Top Tools for Learning 2016

Jane Hart is the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies and 2016 marks the 10th year of her annual Top 100 Tools for Learning list. Jane has put together all the presentation slidesets as well as an alphabetical list of ALL the tools which have appeared on any of the lists.

The 2016 slideset is shown here.

Note from Jane’s overview she has done a finer analysis for 2016 including the Top 100 Tools For Education (for use in primary and secondary (K12) schools, colleges, universities and adult education.)

Back in April, I wroye about my own choices for 2016 and I am always interested to see where my own choices are in Jane’s list.

CY 2016 votes Education Personal Learning & Productivity Place in Top 200 2016  Place in Top 100 Tools for Education 2016
Evernote x x  17  27
WordPress x x  9  13
Google (search) x x  2  4
Twitter x x  3  5
Slideshare x  18  21
PowerPoint x  4  3
Excel x x  46  45
Moodle x  27  11
WolframAlpha x  198  –
Desmos x  –  –

Those were my own 2016 choices as top tools for learning because these are tools I use all the time in my job, both in my teaching and in my role as a senior leader. Note that we are not discussing subject specialist resource sites here, but tools for education generally; I think it is very useful to remind ourselves of Jane Hart’s own definition:

“Any software or online tool or service that can be used for your own personal learning or for teaching or training”.

Two more very useful views that Jane has compiled is this Quick View showing the place in the top 200 list, compared to against the Top 100 Tools lists for Personal & Professional Learning (PPL100) for Workplace Learning  (WPL100) and Education (EDU100) and the Movers and Shakers.

Looking at the Movers and Shakers, I see WolframAlpha has crept in at 198 on the Top Tools list, so I wasn’t the only one who voted for it! Quite rightly Google Forms is another new entry; I think my own vote for Google (search) was actually also a vote for Google Docs / Google Apps for Education / Google Calendar! Google forms is such a good way to collect feedback. See for example slides 63-83 for Student Feedback on Low Stakes Testing. where I used this form.

Noted in the Movers and Shakers list are tools which have jumped up more than 15 places. Trello is indeed good for organising information and is easy to use for collaboration. With my interest in retrieval practice I want to revisit Quizlet. Also on my list is One Note, though not to replace Evernote but complement it. More to explore – Canva and I see Richard Byrne has posted on Canva new features.


Circles Station


The home of the Teddy Bear and a whole lot more! The wonderful Underground Maths site has a whole new station – Circles.

Really challenge your students with the resources here.

I rather like this review question on circles:
Can we show that these four points lie on a circle?

Good for A level mathematicians – also for my Year 11 Level 2 Further Maths Students.

And of course – Desmos to illustrate.

This diagram could make a rather nice starter…


See all posts in Underground Mathematics.

Transum Mathematics

Estimating Angles - Transum

Estimating Angles – Transum

Julie Morgan’s mention of Transum‘s starter on estimating anles reminded me of how often I use resources on Transum which is mentioned all over this blog! Staying with Angles, there is a further Angles Activity with 4 levels so you can practise as much as you want! And here are more Angles Activies including Starters.

I thought it would be useful to put together some of the resources I have used from this excellent site full of high quality resources. Transum has a superb collection of free resources. (Subscriptions offer additional features but the free model is superb.)

The appropriate place to start is of course with the fantastic collection of starters – Maths Starter of the Day. Note that there is a complete index of starters including the topic of the starter. Many of the Shine and Write activities would also make good lesson starters. For example are these statements true, sometimes true or false? As with many of the activities on this site you can refresh the page for further statements, you can also change the level. Or perhaps some Mathanagrams? I think it is through the starters that many teachers have come to know the site, but it has so much more!

Transum - Topic Index

Transum – Topic Index

The Transum site is easy to navigate, there is a clear Topic Index for Teachers also, for students a Maths Map with numerous activities to support their learning.

Transum - Maths Map for tudents

Transum – Maths Map for students

Venn Paint is included in my Venn Diagrams post.

Level 2 has 3 set Venn Diagrams. Exam Questions are included also (solutions are provided for subscribers).

Systematic Listing Strategies includes Transum activities.

Transum - Combinations resources

Transum Combination Starters

And many more mentions….
Box Plots and many other Statistics activities,
Transum Box Plots


Transum - Arithmagons

With Year 11, we practised Completing the Square with a Transum level 2 and level 3 activity. And in case you want some more Algebra – there’s a whole index of activities.

On Arithmagons the Arithmagon activity which has options for forwards and backwards problems on Addition, Multiplication and Subtraction displays very clearly on the Interactive Whiteboard.

Investigations Resources includes Investigations from Transum 

Happy Numbers Resources – an attractive statement of the problem on Transum

Mathematics Crosswords includes this Transum interactive crossword with the software from Eclipse.

I’ll finish (for now) with a Counter Moving Puzzle!


Heading for High GCSE Grades

Following on from my previous posts on marking GCSE mock examinations, GCSE Mathematics – Marking Mock Examinations and GCSE Mathematics, one of the tasks on my To Do List is to write helpful reports for Year 11.

Something I do regulaly when writing reports is to ask the students if there is anything they think I should acknowledge (they know that I have to agree with the suggestions having seen the skill and/or learning behaviours in class!) I am pleased to say I know my students well but asking them can provide real insight into what is important to them and what they are proud of. I find Google forms excellent for getting feedback from students, my questions (clearly intended for my students in my school setting) to my students are here. The questions on this particular form are intended as writing prompts for my students. Their responses are thoughtful and highly articulate. I am so pleased at their understanding of their own learning; they are clearly aware of what they need to review further and which topics they are comfortable with. The question by question analysis certainly heps with this.

In my previous posts I mentioned that I gave them an analysis on the A01, A02 and A03 Assessment Objectives.

Providing able students with information works; many referred to the fact that they like the many resources we provide them with. Our school VLE has all the AQA Topic Tests for example and a large collection of resources they can use. One student commented that she did most of the AQA Topic tests, also past paper questions – a strategy which clearly worked as she achieved an exceptionally high mark. She also referenced the Assessment Objectives in her reflection.

Another student, also with an exceptionally high mark on AQA Practice Papers, Set 3 said that she needs to make make sure that she fewer silly mistakes. Her strategy: “Do even more practice questions when I revise than I do already.”
There’s a common theme of course –

do lots of questions, then do some more!            



A student commented that she feels comfortable asking questions in class.
So very important, Dylan Wiliam puts it well.

(See Assessment & Feedback in Mathematics for further information).


Learning Scientists – Retrieval Practice

As we often do following a test, having reviewed the work we did a Mini Test, this was actually more of a maxi-mini test as I went through the mock papers making sure I asked questions on the most common errors and some facts students had forgotten as they had not studied those topics for some time. We marked this in class and students have annotated their work well, noting the need to review particular topics.

Looking at their mini tests has been very informative, students have clearly reviewed their mock examination answers with the model answers. Interesingly though, some (far less) of the same errors were seen. A small number were unsure of exponential graphs and also of the more sophisticated manipulation needed with functions; for example reflecting a quadratic in the y axis or finding an expression for f(x-2) given x. We’ll be doing regular mini tests!

Mathsbot - Revision Grid

Mathsbot – Revision Grid

I will use revision resources they will be able to use themselves at home such as Diagnostic Questions and resources such as those referenced here. I think we’ll start next week with a little graph sketching!

I have created classes on Diagnostic Questions and gave my Year 11 class the class code to join yesterday – today I can see a student has already done of the AQA quizzes and got 16/16 – she got a 9 in the mock!