DLD College London aspire to lead the way with Microsoft in Education

MIEE Guest Blog Post- Saqib Safdar

"I enjoy using technology to encourage self-paced learning, creativity and independent thinking skills. I first became interested in technology in education when I saw how online collaboration for problem solving can be used to develop what Vygotsky calls the 'Zone of Proximal Development'. I have spent over a decade as a teacher of Mathematics, mainly in the post-16 sector; this included two years in Jordan, during which I attended the first BETT ME in Abu Dhabi and learned about the various education initiatives of using technology to develop 21st century pedagogy.  I subsequently became an Advanced Skills Teacher (eLearning) at a leading Sixth Form College in North London. As a Maths teacher, I've been very keen on using Geogebra with OneNote. In 2013, I gave a talk at e-Factor on iPads, Education and the Digital Age and most recently spoke at BETT2017 on 'Education in the Cloud'.  I am a regular attender of the Digital Innovation Roundtable meetings in London. My current interests include using technology and analytics to target areas of the 'Zone of Desired Effects' (J Hattie)"

Saqib Safdar, Head of eLearning


At DLD college, we have begun our Microsoft journey. As a private international boarding school situated in central London (stone throw away from Big Ben!) we aspire to provide our students with a world class education. Ken Robinson once said: "The gardener does not make a plant grow. The job of a gardener is to create optimal conditions for growth" Our vision is to develop a digital learning environment which fully supports 21st century pedagogy. We have recently won an innovation award for eLearning by AlphaPlus.


As of January, 2018, staff have been completing Microsoft certificates on a monthly basis, over a cup of tea of course!

In our journey so far, currently we have:

  • 58 MIEs and counting
  • 2 MIE Experts
  • 1 MCE Microsoft Certified Educator
  • 6 members of teaching staff studying to sit the MCE (Microsoft Certified Educator) exam
  • 7 members of admin staff studying to sit the MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) exam
  • 11 Computer Science students to sit the MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate – specialised in Python) exam on the 21st of June 2018

We are gradually developing our use of OneNote in lessons. The growth is organic and I can see good practice been shared by colleagues. OneNote for revision in May was something that just worked very well as it allowed staff to embed past paper questions and annotate over them in lessons. OneNote has replaced our Interactive Whiteboard software. OneNote is also being used for recording and sharing minutes by management. Admin staff are currently also using Teams for coordinating and organising college events. Marie-Do Reza, our Vice Principal (Academic), is using Forms for the end of year student feedback survey and I am now using it to develop the annual IT budget for the college. Also, we have as a college been collaborating on an online Excel sheet for recording Extra Curricular Activities as well as on a single OneNote Notebook to record staff INSET. In addition to this,  we have used Sharepoint to build our staff dashboard.


In the coming future, we plan to roll out Microsoft Surface Pros to all teaching staff and develop an e-hub area for staff INSET as part of our Technology Enhanced Learning strategy. We would like to begin using OneNote Class Notebook with the students who will be given 0365 apps from this September. We would like to get all teaching staff on board for completing the Microsoft Certified Educator exam and use principles identified in the 21CLD framework to inform our academic vision. We aspire to be a leading Microsoft College in the AlphaPlus group and for neighbouring schools in London.

Principal Irfan Latif with our Digital Innovators Tia Nasir and Mariia Kalinkina during Principal's Question Time.


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