After three months of hard work, version 1.0 of the Schoolshape Language Lab software has been released! The Schoolshape team is working continuously on improvements and new features to help with the language learning process.
No Usernames: Teachers and students no longer have a username. Everyone now has to log in using their own names. A drop-down guesses the name after 4 characters have been typed in. Identical names within a school are differentiated on the drop-down.
Create Resources: The previous format of 'Set work using X, students must do Y' has been replaced by a more comprehensive, flexible system of creating resources. This allows the teacher to use any combination of stimuli and student responses, including pictures and multiple choice answers. It is, of course, still possible to set a simple audio or video recordings or a basic text response.
File Resources: Resources that the teacher has created are now stored in 'My Resources' under 'My Work', where they can be selected for re-use. Other resources can be selected from the Library to be used or modified.
Automatic Marking: Multiple choice questions are automatically marked and scores for each section of a task are automatically totted up.
Live Overview: From this new screen, the teacher can view, in real time, the progress of students as they complete a task. From 'My Work', select a task and choose 'Live Overview'.
Bookmarks: Students can now set bookmarks as they listen to audio and video stimuli to help them navigate back and forth through the recording.
We welcome your feedback - please contact us if you have any suggestions.
From 9-13 November 2009, five induction meetings were held on the subject of 'Common Entrance MFL Speaking Tests: Alternative to cassette recording using online system'
The hosts were Lockers Park School, Pangbourne College, St Mary's School, Downe House and St Paul's School. The agenda included a short demonstration of Schoolshape Examination Entry, followed by a practical ICT session. These meetings were attended by language teachers from 40 prep schools.
From 5-9 October 2009, induction meetings were held at Sherborne School, Epsom College, Wellington College, Roedean School and Forres Sandle Manor School. Representatives from 42 prep schools attended these meetings.
At the June 2009 induction meeting, hosted by Charterhouse, 22 prep schools were represented.
A pilot group of 8 prep schools took part in the Schoolshape trial scheme. Its aim was to update and streamline the recording of the MFL Speaking Tests by replacing cassette tapes with a custom-made, online system. The junior schools were: Brighton Prep, Caldicott, Homefield, Chafyn Grove, Cheam, Eaton Square, Locker's Park and St.Philip's.
These schools used the Schoolshape Examination Entry for their mock examinations and speaking practice from January. During this time, they gave feedback with suggestions for modifications. The Pilot Scheme culminated in the CE Speaking Tests of May 2009.
During the examination week, 165 successful recordings were made and a total of 13.98 hours of audio recorded at CD quality. They were submitted online to 34 senior schools: Ampleforth, Bedford, Bradfield, Brighton College, Bryanston, Canford, Charterhouse, Clayesmore, Dauntsey's, Downehouse, Downside, Dulwich, Epsom, Eton, Ewell Castle, Harrow, King's Canterbury, King's Wimbledon, Marlborough, Pangbourne, Radley, Repton, Roedean, Sherborne, Sherborne Girls' , St.Alban's, St.Edwards, St.John's Leatherhead, St.Mary's Calne, Stowe, St.Paul's, Wellington, Westminster and Worth.
Comments of the senior school moderators:
"Our experience of using the Schoolshape system this year has been a very positive one. It is a very clear, straightforward and easy system." Harrow
"I have just submitted the online moderation and found it very easy to use. The recordings were clear and it was simple to use the cursor to locate different parts of the exam.This system is a huge improvement over the use of cassettes. It is certainly more efficient and I would have thought has considerable benefits for prep schools and senior schools." Pangbourne
"Just completed first online evaluation. What fun! It was fabulous. No more fiddling around trying to find the right cover sheet, or the correct audio track etc. Clear information, good recording. More of the same please!" Roedean
"As a receiving Senior School, we were impressed with the simplicity and efficiency of the Schoolshape system and would certainly encourage other prep schools to use this method of submission in place of the recordable CD system currently utilised." Ewell Castle
"This system is an excellent intiative, SO much easier than unwrapping cassettes and sending them back. I hope this becomes the norm in future" Radley
"The system was great and would save a lot of hassle if all schools submitted orals in this way!" Canford
"A lot easier, and the sound quality is much better too. Can we encourage everyone to use it?" Dauntsey's
"The recordings sound fine and I had no trouble accessing them.The website is really good and makes it much easier for me to moderate." Bedford
"The site is very nicely designed and easy to use and a digital system is potentially a much less cumbersome process for all concerned." Sherborne Girls'
"I have moderated the two centres who used this facility and found it easy and effective. Would be very happy if it were used more frequently." St.Paul's
"The scheme worked well for us (one student only) and we would be happy to use it again." Ampleforth
"I did find the software very useful and easy to use." Dulwich College
"I am sure that the online moderation of Common Entrance speaking tests will be infinitely smoother with this new system." Downe House