Pearson Edexcel ActiveTeach review
The concept of electronic courseware connected to an examination board is nothing new; the online learning service Kerboodle has been supporting the AQA exam board for a long time with an almost identical product. However, expectations for ActiveTeach are high.
ActiveTeach is essentially an electronic version of a course textbook, available for French, German and Spanish, and includes a wealth of additional learning and assessment material for classroom or self-study. The main advantage of the electronic format is that students can log on in the ICT suite and instantly access resources for the class.
The material was first published just three years ago. The layout is clean and easy on the eye, and learning goals are carefully sequenced through a series of activities and exercises. Sections of pages, including individual tasks and exercises, can be enlarged on screen and worked on away from the rest of the page, and teachers and learners alike can add their own page notes, bookmarks and so on as they work.
ActiveTeach also has audio files embedded in the pages at the point of each exercise, which can be accessed with the click of a button, as can the accompanying worksheets. This also extends to video files, giving learners access to engaging media.
Sadly, there’s one aspect that’s lacking: assessment. Most of the activities and worksheets are Word documents that need printing or saving to send to the teacher, who is then left with the inevitable pile of marking. There’s no capability to submit an interactive form for immediate feedback.
Cost is always going to be a major factor for teaching materials, and while ActiveTeach is fresh right now, reinvestment in new versions will be required. Compare the cost of this against an annual subscription to Kerboodle, for example, and MFL departments may decide that the cheaper subscription is the better option, particularly as Kerboodle will also keep the material and media files updated.
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