Friday, 3 November 2017

Key Points

The initial reaction to the post inquiry data was positive. I wasn't overly sure how students would respond to the idea of using 'voice typing' due to the low levels of efficacy. The data showed that students found the tool effective in helping them improve their self efficacy towards their writing. The positive response was overwhelming because of the huge risk I took introducing a new tool for students to use for an NCEA assessment.

Due to the increased self-efficacy within students writing, I saw an increase in overall results for the particular achievement standard I attached my inquiry to. To see a 16% increase in the overall pass rate from the previous year was extremely pleasing. After all, one of the main objectives of my inquiry was to help improve student outcomes.

A key point to note was the fact that the achievement standard did not require copious amounts of writing. The standard required students to reflect on what influenced their participation in the previous day's practical lesson. The forms of reflection only required a description and not any lengthy explanation, which suited using the tool 'voice typing'. However, if I was to use this tool for a different assessment that required critical explanations, I do not think that I would get the same outcomes.

Subjectively, as the year went on, I could personally see student's increasing their efficacy within their writing. However, I wanted to know if this was being transferred to other subject areas. The fact that students had faith in their writing in Physical Education was great to see, but ideally I wanted that skill to be transferable to other subject areas. Whether this has happened or not is for me to investigate.

A key point to note was the fact that student's with extremely low levels of self-efficacy found 'voice typing' difficult to use due to the added stress of the task. Student's who already did not have a lot of faith in their ability to construct a written piece on a document also found talking difficult. Due to their low self efficacy they found it hard to articulate words in order to use voice typing effectively. This small group found the task extremely difficult and consequently had little faith in using the tool.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Analysis of Results

Along with collecting data on the effectiveness of the tool, I also ask students to rate their confidence once the unit had been completed.

Comparing data from the start of the year to the end, shows an improvement in students having faith in their ability to complete written reviews.

When reviewing my results, I think back to the initial problems that I faced at the start of the year and to see a huge improvement in student self-efficacy despite the obstacles, has been pleasing.

With the increased belief in writing ability helped students achieve at the required curriculum level and improve on results from the previous year.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Student Feedback

While collating post inquiry data, I also got student thoughts about using voice typing.

“It was easier to get the work done and say what was on your mind instead of trying to find the words to explain what you mean.”

“It meant that I could have a conversation with Sir and the question was answered without me having to worry about writing stuff down.”

“I liked it how Sir talked to us and helped us get the answer we wanted for our assessment. Then it was recorded for us on our document.”

Overall, majority of my feedback was positive, outlining the benefits of using voice typing. The common theme to come out of this feedback was closely related to what I found in my research, which identified that talking is a far more natural way of communicating.

However, one major problem that was identified while using the tool was the background noise. Often words mentioned by someone in close proximity were detected and embedded on the document of the student using 'voice typing'.

“If you were in a crowded place it didn’t always pick up what you said and sometimes it wrote down a different word to what you were saying.”

Lastly, feedback suggested a select group of students found the tool difficult to use. I believe this was due to very low levels of self-efficacy. Because of their very low level of literacy, no matter how they gathered evidence for their task, they found it difficult to complete. This was a fear I had throughout my inquiry, as some of my students demonstrated extremely low levels of efficacy and to get them to show any belief in their writing was difficult.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Post Inquiry Data

At the conclusion of the unit I gathered post inquiry data. I wanted to see if the 'voice typing' tool had been effective from a student's perspective.

The outcome was positive, with 60% of student's preferring to use 'voice typing' over normal typing/writing on a document.

It was pleasing to see the increase in interest of the 'voice typing' tool over the course of the assessment. 53% of students initially thought that 'voice typing' was a preferable option compared to 60% at the conclusion of the assessment. From my opinion I base this increase of percentage on familiarity of the tool. Student's were hesitant at the start of the unit, because the tool was something completely new to them. But over the course of time, they started to become more familiar with the tool, which increased their self efficacy and their ability to complete the task using 'voice typing'. 

Friday, 11 August 2017

Using the Innovative Tool

Student's were finding it hard to adapt to the idea of using 'voice typing' for their assessment. When a new task is introduced, they tend to stick to what is comfortable instead of branching out of their comfort zone. This relates back to one of my initial problems I identified with my class, a lack of self-efficacy. Students had a lack of faith in their ability to use the tool to help them with their assessment. The irony here is that 'voice typing' was identified as a tool that was going to help those students who were reluctant writers. I believed that this was the right tool but students just needed a helping hand to get them started. At the start of the unit I had one-on-one conversations with students prompting them with questions that would help them gather evidence for their assessment. While I was having this conversation with each student, the 'voice typing' tool would capture our conversation.

