ReallySchool allows teachers, TAs and parents to track progress of children using video, picture and sound recording. The app also allows staff to add notes and explanations, helping parents better understand their child’s learning journey.
Aimed specifically at the early years and primary setting, ReallySchool comes preloaded with all current assessment criteria for early years and primary schools in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Downloading the app is quick and easy and after signing up, observations can start almost instantly. The app is designed to work with pre-existing databases so you can import students and staff from your school’s MIS system via a CSV file, using Wonde integration or alternatively, you can manually add staff and students.
This manual method isn’t remotely labourious. The simple-to-use tabs allow you to input information on individuals (students and staff) and assign them to groups or classes.
The primary feature of the app is the easy and effective recording of students’ activity. You can create observations from most common smart devices (an iPad or Android tablet, or with a Windows/Mac computer) meaning that there is likely to be minimal additional hardware required.
What is particularly special is that you can support your observations and reporting with visual evidence. You can attach pre-existing photos or capture new, live ones straight from your device as work or activities are being completed.
Staff can then add voice notes to an observation, giving essentially a live commentary as it happens. These notes can be played back by staff and can work as a brilliant training resource, or they can be shared with parents to encourage engagement.
The app is a good way of breaking down barriers between school and home by including the parent in what their child is doing at school, especially if the child isn’t often sharing their day.
In addition, commentaries are helpful for those who are less accustomed to primary schooling as well as those with English as an additional language.
ReallySchool also records video files which can be added to an observation. This is helpful for clearly evidencing your assessment judgements. Similarly to the pictures, video files can also be played back by staff and shared with parents.
The app allows staff to share achievements and progress of selected items with parents – all with a single click.
In addition, parents can keep track of their child’s progress via the observations timeline, with filter options allowing quick access to the information needed. Parents can also print their child’s journal or share with family and friends straight from the app.
The app gives access to all current assessment criteria for early years settings and primary schools in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Staff can use these in-built frameworks to assess learning on the go.
It is possible to view reports to see student attainment and progress against these curriculum statements on the app itself, meaning that workload is significantly reduced.
The streamlined reporting interface allows staff to gain a clear overview of pupils’ progress via the Class Report grid. This shows the number of observations captured per assessment point for each child in the class, so you can see where more attention is required.
Navigating the content is simple and intuitive. You can simply select the view you need by filtering by subject or categorising by assessment area – or view assessment coverage as an easy-to-visualise heatmap.
This quick access means that as a teacher or TA, you can intervene with learning significantly more effectively as you are informed more readily. All of the Class Reports are available in-app, enabling you to monitor student attainment and observation coverage on the go, live, as the lesson is taking place.
Leading on from this, ReallySchool allows you to be generally more informed about the pupils in front of you. The app has a detailed student view, which is accessible anywhere a student is present.
This is particularly useful to teachers and TAs when they are planning or capturing the next observation for a student. The detailed student view offers a summary for the student which includes the observations and assessments already captured and applied.
You are looking for a way to track student progress and collect evidence of successes. Especially helpful if you have a number of shared classes or class teachers who take more than one class. Also consider if you are looking to engage parents with what their children are doing at school.
For more information go to reallyschool.com.
Reviewed by Adam Riches
Back-to-School Survival Kit – Teacher Edition