A team from BBC Learning recently visited Wigan & Leigh College to test out their functional skills resources on students.

They had recently published some new functional skills resources for maths and English aimed at 16-24 year olds.

The learning team, based at the BBC’s Media City in Salford, have been seeking a far reaching geographic audience to gain feedback on their beta launch of their learning resource.

They chose to carry out testing at the Parsons Walk Centre after being impressed with work carried out by Catherine Langstreth, who is Head of Maths and English at the college.

Assistant Producer for the BBC Bitesize team, Tracy Navin, said: “Catherine was consulting with us and wrote some activities for the content. I came across her work for the Maths Everywhere resource that she wrote content for which we were all really impressed with.”

The BBC Bitesize team are in the process of improving and refining the resource and were looking to gain user feedback in order to make any needed changes.

The main aim of the day was introducing students to an activity based on bar modelling. Focusing on maths content and more specifically addition, they wanted to see how learners dealt with the concept and if they found it useful.

Bar modelling is a versatile maths model strategy that can be used across a wide range of topics and allows pupils to draw and visualize mathematical concepts to solve problems.

After two rounds of testing was complete and key notes based on the students comments were made, Tracy added: “We have had some really useful insights and the students have made some very interesting comments in terms of the functionality of the activities.”

“When developing day in day out, there are things we wouldn’t really realise until it’s put in front of a learner.”

Catherine Langstreth said: "Testing the website was such a great opportunity for our learners. In maths and English we promote the use of technology due to so many resources and videos being readily available. Our learners loved providing feedback and at the same time practised their maths.

“I helped the BBC with creating these resources by contributing a bank of maths questions and advising on the maths content. It's great to see the work come to life".

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