College leads the way in online learning

25th Jun

As one of the top-performing colleges in the country when it comes to online learning, Wilberforce has implemented and delivered an exemplary online learning platform that mirrors that of its everyday timetable. The only sixth-form college in the area to be awarded this status, Wilberforce will soon be coaching other schools and colleges to become more proficient in using online technologies.
After taking a shift towards delivering remote learning for students in January, which was accelerated when Covid struck, Wilberforce has found that 90% of its students are actively engaging with online learning partly due to the college supporting students with laptops and WiFi internet routers to help them get connected.
The full curriculum is now delivered remotely by teachers on the same sort of timetable as in college, and students can either engage with their teacher live, or via recordings. Tasks are set in the same way as they were before, but students now submit them digitally. It’s also enabling students who may have missed college due to family issues, such as caring for other family members, to catch up in their own time and revisit resources again.
Staff are being creative when delivering lessons – from home-based science experiments on Instagram to online live video dance lessons, and college leaders say students are responding well.
Jonathan Butler, assistant principal, said: “After developing our cloud-based use of Microsoft for a couple of years now, it’s really important that as a college we’re moving forward with technology to give our students access to more resources, different ways to learn and the skills they need for the future.
“We announced to staff our Microsoft Teams plan in January and later launched a Tech Team in February. The team, made up of teachers, has helped shape the way our staff and students learn online, increasing the opportunities to provide feedback and to ensure that teachers have the freedom to use the platform in the ways they find most effective.”
He added: “At Wilberforce we value and invest in skills for the future, we want our students to leave college with the knowledge and experience they require to start their careers. We introduce them to a range of digital resources regardless of what they’re studying to ensure they have these skills as they step into the world of work.
“We’re really looking forward to delivering the sessions to help other colleagues and using our experience to work with other schools and colleges across the country.”
The EdTech Demonstrator Programme includes a network of schools and colleges across England that exhibit effective practice in the use of technology. The programme was announced in 2019 to boost peer-to-peer support on the effective use of technology and has now been tailored to help schools and colleges provide education remotely.
Demonstrator Schools and Colleges will provide professional development, initially focused on supporting the effective delivery of remote teaching practices to schools and colleges across the country.
Securing its reputation for a digital first approach, Wilberforce College hosted a Virtual Welcome Day – available to view on catch-up – where prospective students were invited to take a tour of the school, join live lessons and hear from current students about life at the college.

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