We recently published an eBook to our SlideShare account, containing advice and guidance for schools seeking to work towards ‘outstanding status’ from Ofsted when it comes to ICT in education. There were five main areas that the Ofsted guidelines covered, with the eBook broken in to chapters accordingly.
In order to make this information slightly easier to digest in smaller pieces, we’re serialising the eBook on this blog. If however you want to just wade straight in and read the whole eBook, it is available in its entirety:
Chapter 1: The effectiveness of ICT learning in schools
The descriptors for ‘Outstanding’ under this heading focus on Outstanding teaching, a rich and interesting curriculum, and excellent ICT experiences, leading to Outstanding learning and achievement. As a result, students are prepared well for the next stage – further learning, training or employment. There’s emphasis, too, on inclusion and sharing good practice. Significantly one descriptor refers specifically to the contribution made by ICT to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
Office 365 enables schools to provide a platform for students to access key curriculum learning resources by creating class sites for each subject area within the school. Students can also run and manage areas within the platform for groups such as student clubs or digital leaders. SharePoint is also a great platform for collaboration not only through co-authoring in online Office apps but also through social features such as Yammer.
Office 365 + OneNote Class Notebook Creator – Notebooks are shared between students and teachers or students with students, creating a fantastic tool for class activities and lessons. Students have instant access to specific task based resources, which they can use, for schoolwork. Teachers can monitor progress and provide feedback to help shape the learning journey. Different learning styles are supported with students and teachers able to use sound, video, pictures and drawings. OneNote provides a rich learning experience without the need to use a collection of apps to achieve the same results.
Sway can be used to easily create engaging content and learning resources within Office 365. Sways can be embedded within other online platforms or shared through social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook. Instant update and auto save enable online walls that can showcase the best student work and are easily accessible by peers and parents.
Yammer gives teachers the opportunity to share best practice across the school, removing silos of knowledge and helping to improve development of lessons. Students can gain key skills in social networking within a secure walled garden environment.
“…high quality industry standard technologies within reach of teachers and students”
Advantageous Microsoft licensing arrangements including Office 365 ProPlus Benefit put high quality industry standard technologies within reach of teachers and students. This connects students in the classroom with the world of work and key technologies used outside of education.
The Microsoft Educator Network is a highly effective way to motivate and improve the skills of teachers, with access to free resources, lesson plans and educators from all over the world.
Skype and Lync provide industry standard communications platforms, which can improve school communications and give students key skills across a wide range of communication methods within the school and beyond broadening students’ horizons and helping their understanding of other cultures and nations. Instant messaging can help classroom management by enabling less confident students to ask questions. Desktop sharing features can be used to share best practice or for students to learn off their peers.
When it comes to inclusion, it’s important to realise that Windows has extensive built-in accessibility features. Narrator provides screen reading capabilities and with speech recognition you can have voice commands for navigating around the desktop. The magnifier tool enlarges part or all of the screen for visually impaired students. The USB connections available on Windows devices can connect a wide range of assistive technology peripherals.
Kevin Sait of Wymondham High School is an enthusiast for Yammer. Kevin was quick to see how well Yammer would support his drive to broaden the number of people involved in developing IT at Wymondham High. Now, it’s used not only to involve staff and students but also to cement relationships with Microsoft. Kevin sees Yammer, too, as a means of educating young people in the appropriate use of social media:
“We want them to use it for professional, school purposes as distinct from the general chat on other social sites.”
We’ll be publishing the remaining chapters of this eBook in due course. Please check this blog regularly for the latest posts, or subscribe to ensure you don’t miss a word!