Your Own Personal (YouTube) Examiner

Although there’s quite a fair bit of a-level sociology on YouTube (some of which we’ve contributed…) it’s probably fair to say most of it concentrates on Specification content – by-and-large the “stuff you need to know”.

While this is also, to some extent, true of the TeacherSociology Channel – there are Video Tutorials on areas like Family Life, for example – what caught my passing eye – and makes the Channel a little bit different from all the other’s vying for a piece of your precious time – are the short films on exam technique.

For these the basic idea is a simple one: create a screencast, narrated by an experienced a-level examiner, that hones-in on what students need to know / do / demonstrate in an exam to score the best possible mark for different question types.

To this end each film takes the student through the process of answering exam questions:

• from using the question, any additional stimulus Items and mark scheme to understand what they’re required to do,

• through breaking the question down into its component parts in order to develop a structure for a top-band answer,

• to example students answers that demonstrate the required knowledge and skills needed to produce a top-band answer.

When you start to think about it this is an extraordinarily useful resource for both teachers and students – it’s like having your own personal examiner available at the click of a link to clearly and concisely explain how to hit the top mark band for any question.

The screencasts are created using Screencast-O-Matic  a free online screen recorder that has a few minor limitations (such as an unobtrusive watermark and a 15-minute restriction on any recording). As ever with this type of screencast the audio suffers a bit from “feedback buzz” and echo (I’ve heard a lot worse) but these are minor irritations that you can learn to live with because the films and information are free.

And did I mention they are very, very, useful?

The only downsides I can see to the Channel are:

1. It’s AQA only. If you’re following another Specification a lot of the information – such as how to deconstruct a question – will still be applicable but different exam boards tend to have different styles of questioning that may require slightly different answering techniques. So if you’re not with AQA you need to use with caution.

2. You can’t give your students recent AQA exam papers as homework because the Channel provides perfect answers 🙂

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