In addition to learning the content of each subject studied in school, it is important for your student to develop the abilities to communicate, collaborate, be creative, information management, and managing myself (your student would be familiar with these terms as the ‘Key Skills’).
This project (called SkillTrack!) has created an application (app) which allows your student to learn more about the Key Skills. This app is meant to help your student build his/her understanding of when s/he use the Key Skills, what they are, how well s/he does them and how s/he can get better at them.
Your student and your student’s school will be a part of the trial of SkillTrack!. Generally, the trial is a test of SkillTrack!, how it works, how your student used it, what your student like/don’t like about it, how it helped s/he to learn, etc. This trial is being conducted by the Learnovate Centre; the Learnovate Centre is an industry-led centre for innovation and research in school and corporate learning technologies associated with the School of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin and funded by Enterprise Ireland in partnership with IDA Ireland.
The information gathered from your student’s participation in this trial will be used for scientific purposes in regards to trying to understand how students think about the Key Skills, what they think the Key Skills look like, and how they understand your ability to do this skill. This information will be used to build better (more helpful and more useful) apps for the classroom.
WHO IS SkillTrack! FOR?
SkillTrack! is designed to be used by secondary school students and their teachers. To use SkillTrack!, you and your student both must have signed consent forms. This consent is only to permit the Learnovate Centre to use the anonymous information about your student (e.g. answers to survey questions about their use of SkillTrack!). If you do not consent to this, your student will still be able to use the SkillTrack! app during the trial and will not be disadvantaged in any way.
WHAT IS SkillTrack!?
SkillTrack! is an app designed to help track, practice, develop and review the Key Skills. It will help your student to do this by asking s/he to answer multiple choice questions, complete sentence starters, rank activities, rate your ability and provide examples of s/he doing the Key Skills when directed (through uploaded pictures that contain no faces or names).
WHEN AND WHERE WILL YOUR STUDENT USE SkillTrack!?
SkillTrack! will be used in class as a part of normal classroom instruction. Your student’s teacher will help remind him/her when to use SkillTrack!. SkillTrack! will also be used outside of class. The app will remind your student when it is time to use it outside of class.
WHY IS YOUR STUDENT USING SkillTrack!?
Because the Key Skills are different for everyone, it is important that we learn the different ways students think about and do them. Because of this, it is important to get your student to use and give feedback on SkillTrack!. Also, your student is being asked to use SkillTrack! because your school (principal and teachers) felt that SkillTrack! would be a helpful tool to get students thinking about the Key Skills; additionally, your school also thinks it is important to help contribute to knowledge, research and technology and so has agreed to help trial it.
HOW WILL YOUR STUDENT USE SkillTrack!?
After your student does a task in the classroom (read from a text, work with a partner, finish a problem, etc.) s/he will record on the app which Key Skill s/he thought was used while doing the task. At times, all s/he will need to do is log the Key Skill used; other times, the app will have your student answer a quick question about the Key Skill s/he were just doing. Outside of class, s/he will use the app to upload a picture of your student’s best example of each Key Skill; your student will be asked to explain why it is his/her best example and to rate his/her ability in each skill. Your student’s teacher will use the app to watch your student’s progress through each skill and help him/her if needed.
At the end of the trial, when your student is finished using the app, s/he will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. This questionnaire will ask about his/her experience using the app (how easy was it to use? was it hard to use during class? Did it help with understanding the Key Skills better?). Answering these questions is optional and your student may choose not to answer; however, the research team would be grateful if all questions are responded to.
Additionally, at the end of the trial, the research team may want to speak to some of the students who used the app. Your student may volunteer to participate in this conversation (focus group) which will be a face-to-face discussion about what your student liked or didn’t like about the app. This conversation will be audio recorded so we can remember what everyone said after the conversation. Your student does not have to volunteer to be a part of this conversation (focus group) and if s/he does, and wants to withdraw at any time, that is your student’s right and there will be no penalty.
This short video illustrates how SkillTrack! is used
ADDIITONAL INFORMATION ON SkillTrack!
Participation in SkillTrack! is voluntary, your student may withdraw from this trial at any time and for any reason without penalty, your student does not have to answer questionnaire or focus group questions, no personal details about your student will be recorded, and information and results from SkillTrack! may be used for scientific purposes and published in scientific publications. Also, if you or anyone in your family has a history of photo-sensitive epilepsy then you may not want your student to use SkillTrack!.
If there are any questions regarding the above information, or if further information/clarification is desired, please contact Anna O’Donovan, Pedagogy Researcher for SkillTrack!, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 896 4910.