A seamless solution
With a reputation for digital excellence, innovation is at the heart of teaching and learning in TCAT schools. Discovery Education is a trusted technology partner for the trust, as head of education David James explains:
“When it comes to technology, we are very much a forward-thinking trust. We’ve used Discovery Education for many years and are very happy with upgraded Espresso…From a senior leader’s point of view, one of the best things about Espresso is the ease of use…For the children, everything is in one place, helping them stay focused with no distractions or wasted time”
A new experience
The upgraded Espresso is delivered through Discovery Education Experience – a brand-new platform which combines Espresso’s high quality digital content with customisation, creation and collaboration tools. Year 4 teacher Dale Lawson says the new platform makes it easier to access resources than ever before:
“The upgraded Espresso is incredibly easy to use and the digital content is great. It has a very simple layout and I can find everything I need for a lesson quickly. The search function is excellent and you can search by subject and theme. If I’m looking for Augmented Reality resources, for example, it gives me lots of relevant content. It’s intuitive and it saves time”
Espresso’s high-quality learning resources are now grouped into resource collections called ‘Channels’, making it easier than ever to find content to enrich lessons. Teachers at TCAT particularly like the videos, as Dale Lawson explains:
“I use Espresso as a starting point and the videos are great for this. If we’re learning about full stops for example, I’ll begin by showing the children an Espresso video on the whiteboard. It’s a much more engaging and interactive way of learning”
Tracking pupil progress
Checking pupils’ understanding is easy with Espresso, thanks to a series of built-in tools such as individual log-ins and subject quizzes. Teacher Dale Lawson says this helps him to see if children need extra support or challenge.
“Espresso has so many different resources to support learning and the built-in quizzes are a great way of evaluating all of that information to see if they’ve understood. We can check if a child has paid attention to a video, read a text or listened in class. The Espresso quizzes help us to consolidate learning effectively and revisit areas if we need to”
The new platform includes a feature called Classrooms, which makes it easy to assign lessons individually and keep track of what pupils have done. This increased visibility makes it easier for Dale and his colleagues to measure pupil progress.
“Being able to see what the children have accessed is a real benefit. Today it’s almost a necessity in terms of tracking pupil progress, especially during remote learning. It is incredibly helpful to have this evidence, to see who has accessed what and for how long. There are lots of tools built into Espresso to give that insight. It’s great for supporting home learning”
As well as being able to track pupil progress, upgraded Espresso helps teachers to differentiate learning, by assigning tasks according to ability. One of the benefits of this is that every child feels supported, as Year 2 teacher Deborah Hosford explains:
“Espresso helps us to differentiate learning within a single lesson. There are lots of activities for the different ability ranges. It’s really helpful to be able to assign these and navigate children to the right place. Because pupils work on their own screens, they aren’t necessarily aware of what other children are doing. The work is differentiated on their device, so I can be sure it’s at exactly the right level for them”
Creating amazing lessons
Schools can also assess pupils’ understanding using Studio – a new, flexible tool for teachers and pupils alike. Studio allows teachers to create lessons and presentations using Discovery Education resources or their own materials, while pupils can create boards to display their understanding. Deborah Hosford uses Studio to share and assign lessons to individual pupils.
“One of the things I really like about upgraded Espresso is the Studio tool. In Year 2 we are learning about habitats. There is a really nice Studio presentation called ‘Living, Dead or Never Alive’ which I assign to my higher ability pupils, enabling them to work independently and do their own research. I use Studio to create lessons for the rest of the class, using Espresso resources differentiated according to ability. There’s a lovely interactive sorting activity which the children all enjoy”
Teachers can also add their own content in Studio, giving them a personalised resource hub. Studio saves time and provides much needed flexibility, as Dale Lawson explains,
“Studio is really flexible because you can add resources from elsewhere, though we have everything we need within Espresso. There are so many strong videos, pictures, text and different articles that we don’t really need to grab things from elsewhere”
Taking learning beyond the classroom
With a vast library of real-world content and resources, Espresso extends children’s learning. And at a time when trips and visits are restricted, it also brings the outside world into the classroom.
“Usually we have resources shipped in from museums but that hasn’t been possible recently. To have a central bank of digital resources which broaden our pupils’ horizons has been so helpful” – Jack Allen
Relevant and current
Espresso’s content is constantly updated with new resources, helping teachers keep pace with curriculum changes and world events. For Year 2 teacher Deborah Hosford, this is key.
“The Channels in Espresso are full of relevant information. New content is coming online all of the time so it’s easy to link learning to what’s happening in the wider world. We enjoy watching the weekly Newsbites service and doing the quizzes. It’s something the children really look forward to”
Bringing teaching and learning to life
One year into using upgraded Espresso, TCAT’s teachers say that it provides a seamless solution, equipping them with the content, tools and resources to bring teaching and learning to life.
“We’ve used Discovery Education for some time and the upgraded Espresso is better than ever. The addition of the Studio tool, being able to assign lessons and having your class built in so that you can individually set work for each student is really powerful” – Dale Lawson
For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit the Discovery Education website.