Once the conversation was finished, students would edit any errors to make complete sentences. After doing this exercise a couple of times, students started to feel comfortable using the tool. They then started using the tool by themselves and found it relatively straight forward to use.

Those students who adapted to using the tool, often gave others help which made it a lot easier for me as the classroom teacher.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Initial Trial of Voice Typing

Soon after researching the effectiveness of voice dictation I decided to introduce it to my Year 11 PE class. As majority of the class were in favour of using 'voice typing' it was time to see if students could manage using the tool effectively. I gave them a quick demonstration and then let them experiment with the tool. The aim of the lesson was to become familiar with using the 'voice typing' tool so there were no problems when it came to using it for their assessment.

Below is an example of me using the 'voice typing' tool.

At the conclusion of this lesson I knew it was going to take some time for students to become familiar with using 'voice typing.' Like every new tool that is used, it does take time to adjust to the basic functioning and this was no different to my students. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Innovation Research

Due to majority of students being in favour of using 'Voice Typing,' I wanted to find out more information about the tool. While researching I realised that the tool was in it's initial stages and had only recently been developed. Google had released numerous voice typing/dictation extensions that could be used on a google document, but due to poor functionality a lot of people voiced their frustrations while using these tools. However, Google's Voice Typing has recently been added as an available tool within a document and can easily be accessed by anyone. Due to the tool being in it's trial phase, I decided to research how effective voice dictation/activation had been.


Speech recognition has been available for many years but due to better functionality, people are choosing to use the tool more frequently. 

With built-in software on smartphones and better functioning microphones on devices, more and more people are actively using voice commands. With the absence of keyboards and relative ease of communicating, people find the convenience of talking to a device a lot easier than typing. This is no different to what I have observed from my students. They are orally capable but struggle to put their thoughts down on paper/documents. For them talking is a far more natural way of communicating, as pinpointed by the quote above. Therefore I believe that using voice typing as a tool while I scaffold questions, would be a good way of capturing evidence for their assessments.  

Friday, 26 May 2017

Student's Thoughts

After our second gathering as MIT Spark innovative teachers, I started to become excited about the prospect of my inquiry. I used the time available at this gathering to discuss my issues and confirm my 'innovation' part of my inquiry. After this discussion I came away confident and had a clear picture of what my inquiry would look like.

Not long after this second meeting, I created a survey so I could gather student voice. Due to my inquiry being based on increasing self-efficacy in students writing, I wanted to know whether positive praise would improve this. Below is the data of this question.

As you can see, 73.3% of students agreed that positive praise would help increase their self efficacy in their writing. This is something that I will implement in my next unit with these students.

Secondly, the innovative part to my inquiry is using voice typing. Part of being an effective teacher is knowing 'the learner'. Based on my observations of my Year 11 class, I can conclude that majority of students can orally construct a sentence, however they struggle to put this on a document in writing. So using 'voice typing' as my innovation was an idea to help my students collect evidence for assessments. I surveyed my class and asked them, would speaking in to a document be more beneficial than writing. The data to this question is below.

Overwhelmingly, students thought that this would help improve work output compared to writing on a document. 53.3% yes, it definitely would help and 40% thought it could help somewhat. My next step in my inquiry is to implement both of these strategies in to my next unit of work.

Monday, 15 May 2017


On the 15th of May the MIT Spark innovative teachers met at Spark Headquarters to discuss the progress of their inquiry. Discussion at this gathering was based around how every individual has responded to the data that they collated.

This was a good chance for me to discuss the changes that I have made to my inquiry over the last couple of months. I discussed to the group how I reflected upon my data and this brought about a change to my whole inquiry. The inquiry I initially planned had no relevance to my data and I felt that the innovation part would not helped improve the issues I identified. So I explained that literacy was the biggest problem that I had identified within my class, therefore having to implement innovation to hopefully improve this issue.

The focus of this get together was the 'innovation' everyone was implementing in to their inquiry. I was still not clear on what I wanted to do in terms of my innovation. Due to focus being on improving self-efficacy in students writing, I had initially thought about voice comments. However, the feedback from the group on this application was not pleasing. With secondary school students being my focus, the tendency to click on the voice feedback will wear off after a certain amount of time, making it an ineffective tool.

