A Curipod Case Study By Aileen Wallace

Below is an excerpt from the #1 best selling book The AI Classroom

Before I can explain to you the metamorphosis that has occurred in my teaching as a result of Curipod, I need to introduce you to a couple of people. First of all, please welcome the Spring of 2020 version of me. There I am, like so many teachers, staring at my computer screen at home, trying to work out how the hell to make online teaching work. Microsoft teams has become the bane of my life and I regularly swing from tears to tantrums with a speed that a three-year-old would be proud of.

Next comes the version of me in October of 2021 when students in the council where I work were given I pads. That saw me complaining vehemently to anyone within ear shot, and sometimes that involved following them for quite some distance, about what a waste of money they were and how they just got in the way of teaching.

So that’s those two, now here I am in March of 2023 and I am once again chasing people down but this time to extol the wonders of AI and how they too could once again enjoy their work if they just used this new thing I had found from these amazing and joyously mental Norwegians. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Curipod.

In all seriousness though, this is a game changer for me. My subject is Modern Studies which covers everything from politics to crime & social inequalities to China & the USA which means regular lesson updates. The ability to create a new lesson in a matter of minutes or to update an old one has saved me so much time and stress. I am currently creating revision decks for my students who are about to sit their National 5 exams. I would not normally do this but instead revisit the original materials as the time it would take to put the deck together would far outstrip the time the lesson took but with Curipod I can do in under 30 minutes.

The First Minister of Scotland announces her resignation and I have a lesson up and running ready for the class coming in later that morning. The time saved, and the improvement in my lesson materials, is tangible. Upload an existing deck and add some Curipod magic and there you go folks, a brand-new lesson in less time than it takes for your hot beverage of choice to go cold.

For the past few years I have been trying to use SOLO taxonomy to help students gauge their own progress without relying on assessments or feedback from me. I have struggled to find a way to quickly collate their responses and let them see, in real time, their own progress. I have used fingers in the air, but students are too self-conscious to be seen to think they are doing well. Everyone would go for the lower levels or go with whatever their friends chose. I tried making little cards that attached to a key chain so they could place them on their desk, and I could go around and check them without the students having to say anything, but they kept losing them.

With Curipod I have a slide with a poll on it and in 10 seconds I can have 30 students telling me what level they feel they are at. They have confidence to do it honestly as it is done anonymously. We can have a chat about what level the whole class is at and I can take the results into account as I go through the lesson.

At the end of the lesson I put the slide back up and 10 seconds later we can all see the progress that has been made and I can see if I need to do a revision session or if the students feel secure enough for us to move on. I have now been able to embed SOLO taxonomy in all of my lessons and students will be able see their own progress as we move through a single lesson or a unit or an entire examination course.

The option to have students give extended answers has changed my understanding of my students understanding. I can see their answers coming in via the moderation tool and it gives me a much stronger grasp of who knows what, what areas I can move on from and where I may need to circle back to within that lesson. Students who are uncomfortable speaking out in class, and not matter how safe you try to make your classroom feel there will always be one, are giving me detailed answers that are way beyond what I thought they had taken in from the lesson. This helps me feel more secure when it comes to feedback and report cards as I am no longer overly reliant on summative assessment but can see their progress in real time.

The past couple of weeks I have been trialling the AI instant feedback with classes. This is very much a learning curve for me as I am still getting to grips with how AI works, and how to get the best out of it, but the results so far seem really positive. Students are loving getting to use AI in the classroom as it is still new and shiny to them and I am actually able to get feedback a class of 30 in less than a week. For me personally the fact this element of the Curipod journey is one my classes and I are taking together is what is making it really enjoyable. They see me learning something new at the same time they are, and that learning does not stop when you leave school. I am not very good at hiding how I feel so there I am bouncing around the room going on about how exciting I feel this and, I hope, taking my students along with me.

Okay, perhaps that is my Blind Poets Society moment (which is also VERY out of character for me) but you can’t deny that if a class sees their teacher enthusiastic for a lesson it rubs off on them. Even if the AI has had a wobble and the feedback has become more generic it becomes a useful tool as I can get the students to tell me why they feel the feedback was wrong and what they would have told themselves. The more I use it, the more I understand it and can fine tune it to help the AI give the best feedback it can. The more students use it, the more they are looking at their answer and working out why they were given that feedback and what they can do to improve their answer. I am a big believer in students being able to mark their own work to help them improve and the AI instant feedback is fast becoming a foundational tool to help me achieve that.

My school is a comprehensive school with a huge range of students from diverse backgrounds and family situations so there is always a challenging student or two in a class. You may even get an entire class of challenging students if you are really unlucky or have upset the person who creates the timetable. Now, I am not suggesting for a minute that Curipod is a panacea for behavioural problems in the classroom but for increasing engagement it is pretty darned impressive.

I have seen classes with well known “characters” settling to a brain break or working together to see how fast the whole class can get to 100 responses or complimenting each other on their work when they see it up on the screen. I have two S3 classes and I have been using them as guinea pigs as they are still a year away from exams so we have a little time to try new things and I asked them if they would get fed up if we used Curipod all the time. They have been known to suffer from Blooket or Quizlet exhaustion but no, Curipod could be every lesson they cried. Who can argue with that?

In conclusion, I am teacher of 15 years who, until recently, has delved no more deeply into tech in the classroom that the use of Blooket and putting class materials up on Teams, and here I am encouraging colleagues to come on in and see Curipod in action. I have volunteered (You heard me! Volunteered!) to lead CPD sessions for colleagues when I would normally have had a small heart attack at the very thought of it. To top it all off I am spending time of an evening sitting playing, yes playing!! on my I pad to see how many new lessons I can create and what new features have been added that week. When was the last time planning a lesson felt like fun? When you looked forward to showing students something new and take them on a learning journey with you?

Who would have thought that AI would be the thing that helped me tie together all those strategies I have been struggling to make work in my classroom for years? What have you got to lose? Psst…it won’t be your job!

Aileen Wallace, Teacher of Modern Studies, Graeme High School - Falkirk - Scotland

Are you interested in reading more about how to use AI educational tools in your classroom? Aileen’s testimonial has been featured in the #1 best selling book on AI in the classroom https://www.amazon.com/Classroom-Artificial-Intelligence-Education-Hitchhikers-ebook/dp/B0BVGV8GST written by Amanda Fox, Dan Fitzpatrick and Eric Weinstein.