Title MyWorks
Publisher Boardworks Ltd
Website www.myworks.co.uk
Reviewer Thomas Underwood
   

MyWorks is an on-line resource providing a range of revision exercises and assessments. The company behind it, Boardworks, specialises in software for whiteboards and projectors and has developed the MyWorks packages (in numerous subject areas) to venture into this side of information technology and teaching. Currently there are three main language packages available, KS3 French, KS4 French and KS3 Spanish, with more to come (KS5 French, KS3 German, for example) in September.

At first glance, the activities are colourful, informative and interesting for the pupils and I was pleasantly surprised by just how engaged all of the pupils were whenever we spent time using the software. KS3 French comprises content current to the Programe of Study, the MFL framework and the QCA scheme of work. The topic titles are as follows:

Year 7 topics:
• C’est parti!
• Chez moi
• Comme d’habitude
• Comment tu t’amuses?
• En famille
• Une journée

Year 8 topics:
• À la mode
• Fais ceci, fais cela
• Invitations
• Les autres pays
• Qu’est-ce qu’on mange?
• Qu’est-ce qu’on va faire?

Year 9 topics:
• À mon avis
• Ça va?
• Chez nous, chez vous
• Déjà
• Notre monde
• Une visite

There are around 130 assessments in total and these include a range of quizzes, ‘super’ quizzes and extension exercises all testing specific skills and vocabulary. Most of the tests last between ten and twenty minutes and feature a range of different exercises, audio and some animation. The content is thorough, gives a good overview of the topics / grammar and the software looks and feels crisp and up-to-date. Pupils’ scores are recorded immediately and are easily accessible for the class teacher. This means that it is very easy to set the group or indeed individuals, specific tasks within the lesson (providing of course that you are in a computer lab – I am fortunate to have i-desks in my classroom) and receive instant feedback. Pupils like this too and many went back and redid certain exercises in order to improve their previous score and subsequent overall average. One of my Year 7 pupils commented:

“In Myworks you cover everything that you’ve learnt in class. Your teacher will set you up some tasks which are more like mini tests from what you’ve learnt in class. Myworks automatically keeps your score and converts it into a percentage. I find this very good to see how I’m progressing through the year. However, if you didn’t get a good mark you can always go back to the task and do it again. The main thing is that you can get feedback right away. Overall, I found Myworks a much more fun way of learning than just doing exercises out of a textbook because it is more interactive.”

The set-up is very straight forward (you just need the pupil’s name, e-mail address and class / year) and the interface easy to use. A class teacher can set the class or individuals tailored homework assignments or provide the pupils with access to a number of the programs for revision purposes. I believe that MyWorks is a very practical resource for pupils and teachers alike. The only issues that we encountered were technological problems at home for pupils where they used different web browsers and possibly had not updated to the most recent version of Flash Player. However, the support and communication from the team at MyWorks has been excellent and most efficient. In my view, the price is very reasonable too and it becomes even more so if you opt for a three year contract and bundle all the languages together. Unlike some software packages, there is only one fee and you can then add as many pupils / classes as you would like. We have subsequently purchased MyWorks for French and Spanish and every pupil in Key Stages 3+4 will have access to the software. I am looking forward to the KS5 French and German programs too. The feedback from pupils has been very positive and I think it will become a valuable tool for reinforcing content from the classroom and aiding progress and revision for individuals and whole class sets.