EzyEconomics is great for both students and teachers. It is a resourceful programme which supports teachers in teaching and enables structured learning for students.
The service accounts for 18% of my budget. Even though this is excellent value for money, the service has had several positive impacts on the economics of the department. The service has supported significant reductions in reprographic and textbook costs. These savings almost cover the cost of the subscription each year. It has also provided invaluable support to the economics department as it responds to the challenge of larger teaching groups.
What I think professionally:EzyEconomics provides a full support programme for teachers and students for their A-Level studies. For me, it is by far the most successful tool yet to help students transition into becoming more independent learners. It is also the most labour-saving that I have come across to date. We have fully embedded EzyEconomics into our Schemes of Work for this year for flipped learning, ongoing assessment/tracking of progress, revision of Year 1 materials and encouraging independent study. Students have preparatory tasks set which have to be completed before their first class of the week. This generally consists of taking notes from one or two EzyEconomics lecture videos and frequently a related assessment task to check their understanding. These notes are consolidated with tasks and discussion during class to fill gaps, extend and apply their knowledge. The flipped learning element also means that we can extend their analytical and evaluative skills more rapidly and effectively in class.For Year 2 students, the End of Module assessments are set periodically to aid their understanding and recall of Year 1 material. In all cases, it is the immediate explanatory feedback and ability to retest themselves (and generally see rapid success) that I believe has and will continue to make the biggest difference to their knowledge base for the subject.After discussion with students, I have found that the site quickly becomes familiar and trusted – a vital element in them becoming more independent in their use of the site.
It is also easy to navigate and well laid out; students can use the module titles to find areas of the syllabus that they want to review/preview as they closely follow the specification titles. Trust and familiarity get them onto the site but it is their own recognition of their progress that gives them confidence and makes them return.
Personal reflections: The changing nature of the environment meant that I had to find new ways to work. Rising class sizes and a growing department mean that I can no longer be students’ focus for information/help/learning/feedback.
The last few years prior to using EzyEconomics found me exhausted and very much on the verge of stress related illness; by the time exam season rolled around, I was running on adrenaline to get the kids through. I was beginning to think that I had to find a way out of education – a job that I love, but one which was becoming unmanageable.
This is a platform that I can put at the centre of my practice. It means that class time can be used for extension activities, applications of theory, things to really inspire learners. I spend more time planning effective lessons because routine assessment and tracking is taken care of and so easily monitored. It gives me evidence of success and also lack of engagement which then brings in the pastoral system and parental support in a more focussed way (it’s very useful to show at parents’ evenings).
Having embedded it fully, I’ve found that there is more time for meaningful discussion during class time and more students are engaged as they have a foundation of knowledge and some confidence as a consequence.
Specific Student Experiences
Student O openly stated that, particularly in the more technical areas of the course, he needed more time to process the information to “get it into [his] head”. Having the ability to update and amend class notes by reviewing lecture videos (sometimes two or three times) meant that he had the ability to “keep up with the rest of the class”. He improved his AS exam by 3 grades, exceeding his aspirational target grade by one in his full A-Level exam.
Student C had a voracious appetite for learning and was willing from the start of the course to spend long hours in the Library to improve on his aspirational target grade. In Year 1, much of his work lacked focus, however. In Year 2, and with the help of EzyEconomics, he was able to work in a much more focussed way, leading him to again exceed his ATG by one grade.
Student D had largely given up on Economics after Year 1 as “too difficult”. She would often say that she’d be happy if she got a C grade by the end of Year 2. I gave her structured work on EzyEconomics and challenged her to keep working on assessments until she had at least 70% in them. She saw the rapid progress, loved the immediate feedback providing her with a clear learning point and worked beyond my schedule, buoyed by her successes. She achieved an A grade in A-Level Economics.