results, the teacher can spend all their time working with students on what they are having problems with as there is no need to check what students have got right.
Teachers who prefer a more traditional approach are using interactive widgets to introduce concepts in the classroom and working with their classes on lesson notes and walkthroughs in class. These teachers use Task Manager to set topic quizzes and Scorcher drill and practice for homework; homework which is marked and for which reports are automatically generated so that the teacher can immediately see which students need extra help with what topics and lessons.
Whether you are experimenting with flipping your classroom or not, HOTmaths Task Manager is perfect for managing and measuring student activity, freeing up more teacher time for helping students grasp and apply new concepts.