“ Nelson Thornes / Learning site for teacher-student communication, such as setting tasks and homework „
I have been using Kerboodle in Spanish with my Spanish Year 10 and 11 classes since publication. The GCSE had changed and I needed to move on from the book I had been using in order to teach new topics in the new specification as well as manage controlled assessments. After a few hiccoughs, which our IT and Nelson Thornes resolved, all pupils have access to the book. I am no techno expert but it is easy to use! I access the listening and reading papers on an almost weekly basis. The great thing is that with the same topic, both a foundation and a reading paper can be done at the same time. Not only are there several per chapter but also a useful one per Context in GCSE style. It would be useful to have a marks to grade conversion though. The listening works in the same way. Additionally, the transcripts can be saved and then adapted so they make great gapfills or reading comprehensions. I have saved some of my power points to the programme and have also used grammar tests at homework and checked marks and completion through the 'Big Brother' system! There have been a few glitches but whenever I have pointed these out these have been corrected within days. I renewed my subscription last year and will be doing so again. I have a pupil who has been absent from some time but I know can still access the course and all the skills. Great for Year 11 revising when listening has always been something they have less practise in. The pupils seem to enjoy the course and the content has led to interesting discussions.
We have spent hours trying to set up meaningful access to kerboodle for our students and have decided that it is really not worth the hassle. Firstly, just setting up student accounts is needlessly complicated for anyone who does not have fantastic computer skills - login itself is more complicated than it need be as an organisation code is demanded as well as the conventional user name and password. For some reason, this is not the centre number, which would make much more sense. Nelson Thornes would have done well to follow the best in the industry rather than try to come up with their own systems. Overall ease of administration therefore 2/10.
The students themselves have not enjoyed accesing the online resources. I think that this is a shame as they look appealing first-off, but there you go. Perhaps they will use it as a revision tool, as otherwise we have bought a rather expensive white elephant. Student appeal therefore 1/10
I personally have an issue with the audio files, which appear to have been submitted by people that have totally lost the will to live - they sound so bored it is almost riduculous, and some of the voices grate horribly. The least that NT could have done is to have employed peole who sound enthusiastic about the languages! As it is, the class spend more time grimacing at women apparently pretending to be boys and other "actors" seemingly trying to make themselves sound fifteen sandwiches short of a fruitcake. Content is good, delivery awful. Audio resources 0/10
The textbook itself is fine as a higher-level reference manual, but the online stuff is not worth the salt.No wonder they chose a silly name. My suggestion is to stick with a decent alternative such as Listos and differentiate the content to suit the new specification.
Kerboodle is an internet site created by Nelson Thornes, who also produce books for learning certain courses, such as Computing, at various levels. When a school signs up to the service, they are able to communicate through messages to students and set tasks and homework. There are a variety of types of tasks to be set, some of which can be done online, others can be downloaded for later use.
Whilst using the site for my Computing A-Level on the AQA syllabus, my teacher has encountered a few problems, such as incorrect answers on answer sheets or broken links. The teacher contacted Nelson Thornes, who corrected the mistakes made. Other problems include problems with student sign-ins, where occasionally the bar in the top corner has a different student name to the person who is actually logged in. So far this has not been corrected fully, but i believe Nelson Thornes are working on it.
Kerboodle works on a subscription basis, which is usually paid for by the School in Question.
The good thing about Kerboodle is that you can access it from any PC with an internet connection, so you can view your assignments from home or teachers can set assignments from anywhere at any time.
Also, the courses come mostly from the textbooks, so you can leanr from both and use the textbook for help on interactive activities.
A word of warning would be to make sure you have the number or e-mail address of the techical difficulties dept. to let them know of anything that needs to be double checked.
Overall this is a really good idea and well worth thinking about if you are a teacher interested in using this service for interactive learning.