SalamanderSoft is another of the partners joining us in the at BETT 2016 as part of the Microsoft Partner Village, and we are pleased to share this guest post of theirs that reveals how they have been helping Hardenhuish School and Royal Wootten Bassett Academy have been getting the most out of Office 365.
Two successful secondary schools make full use of SalamanderSoft integration products, together with Microsoft Office 365, to support teachers in their drive for continuous improvement in teaching and learning.
Steve Gillott, Assistant Head Teacher at Wootton Bassett Academy (RWBA) knew that they were going to require outside expertise to implement SharePoint Online within Office 365. The obvious choice for them was to use SalamanderSoft, whose products had already been enabling the school to make the best use of their on-premises SharePoint and Management Information Systems.
“We knew their products well, and there was a strong element of trust.”
Matt Evans, ICT Innovation Manager at Hardenhuish School, was also clear from the start that they were not going to build the SharePoint Online portal on their own.
“We first bought a product from SalamanderSoft three years ago, but have continued to work with them ever since. The service they provided, much like the SharePoint service we have now, can be continually customized to suit the changing needs of the school.”
Easy access to online resources
SalamanderSoft provides RWBA with a rich learning platform, providing click-through access to student lists, class sites, subject and revision sites, and a range of individual tools for students such as drop boxes, OneNote notebooks and blogs.
“There’s a common template, but it’s very flexible and can be tailored to the needs of a school.”
Steve says that the stand-out feature, across all parts of the SharePoint installation is ease of access.
“When I prepare a computing lesson, I can go to a set of document libraries and download the resources that students are going to need. Students of all abilities easily find the resources, and the process saves considerable learning time by comparison with what’s wasted by handing out worksheets.”
Interactive teaching and learning with OneNote and collaboration spaces
“I can see that the notes they are making are correct, whereas it’s difficult to check what they are putting in a paper exercise book.”
The handling of homework, too, has been radically improved.
“There are no excuses. I can look at a student’s work in progress, and say, for example, ‘I can see you haven’t started. Do you need help?’ Or I can check the quality of their responses and give instant feedback.”
Giles Mason, Head of the Hardenhuish ICT Faculty, states how embedded the platform has become:
“In the ICT Department we’ve been waiting for a long time for the ability to have students submit their work via the internet anytime, anywhere. It becomes the virtual heart of the class. We share links and announcements and it adds to the way that students interact within the group remotely, sharing ideas and resources.”
Giles points out that the Ofsted inspection regime places emphasis on feedback and the fact that inspectors look not only for feedback from the teacher, but evidence of response from students. Collaborative working in Office 365 meets that requirement and keeps the dialogue on record as evidence.
David Clarke, Assistant Head Teacher at Hardenhuish School, shares the enthusiasm for better collaboration.
“It’s a really useful tool for bringing teaching and learning alive. If I can flow to the screen something I’ve prepared it will hook students on to the next part of their learning. The other key thing is the live tracking of progress, being able to see a paragraph and share why it’s good or make changes through editing, and perhaps slinging it to the screen. That’s exciting.”
The full case studies for RWBA and Hardenhuish School can be found here:
Steve Gillott, Assistant Head Teacher at Wootton Bassett, will be joining SalamanderSoft at BETT 2016, where he will be talking about how he has embedded Office 365 and OneNote deeply into his classroom practice. Come and see them