Using Technology in teaching KS4/KS5 Geography

I haven’t posted for a while due to the hectic nature of preparation for the new GCSE and A’level courses. Back in November however I gave a talk in London looking at Utilising Technology in Teaching KS4 and KS5 Geography and thought I would share the resources on here.

The handout can be downloaded here and has lots of direct weblinks and advice to support geography teachers in following up the ideas discussed.

The presentation given is below. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Revision Strategies and Support – in and beyond the classroom – Version 3 – 2016!

Rev SupportLast year, whilst still in my previous role as Lead Practitioner I wrote / compiled a document called “Revision Strategies in and beyond the classroom”. The aim was to bring together ideas for teachers with regards to planning activities for both within the classroom as well as those which could be used to support students with revision outside of the classroom. Whilst my role in school has changed, Teaching and Learning remains a central responsibility and I wanted to return to this document as we enter the new exam/revision season.

The hope was that the document could continue to be a live one which could be updated with suggestions of strategies that have worked well for practising teachers which they would be happy to share with others.

Lots of people have kindly made suggestions for good ideas to add and please do send feedback or other ideas of good practice which could be added to share with the education community. Here is Version 3 of the document, updated for the 2016 exam/revision season. As well as new revision ideas in Part 1, other updates, amongst others, include the use of Kahoot as a interactive response system and the use of Schoology as a way of providing an online course with revision materials for students.

You can download Revision Strategies and Support – in and beyond the classroom – Version 3 – 2016! here.

As with previous versions I would like to thank those people that have contributed, both from St Ivo and from the Twittersphere!

Please do email any feedback or suggestions to me (contact at side of blog). Ideas can also be sent via twitter to @RobGeog.



QuickKeyContinued formative assessment is an integral part of the work in our classroom and with the continuous development of new technologies there are various excellent apps and sites which can support staff with different types of assessment. One of my favourite tools is the Quick Key app.

Assessment of pupil progress in Quick Key enables quick assessment by using your mobile or tablet as a scanner which instantly marks students answers saving you time grading the papers which can be used instead to provide feedback and support student progress by identifying and tackling areas of weakness in knowledge and understanding. This allows you to focus your time on the students and doesn’t require students to have access to technology as the answers are completed on paper!

The short video below demonstrates Quick Key in action:

So how does Quick Key work?

You simply need to sign up on the website for a free account. Once your account is set up you can start adding students. This can be done manually or by importing student lists, for example as a .csv file. Once you have imported students you can then create classes and allocate students to the relevant classes.

You are then ready to create a Quiz – this can be up to 30 questions. You can insert your question and make it clear on your quiz, which of the answers is the correct one (i.e. multiple choice).  In terms of running the quiz you can read the questions out to the students and the options or have them on powerpoint slides.

In our department I have opted to create a quiz format sheet which has the questions by the side and the possible answers by the questions (where I am not using all the possible multiple choice options boxes are blanked out). 

Quick Key ticketStudents simply fill the answers in on the ‘exit ticket’ which can be downloaded from the site. I have incorporated this into the base of our quiz sheets.

Each student is allocated an ID number which they must add to their exit ticket. Once students have completed their tests, you can use the QK app on your phone or tablet to quickly scan each paper and the marks will be allocated to the relevant student. I have marked a set of 30 students in less than 2 minutes before!

I am particularly using this at the moment for frequent assessment of Year 10 and 11 students. The answers are marked within seconds so I can give students feedback within minutes which makes the whole process more useful. I then either go through the questions with the students and their papers and the just highlight the answer to the questions they got wrong or if at the end of the lesson I do this for them as my ‘marking’.

Results are saved for each students for each task so you can easily build up a continuous record of assessment – useful for a quick snapshot of student progress in between more extended end of unit tests.

Quick Key Export ShotThere are various options for exporting your results and you can also analyse your results e.g. by sorting according to mark (highest to lowest etc.)

Quick Key Screen Shots 1


Once you have created your classes and quizzes they are located easily on the Quick Key dashboard. You can easily re-use and assign quizzes to different classes and in our department we are working together to build a bank of department Quick Key assessments.

