Workshop 1 – Sarah Holmes

Photo of me for websiteThe second presentation was given by Sarah Holmes, a GCSE English tutor at People and Business Development, (PBD), an independent training provider who in recent years have been successfully developing the use of digital technology in offering Early Years qualifications through distance learning and who now offer a GCSE English qualification delivered entirely through online learning.

Since September 2104 a C grade GCSE English qualification has been a mandatory requirement for  all learners completing the Level 3 Diploma for Early Years Educators and so the development of an engaging and effective programme of online support with English has been a challenge that Sarah’s company has had to address.

Sarah took up her post at PBD in January 2015 and has been exploring the use of a variety of authoring tools to create her online materials. Whilst the age profile of her learners tends to be 20+ and tend to be female, Sarah explained that many of the challenges and benefits of creating digital resources for her learners are the same as those faced by English teachers generally in the post 16 sector. For example, some key features of digital resources such as the use of video, instant learner feedback and 24/7 access reflect the nature of 21st century learning and are likely to engage younger adult learners. Sarah also noted that online materials can be really valuable in providing effective support with skills in spelling, punctuation and grammar and developing these skills offers a particular challenge since the number of marks for SPAG rose to 20%. In the video below Sarah talks about the value of using digital resources to develop these underpinning skills –

In the video Sarah noted some of the different tools that she has used in developing her integrated, online programme –


GoconqrSarah uses the GoConqr website to create a range of online resources to present information and comprehension activities. Quizzes can be presented using a wide variety of question formats such as –

  • multiple choice
  • gap fill
  • drag and drop
  • true or false
  • drop down menus

These different question formats can be used within a quiz to add variety and to hold the learner’s interest. Sarah particularly highlighted the drag and drop feature which can be used to create activities that involve learners in annotating a text e.g. to practise recognising language features. Click below to watch a video in which Sarah talks about her use of GoConqr –

Powerpoint Office Mix & Edpuzzle

In order to create her online video lessons Sarah combines the use of two tools, Powerpoint Office Mix and Edpuzzle to record a screencast and then insert questions so that it becomes an interactive resource for learners, gives learners feedback on their progress and also gathers data on their performance for the teacher. In the video below you Sarah demonstrates both of these tools and highlights the benefits of these kind of resources –

Other tools

flipsnackTo add variety and different levels of functionality to her online resources Sarah also regularly other tools such as Flipsnack, Padlet, Powtoon and X mind. These and all the other tools mentioned above are summarised in a Flipsnack ‘flipbook’ resource that Sarah created to support her presentation

As a final example of how these various tools can be combined to create a varied and interactive online resource click this link which will take you to a video Sarah has created to support her learners with transactional writing –

i spring video