HeronBridge College DigiSchool

| April 5, 2011 | 0 Comments

By David Klein

HeronBridge College introduced a Digital school in January 2010, a fresh approach to utilising technology in education.

The College has focused on a programme – called Making School Cool – for a number of years. This programme, intended to counteract negative attitudes to school, comprises a number of elements, including the extensive use of cellphones. Based on the view that teenagers have cellphones in their palms virtually permanently out of school hours, the thinking of the College leadership was to take advantage of pupils’ enthusiasm.

Cellphones and computers
The pupils reacted so well that the programme’s principle has now been extended to the use of computers. HeronBridge’s DigiSchool is a genuine attempt to present education in a relevant way, for the sake of enhancing learning. The rationale has been to:

  • educate meaningfully, employing current technology
  • use technology appropriately in teaching
  • continue Making School Cool, by making it attractive to pupils
  • entice learning by using what is immediate to young people
  • compete with pupils’ home and play environments.

Establishing a digital flow
Teachers have been encouraged to augment their lessons by introducing visual stimuli (à la YouTube) and incorporating technological content as much as possible. Pupils can now choose to bring laptop computers, notebooks or netbooks to class. These are used in the normal course of events: to take notes, do exercises, present work and maintain notes in a logical order.

More importantly, a system has been developed to establish direct contact between pupils and teachers, using Moodle software. Work, queries and marked exercises now flow digitally. A monthly DigiDay focuses attention on working via computer. Emulating the principle that our school leavers are entering some professions in which product is more important than presence, DigiDays are reserved for electronic work only. Work assigned for DigiDays may be done anywhere – not even necessarily at school. So, pupils may work at home and submit their assignments via Moodle to their teachers by the end of each DigiDay.

The results have been most encouraging. A general enthusiasm for academics has been engendered among the pupils, the work submission rate has been virtually 100% and the quality of DigiDay work has surpassed what is usual.

David Klein is Head of HeronBridge College.

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Category: Autumn 2011, e-Education

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