A more detailed account of the stages can be found on the excellent Sandagogy site here

Support Screen Shot


One of the things I have been really impressed with this tool is the level of support and commitment from the developers who will help whenever they can and are consistently looking to maximise and develop the app further. One of the founders, Walter Duncan (@4_teachers), an ex-teacher (who has only recently left the classroom after 15 years, to concentrate on the app) is full of enthusiasm and with a background in teaching he knows exactly what teachers need and how we can best help our students. The website has a support centre to request support including FAQ and a new Help Centre. The founders are however also keen to build up a community of users and there is a growing Quick Key Forum. There are many educationalists on twitter who are also sharing resources and ideas on the use of Quick Key in the classroom context. Likewise there is also a dedicated Quick Key Support twitter feed 


A few of us in the Geography community have been sharing quizzes through Anthony Bennett’s “Internet Geography” site and the examples of these quizzes can be found here, including a copy of the template I designed for our department. QuickKey

A guide on how to create an assessment using Quick Key guide can be found here

Simon Renshaw has also done some very interesting work looking at the use of hinge questions and the QuickKey app and his findings are here      

There is a Quick key facebook page so you can share with other colleagues  you think might be interested and remember, you can download the quickkey app from the itunes app store – full details available here.  

Exploring QR Codes in Education

Keen to continuing researching the use of new technologies in supporting students learning, I am particularly keen to look at the technologies which they are already familiar with including smart phones. Having entered the world of the iphone a couple of years ago I have since seen a huge growth in the number of students with some kind of smart phone. Although I have been aware of QR codes for a while I have never stopped to consider their potential uses in education until stumbling across some articles whilst doing some research for my AST role.

So what are QR codes?

A QR code is a barcode like logo which can be scanned by smart phones, tablets etc. These codes can contain a variety of information which they direct the user to once scanned, including weblinks and text.

There are already a variety of interesting articles on the use of QR codes in education:

QR codes in education

Can QR codes enhance student learning?

QR Codes in the classroom

QRC101 is an excellent resource site focusing on the use of QR codes in education with a whole series of links to articles, videos and presentations. There is a huge amount of information here and I have only just started exploring it.

I also found this very interesting ‘critical’ overview of QR Codes and Education ( which sparks debate and questions the value of QR codes and whether they are gimmicky rather than adding to the educational value. A very interesting read and something I am keen to respond to more when I have tried it for myself.

So where do I go from here?

I am keen to start trying out QR codes in the classroom, but don’t want to ‘force’ them into all my teaching so I am going to start with just a focus on the VI form and thinking about how I can use the codes to help the students connect more with their
learning and encourage them to read around the subject more. As a starting point I
have done the following:

(i) Year 12 – are currently working on river features along the course of the river and are going to be constructing A3 sheets for the Upper, Middle and Lower course with
detailed notes and diagrams on the formation of the associated features. QR
codes already embedded on the sheets links to photographs of the features.
These will also be used for homework to encourage students to describe features
from a photograph.

(ii) Year 13 are looking at the sustainable management of rainforests and tomorrow’s lesson will focus on looking at a range of strategies that can be used. It is important that the students become more critical and start to evaluate the strategies and QR codes have been embedded in the notes sheets that will be used in the lesson to a
range of articles providing different points of view on a number of management

I have also created an interactive display for my Year 11 form’s careers board with details of VI forms and colleges with QR codes providing direct links to prospectuses and websites from the display itself.

Other more general ideas to explore for the term ahead:-

  • · Interactive Geography in the News Wall display – pictures and headlines of major geographical news stories with associated QR codes linking to online news video clips, websites and further images.
  • · Interactive Revision Guides – to help ensure students have a fully integrated and interactive revision programme at GCSE. Current revision guides updated to include QR codes with links to the online resources, specific podcasts and where relevant model answers to exam questions.
  • Further Extension links in presentations used in A’level lessons to encourage students to undertake further background reading.
  • · Use of QR codes on information posters around school (thanks to mrjmutton for this idea)

A working list which will hopefully be updated as inspiration strikes!

There are undoubtedly a number of issues I am going to need to consider. What about students without smart phones? Am I getting over enthusiastic about something that will turn out to be just gimmicky? Or will it genuinely provide another way of encouraging students to interact and connect with their learning? I look forward to finding out!