We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.

David Warlick

 

How to make the most of your Milk Student Planner

Admin appears out of control. Anecdotes and wide-ranging surveys in the last six years bear this out.

“Classroom primary teachers spend an average of 4.3 hours each week on general administration,” reported the BBC back in 2014, citing 59.3-hour weeks for primary teachers, and 55.7-hour weeks for those in secondary.

Many pay lip service to tackling excessive demands on teachers’ time. There have been several recent research-based reports grappling with the intractable beast that is teacher workload.

The Teacher Development Trust, in response to the DfE 2013 teacher workload survey noted, for example:

“Only about 1/3 of teacher time is spent teaching. Around a 1/3 is on planning, preparation and marking. The rest is management, paperwork, and working with pupils or parents.”

It continued:

“The top four suggestions for tasks that teachers wanted to spend more time on, in order to improve teaching and learning, were: lesson planning, sourcing/creating resources, one-to-one feedback for pupils, collaborative time with colleagues.”

 

Our Milk mission

Milk Images - Online Milk Student Planner System & Homework Diary

We’re all about productivity and time-management without the hassle. We’re here to save you time and energy for the stuff that matters most: time with your pupils, aka teaching.

For more help with time management and productivity read Top ten time-saving tips for teachers.

Teachers say their Milk Student Planner app is saving them 2 hours a week.

Schools know it’s saving them a small fortune on paper planners that don’t get used.

 

Easy to set up

Milk is quick and easy to use. Simply liaise with your IT team to arrange installation.

Import your classes from SIMS, or whatever MIS (Management Information System) is in place. Link to your VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) or shared drive.

You’re then ready to set up message groups, share hyperlinks, files and more.

Both telephone and online support are available for teaching staff, with online support available to all students and parents free of charge.

 

How best to communicate with pupils?What is new in Milk

Through their phones, of course.

Like it or loathe it, studies show teens spend an average of 9 hours a day on their devices.

Even they think this is too much.

 

Homework

Homework – setting, collecting (chasing more like), and correcting – is the bane of a teacher’s existence.

Keeping tabs on some students seems like a losing game.

Too often students fail at the first hurdle. They don’t write down the homework in the first place. Or they do it poorly.

With Milk Student Planners, setting homework is easy.

 

Give your pupils a little push

With Milk, you simply send a push notification to keep students up to date with homework.

Better still, a report will show you at a glance who has read your instructions, and who hasn’t, taking the guesswork out of the process. In this sense, Milk is an invaluable mind reader.

 

Enlist the help of parents

We all know that involving parents increases the likelihood of homework completion. But phone calls or individual emails take up so much time.

Parents want to help with homework. Trouble is, they often don’t know about it in the first place.

79% of parents said Milk has been a positive way forward.

74% of parents said Milk makes it easier to understand homework.

 

Quick, easy, immediate feedback

Moreover, students must rank the difficulty of each homework, allowing you to identify problems early on.

The teacher can use the comments box to give feedback, individually or to the whole class.

This allows for cutting and pasting (rather than writing the same thing on 30+ exercise books.)

You can share links to answers, model essays, AOs, checklists and more besides.

If you don’t see a particular class very often, you can do all this before you next see them.

 

Reinvent the wheel – just the once!

You’ll soon be saving time on setting future homework tasks.

Re-using homework instructions for future classes is as simple as ticking “Favourites”. Archiving homework tasks makes them easy to find at a later date.

Communicating homework details with other teachers comes in handy if you share a class.

 

Analytics at a glance

Homework = success. Teachers know there’s an undeniable correlation between homework completion and exam success.

It’s a no-brainer but studies argue the case further. As one meta-analysis of studies conducted between 1987 and 2003 stated:

“With only rare exceptions, the relationship between the amount of homework students do and their achievement outcomes was found to be positive and statistically significant.”

Milk Student Planners have boosted homework submission by 44%.

 

Early intervention

With that in mind, early intervention is paramount. With data that is in one place and easy to find, keeping tabs and tracking students is so much simpler.

Used in tandem with whatever information management your school uses, homework analytics enable pastoral teams and heads of year to join the many dots and identify struggling students in a timely manner. Far better than relying on chance conversations in corridors and common rooms.

 

Running teams, clubs, or school trips?

If only the planning was as fun as the doing.

Compiling messages for registers and across the school is also made easy by Milk.

Re-arranging times or, alas, cancelling sessions because of inclement weather?

Is the school coach going to be late – or better still, back early – from a school trip.

Contacting the school and parents in one fell swoop just got that bit simpler.

 

Final thoughts

I wish I’d had Milk back in the day when I taught Maths.

If someone had said to me then, “I’ll make sure everyone knows their homework AND I’ll chase it up for you,” I’d have bitten their hand off.

Then again, I wouldn’t have needed to set up Milk Student Planner.

We appreciate the irony of using tech to help teens who spend too much time on their screens.

But we can’t put Pandora back in the tech box. Might as well make the most of it.

Used wisely, IT frees up time, allowing us to engage more in actual face-to-face engagement.

 

We really hope that you’re maximising your Milk.

And we’re always on hand to help.

Always give Tech Support your Milk ID.

You’ll get all the support you need.

Mike Dowling and the team at Milk

Enjoy a quick demo now https://milkstudentplanner.com/#video

“The other day I asked my colleagues if they’d ever read a good book on teaching. There was a long silence.”

Chinese proverb