stbenedictSt Benedict’s College is a Catholic Maintained Secondary school for pupils aged 11 to 16 which is dedicated to achieving academic excellence. At the college we strive to promote the personal potential and uniqueness of each young person through high quality teaching and learning. We recognise that educating our young people is not only a huge responsibility but also a privilege as we play our part in shaping the educators and entrepreneurs of the future. As we now inhabit an ever evolving digital world, ICT has an impact on all areas of our lives. It is crucial that our young people are offered both contemporary and relevant experiences so they can successfully engage with what technology has to offer in order to be fully prepared for life after school.

We feel new technology has an essential role to play in the educational experience offered to every pupil and that ICT holds great significance in modern teaching practice. The college is dedicated to enabling pupils to develop their skills both inside and outside of the classroom by investing in a range of innovative technological resources such as our newly acquired LINX1010 tablets. The digital age has transformed education and we intend to fully embrace technology so each individual learner can maximise their own potential.

Comments from the judges (video below)

Judge 1

St Benedict’s College uses technologies as a tool and not as a learning outcome. Technologies are used to:

  • Facilitate high quality teaching and learning in order to raise standards. Students and staff talk confidently about the impact that this has on their learning in both traditional and philanthropic contexts.
  • Empower students, encouraging them to choose how to achieve their desired outcomes.
  • Challenge them to think and work at a deeper level and to take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Develop creativity and collaboration by encouraging students to think about what they want/need to achieve and what the most effective way is to do this.
  • Encourage students to be autonomous in their own learning – taking the lead to decide how much, how far, how; plus when and where. This is shown through their work with Digital Dialects used for language learning.
  • Challenge students to undertake projects from conception to realisation in order to deepen their learning in a culture of creativity and collaboration.
  • Broaden students’ knowledge and understanding of how technologies are used in the wider world by introducing them to coding in a range of contexts, STEM activities and datalogging in science.

Examples of how technology is used effectively can be seen in language work on the VLE, PE, D&T, ICT – particularly in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative and data-logging in science.

There are robust systems in place to monitor pupil progress in order to ensure that all individual learning needs are met and that appropriate targets are set for individuals and groups. Work in different subjects, such as Art, illustrates how progression is planned and measured across the year groups. Accelerated Reading and Eclipse are used at individual pupil level to engage, challenge and inspire learners across the school. Similar approaches, using personal hand-held devices, are used to support learning in Mathematics and English.

Students use the VLE to publish their work, to collaborate online and to facilitate peer review. The VLE is also used to extend learning beyond the school day. Tablets are used effectively in PE to facilitate self- and peer-review. Interactive whiteboards are used in a variety of ways to increase student involvement and to facilitate self- and peer-review.

The school has data to demonstrate that standards have been raised significantly, and maintained, in English and they believe that, because students are engaged and interested – seen in their eagerness to use the VLE to extend their learning – that the appropriate and effective use of technology has facilitated higher standards in the quality of teaching and learning, and, as a consequence, has deepened and accelerated learning for pupils.

Judge 2

The most telling part of this video is the final graphics that express the culture and philosophy that the teachers are bringing to bear on how they embed the use of technology in the teaching and learning. That this is so is confirmed by the student who eloquently describes the student experience of technology embedding across the curriculum.

These, together with the comments of the headteacher and the head of English confirm that behind the technology use that we see in the video is a strong school-wide desire to enable the pupils to work creatively, collaboratively and independently. We see many examples of how the school is using audiences for pupils’ work and presentations, and how they are linking the learning activities to real-life.

The school obviously believes the improved learning they are gaining is the result of the way the curriculum and learning activities are enriched and extended through the use of computer devices and the connectivity the VLE brings. I would be very interested to hear more on this from the students themselves and from parents. I would like to hear from the teachers how the collaborative, technology-supported work that is obviously happening in many classes is producing more effective learning than more didactic teacher-led learning and the impact of this is on stimulating pupils to extend learning in their own time.

The video clearly shows a school that is determined to be innovative in developing their curriculum, teaching and learning to capitalise on the connected-world opportunities and real-life experiences we now have in the third millennium.