October 1st, 2015

Digital Tools for Maths and English

Digital Learning Community of Practice in September 2015 – Using digital technology to support Maths and English

Digital Learning Community of Practice

About the Event #DigiLearnForum :

On Friday 25th September, Prospects College of Advanced Technology (PROCAT) hosted the Digital Learning Community of Practice for the sharing of effective practice between Colleges, Sixth Form Colleges, FE Colleges, Independent providers, HE, Schools, Employers and other interested parties.

The group meets every calendar month. The events are free to attend. Attendees are welcome from all locations.

The theme each month links to activity taking place at the college, as part of the Digital Learning fellowship. It enables PROCAT to share effective practice and to learn from others. Together, schools, colleges and universities can tackle issues they are experiencing around a particular subject and share things that are working well and lessons learned.

Digital Learning Community of Practice

The next event will be held on Thursday 22nd October. The theme for October’s Community of Practice is using digital technology for accessibility and inclusion.Click here for details.


The Digital Learning Community of Practice works in partnership with:


Microsoft for Education


Padlet Wall

A padlet wall is available to share resources on the theme of digital tools for maths and English. You are welcome to use, share and add to this Click here to view.

Digital Learning Community of Practice

Account Managers, Catherine Bone and Malcolm Bodley from JISC started the morning with an excellent presentation sharing a range of useful resources.

Digital Learning Community of Practice

You can view the presentation on the padlet wall or click here to view. Please click to see the slides on a range of maths and English resources. It’s well worth working through the links.

Digital Learning Community of Practice

Learning Technology Adviser, Dawn Buzzard from The Education and Training Foundation presented on the work of The Foundation, latest projects and a host of useful links and resources related to English and Maths.

Digital Learning Community of Practice

Please view the presentation on the padlet wall or Click here to download the powerpoint presentation.

Digital Learning Community of Practice

Next to take the stage was Piers Saunders from the University College London, Institute of Education and David Jennings from Citizen Maths. Please view the presentation on the padlet wall or click here to read.

Citizen Maths is a free Level 2 Maths course. It is the level that a 16-year old school leaver is expected to achieve. Citizen Maths is for anyone who feels their maths skills are rusty. It is ideal for students, employers, employees, apprentices and teaching staff.

Citizen Maths can be studied as a whole course or you may want to refer students to sections of the course and link this in with other study units. You can view all the videos on the Citizen Maths YouTube channel which will give you a good flavour of the kind of real life, practical problems it teaches.

Digital Learning Community of Practice

Above, shows David Jennings showing the four ways that the maths course is taught – though short instructional videos provided by experienced tutors; through the tutors writing to the camera; via screencasts and through applets. Applets offer an on-screen manifestation of the mathematical concepts involved, intended to help the student see the mathematical idea in a concrete way, prior to working in more detail on the computational aspects of the idea.

Why not have all your students enrol in Citizen Maths? It’s free, it’s practical, it’s interactive, it’s easy to use and it relates to real life scenarios, such as making recipes, shopping for the best buys and making calculations needed in every day life.

Digital Learning Community of Practice

Next to take the floor was Gayle Peachey from Harlow College who have created a gem of an app called GEM (Generic English and Maths). I recommend you sign up your institution today and have all your students signed up and using the app daily, just as they do at Harlow. It’s so quick and easy to use and extremely effective. For learning English, a student chooses a topic: capital letters, homophones, apostrophes or grammar. The student chooses a news subject from world news, education, science, entertainment and so on.

The app pulls the latest news article from a leading news site, relating to the topic chosen and strips out all the capital letters out of the article or all the apostrophes or homophones etc. The student has to correct the passage and clicks submit for a mark. If the student receives full marks, they gain a gem. The app shows the correct answers and shows the article so that the student can click and read.

Harlow students are tasked with using the app every day. It’s an ideal way to start a lesson and embed maths and English into every lesson. Every student receives a different article, because they are all clicking at slightly different times and it’s a great way to engage students in news stories whilst developing their skills. GEM is free. Sign up here. If you are a Student or Staff member, click ‘register’, type your email, name, password and choose your institution (Prospects College of Advanced Technology) and click register. You’ll receive an email to verify your details and then you can login straight away. I recommend you ask all your students to register and ask them to use this daily.

Digital Learning Community of Practice

Students can choose either English or Maths at login. The maths app provides a series of calculations to work out. Students choose from BIDMAS, Multiples, Factors, Currency or Averages.

Digital Learning Community of Practice

Last but not least, Sam Butler from Adult Community Learning at Essex County Council provided an introduction to Padlet, Lino-It, Screencast-O-Matic, YouTube and Skype. Quick start guides to using these tools will be available soon. You can view Sam’s padlet wall on the DigiLearnForum padlet wall.


Below is a Storify story collating many of the social networking messages about the Digital Learning Forum held on Friday 25th September 2015.



If you have any questions about the Digital Learning Community of Practice, please contact Katharine Jewitt, Digital Learning Fellow on email Katharine.Jewitt@procat.ac.uk


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This PROCAT Digital website is produced to report on activity from the Digital Learning Fellowship at PROCAT Prospects College of Advanced Technology, funded by The Education and Training Foundation.