17 Apr Digital Learning by Imberhorne School
One of the first things, and there are many that impressed me about Imberhorne School, was the fact that they operate two IT work platforms. They have a Microsoft 365 platform and a Google G-Suite Platform, so students and teachers can work on whichever they prefer. For over ten years I have been using Google but without access to a G-Suite I have never been able to enjoy Google Classroom and as Google provide this for free for education it has become the preferred choice of delivering remote learning.
When students join the school they are issued with login details and cleverly these are also Goggle login details, so the students and staff are automatically recognised as Google account users and as such do not need to remember separate username and passwords to access their resources. As for the package of Google Apps and tools they are very user friendly and easy to learn and use. I see other schools paying for learning platforms but the extra traffic as a result of the lockdown has seen them have problems and crash but Google is very robust and reliable as you can imagine.
Days before schools were closed the Head and his team decided that Google Classroom was the prefered tool to use for all classes so students were invited to join their virtual Google Classroom by their individual classroom teachers or department heads. Students then had to accept the emailed link to join the class and those who did not were emailed in the first instance before parents were given the nudge until they did.
Once set up you can upload any resource, word documents, powerpoints, weblinks, spreadsheets and once uploaded it converts it into a google equivalent. Documents can be sent that students can either, read-only, edit or have an copy each so that they can work on it as an individual piece of work. Work can be set up as an assignment or an activity, if you set it up as a task per student you can actually go into their work and see how they are doing, make comments and give them feedback whilst it is in progress. You can then wait for the deadline so that they can ‘turn it in’ for marking and you can then send it back to them or print it out and file it if its complete. In just two weeks I received nearly 80 pieces of work to mark. The exam groups in Year 11 & 13 have appreciated this and are engaging with it which is great as it will be their teaching teams predicting their grades this summer, they can’t afford, at this stage, to stop demonstrating how capable they are!
Using this free to schools platform, every teacher can plan and deliver up to five lessons a day and to ensure that parents can see what’s set. We are also asked to summarise the work into new software that the school subscribe to, called Edulink One, this enables parents to see, lesson by lesson, where the focus should be as per their timetable as well as being able to see the deadline for when work should be completed.
The school also set up a ‘Key Worker’ in school facility, as they quickly identified a number of students who were children of key workers in need of support. The Headteacher was very clear that only those staff who felt safe coming in or did not have a family with underlying health issues living with them should be used or self declare, so the new rota post-Easter has more staff sharing in this challenge.
Thirdly the school identified that students may be getting a little bored by now so on a daily basis over the Easter vacation, extracurricular challenges have been shared but these are not compulsory. Today’s was taken from the Technology department:
Try the www.vam.ac.uk The Victoria and Albert Museum has a wealth of online information which you can use as inspiration for your design ideas.
Essential viewing for all – BBC4 are launching a new series of ‘How to make…’ programs at 8pm Thursday evenings with Zoe Laughlin. The first program focuses on Zoe taking apart a classic trainer and then having a go at making her own. Should be really interesting and if you miss it you can catch up on BBC iplayer.
As you can see it all contributes to the character building and overall development of the young people that we can’t currently see on a daily basis.
Teacher of Business Studies and Computing