We seem to be having a run of good luck with UK schools being held up as worldwide examples of good practice at the moment – with a number of case studies appearing on the global Microsoft website – at www.microsoft.com/casestudies.
The latest is the case study of the use of Office 2010 by Philip Morant School and College in Essex. With 1,650 students, including 245 sixth-formers, the school is quite large, and has been rated by Ofsted as “Good, with significant Outstanding features”.
I have known staff at the school for at least a decade, as they have always been at the leading edge of using ICT to support their school’s teaching and learning strategy. As one of the first schools to deploy Office 2010 in the classroom, they continued their habit of early adoption of technology. As Simon Brennand, Deputy Head*, says:
|We know that if we adopt IT early, we’re more likely to find our own solutions. It reaches beyond IT and applies to everything we do, including the mindset and motivation of our colleagues and students. We measure every tool we use based on its impact on learning.|
Simon, who’s a keen technology user outside of school as well as within, signed up to the early Microsoft Technical Preview of Office 2010, which then helped him to plan the introduction into the school.
|Inviting employees to road test the product has been a valuable strategy for us. We want our staff to have the same confidence as student users of ICT.|
Why is Office 2010 good for schools?
According to Maths teacher Gareth Staines “PowerPoint 2010 is a mainstay in my classroom. In the past, it was tricky to put equations into PowerPoint, but with this version it’s easy. It provides the same equations editor you find in Microsoft Word. That may seem a small thing, but mathematics teachers will appreciate it”. And Simon said “The most useful feature of the suite is the broadcast option for PowerPoint 2010, which makes it easy to share a presentation on the web. It’s great for interactive learning and will make it easier for teachers and students to engage with a lesson when either of them is stuck at home—for example, due to bad weather.”
Like all secondary schools they handle large amounts of student performance data, and the challenge is to make sure that the hard work of doing this is reflected in student learning. That means being able to analyse data and provide leaders of learning with summaries of appropriate data. Staff at Philip Morant School have seen at least two new ways Excel 2010 will help them with data handling. One is the implementation of Sparklines—tiny graphs that can sit inside a data cell and show trends at a glance. Gareth Staines said: “I love Sparklines. They’re a snapshot indicator that will save time by quickly showing trends.” The other is the improved and simplified ability to produce pivot tables - summaries of relevant data drawn out from the mass of background data.
* In true ironic style, at the very moment this case study was being researched, Simon got the great news that he’d been successful in his application for headship, and this term he’s now started as head teacher at Montgomery School in Blackpool – a return to his northern roots. Perhaps we can look forward to a case study from there next year?