Then someone suggested that voice typing could be a good option for reluctant writers. At this point and time I thought that this would be a great idea, especially for my students who struggle to get words down on their document. The innovative section of my inquiry had been decided and I felt really excited about how this could potentially help my students. The next step for me is to survey my students on how they thought about this idea.    

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Baseline Data

The target group for my inquiry is my Year 11 Physical Education class. The reason I chose this class is due to student perception that this subject is purely practical and involves no theoretical component. Therefore a lot of practical orientated students opt to take Physical Education due to the hands-on nature they experienced in junior school. Now, the presumption is that practical orientated students have lower literacy levels due to the nature of how they learn. So I wanted to gather some data in regards to literacy levels to see if this was true. The data I could draw on was each student's end of year E-AsTtle reading/writing results from 2016.


After reviewing this snapshot I realised the vast range of abilities in my class. Their literacy levels ranged from 2P to 5B which is 10 sub-levels. Being able to cater for a vast range of abilities is going to be a challenge but also bringing students writing up to speed to be able to achieve at Level 6 of the curriculum. I quickly concluded that there was a problem with writing among my students. There could be numerous reasons for such low literacy levels. The underlying reasons I have hypothesised are:

1. Underlying issues at home- home life/sickness/family issues- forces them to stay at home.
2. Psychological issues and lack of self confidence- because they are so far behind they don’t want to be at school.
3. Lack of support structures in place to help students progress-those with low literacy.
4. Low attendance rates lead to further drops in literacy levels.
5. Low attendance- Students miss out on key content to help with achievement outcomes.
6. Making resources visible and accessible.

Of the reasons that I have hypothesised, I believe that attendance is an issue that is beyond my control. I can follow all the necessary steps to help a student attend regularly but sometimes its beyond my help. What I can control in my class is building students self efficacy in their writing, making resources visible and attempting to put structures in place to help improve literacy levels. One aspect I have identified that is important in writing success, is students self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a persons belief they have in their ability to complete a task. I conducted a survey on my class and asked them how they rated their confidence in practical lessons compared to theory lessons. In this survey I used the term 'confidence' instead of 'self-efficacy because I did not want to confuse my students. If you are a confident in performing a task, you generally have high self-efficacy.

It is clear to see that students have a lot more confidence in practical lessons compared to the theoretical aspects of the course. I believe this is the reason students select Physical Education as an option in the senior school because of the practical component. Students are generally confident in their practical ability and can perform tasks with freedom. However, this confidence displayed in the practical environment of the gymnasiums is not transferred to the classroom. Students rate their confidence levels a lot lower when it comes to performing written tasks in the classroom. I believe this is because of the low self-efficacy they have in their writing. Students believe they lack the ability to complete written tasks. This can stem from previous occasions where they have had negative experiences with writing tasks which adds further doubt in their ability. So in order to increase student's self-efficacy I need to find innovative ways to help lift their self-belief in their ability to write confidently and with freedom.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Second Thoughts

After the initial get together as innovative teachers I was inspired by the discussions among the group. This got me thinking about what I can do to help overcome the problems faced at my school and in the community. I felt that my initial concept was too unrealistic and will require a lot of time and effort from both myself and my students to achieve.
I went back to the drawing board and tried to think of ideas that could derive from my initial concept. I still wanted to base my inquiry around my Level 1 Physical Education class and possibly tie it in to NCEA assessments. With the help of a colleague at school, who is experienced in the subject field and a competent user of digital technology, we bounced ideas off each other and finally came to a conclusion. Providing positive feedback on student work and blogs. Students lack the confidence to write what they perceive as correct due to the set backs they have received in the past. Students had constantly been critiqued about their writing and perceived this as a bad omen which dented their confidence. So I thought by providing only positive feedback hopefully it will help increase their confidence and efficacy in their writing. Being able to have confidence in their writing ability will inevitably help their chances of passing the course and going on the achieve NCEA Level 1.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Initial get together

Today was the first time we gathered as a group of innovative teachers. After the formal introductions, we presented our problems faced in our respective schools which helped form the basis of our inquiries. I outlined the problems faced at my school, which was poor student attendance, low literacy levels and a lack of self-efficacy in students ability to achieve. These problems stemmed from underlying issues at home, lack of support structures put in place by schools and previous failures associated with school work. As a group we identified many inter-related issues within our respective schools, which provided a perfect opportunity to bounce ideas off each other. After these discussions it has given me motivation to implement strategies to help my group of students be successful. I look forward to working with these like-minded people and improving student outcomes in 2017.