About LightSpeed | Roger Turner | Pilot Study
Lightspeed Technologies, a MirandaNet associate, produce the Flexcat system that has been used at all MirandaNet events in the UK over the last two years. I am now looking for a couple of secondary school teachers and one primary school Y6 teacher (yourself or someone you know) who are highly experienced in and regularly organise small group collaborative learning who would be interested in trialling a prototype Flexcat for a four week period during this coming half term and in providing detailed evidence of the Flexcat's effectiveness and impact on student performance. This pilot will be supported by Profs Christina Preston and Marilyn Leask and will be a precursor to a more in-depth action research study that will take place in 2014-15 once the Flexcat design has been finalised.
What can you expect to learn?
The pilot team will share ideas about improving classroom management and formative assessment processes, raising individual student achievement, and the making of more efficient and creative use of lesson time and learning spaces.
More about this collaborative learning research
Each pilot school will be provided with a Flexcat system to test. The system is designed to aid effective small group collaborative learning and the company is keen for schools to volunteer to test the initial results from the first trials of the system that took place during the summer term. These have shown positive results on improved student understanding of tasks set, increased student on-task behaviour, improved formative assessment of student progress by teachers, and higher quality speech intelligibility when students feedback to the whole class. It was not possible to collect evidence of improved student attainment during the short trials that were undertaken but the positive indictors that have been identified would suggest likely improvements in this area over the longer term. Improved speech intelligibility allowing all students to hear clearly what is being said in classrooms has already been shown to particularly support SEND and EAL students and can be seen as an effective use of the Pupil Premium.
Results from the first Redcat trials
This new pilot follows on from a year long action research study I undertook in 14 West London schools when Lightspeed Technologies first introduced its Redcat infrared soundfield system into the UK in 2008. The results of the study were striking in demonstrating how by significantly improving all student’s ability to hear and understand teacher instructions and student contributions to lessons the first time they hear them then the working atmosphere is greatly enhanced leading to increased on-task behaviour, speedier task completion and improved student attainment. Teacher well-being was significantly improved with fewer sore throats and sickness absence and more time available to provide support to individuals and groups.
Some technical details
This new system, the Flexcat, is designed to complement rather than replace the Redcat. Those of you who have attended MirandaNet and MirandaMod events including BETT 13 and ITTE conferences over the last couple of years will have experienced the benefits of Lightspeed's Redcat audio distribution system that delivered high quality speech intelligibility to all parts of the seminar/workshop areas. The Flexcat has a range of operational modes including supporting instruction of the whole class; instructing, monitoring and re-directing individual small groups of students, including any group(s) located outside the classroom; and facilitating intelligible feedback from individual small groups to the whole class. The Flexcat system is still in development and the detailed feedback received from teachers and students both here and in the US who trialled the system last term have resulted in modifications to the equipment that will help enhance the support the equipment provides. Equally, feedback from these short trials will also provide evidence to the product design team who are anxious to end up with producing a product designed around the specific needs of teachers and students.
I look forward to hearing from you.