St Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Multi Academy Trust comprises eight schools working together to provide the best opportunities for every child. The Academy came to us with a desire to improve their technology offering both during and after the pandemic.
Whilst technology is now an integral part of teaching and learning, the government’s Education Technology Survey 2020 – 2021 found that 68% of teachers said they were not comfortable or confident with online learning platforms or technology. Following this, 64% of teachers say skills and confidence are barriers to the uptake of technology for teaching.
When St Cuthberts first approached us, we conducted our own research to find out more about how technology has impacted both teachers and children and how their experience could be improved. This research included a comprehensive skills audit and a short questionnaire.
“Staff need support to best use the technology to teach, support and assess each child, catering to individual needs.” Jess Stortch – St Anthony’s VC Academy.
“I think parents would benefit from something which would support them and their child in using the software and technology at home.” Anna Orlowska – St Richard’s
“To improve further, there needs to be a more collaborative approach to lessons using tools such as Jamboard. This will help create a sense of community that can be lacking in online learning.” Laura Illingworth – St Mary Queen of Martyrs
From both the feedback we received and the skills audit we conducted, it was clear that there needed to be training implemented, not just for teachers but for parents too, to help develop a better understanding of technology and increase engagement and submission rates.
To support the Academy, we proposed a 3 step plan designed to support both teachers and parents:
- An online parent training session on how to use Google Classroom. This included viewing assignments, completing work and responding to feedback, joining Google Meet for live sessions, considerations when using mobile or tablet devices and where they can get further support.
- Google Educator Level 1 Training was completed by one representative from each school within the Academy. Having someone with a Google Educator Level 1 certification not only advances their professional development but validates their proficiency with Google’s tools for the classroom. This means they can have a bigger impact, offer support to other teachers and continue to engage students through technology.
- Whole staff training around using tools to support the use of technology both in school and remotely was given. This training had the goal of bridging the gap between teachers and the technological skill gaps that were identified during the skills audit.
After the training phases had been completed, we conducted another skills audit to assess the difference we had made.
Overall, we found a 55% increase in the amount of individual work completed after the parent training session.
The difference in the overall engagement from teachers, assignments sent, individual pieces of work completed and percentage of work completed all increased across the board.
Following this, there was an overall improvement in engagement across the schools and year groups which resulted in:
- Increase in work assigned.
- Increase in work submitted.
- Increase in teacher engagement per school & per year group.
- Decrease in teachers not assigning work correctly.
- Decrease in teachers setting work in the wrong format.
“Completing the Google Educator Training has enabled me to support staff to deliver high-quality lessons in a challenging time. The training helped my understanding and gave me the opportunity to work alongside colleagues as they delivered online learning, blended learning and then brought the technology back into the classroom.
Pupils throughout the school are now far more confident in the use of technology and are using this to support their learning across the curriculum. There has been a real buzz as we introduce new ideas and software to children and the platform we use has enabled them to continue their learning at home.”
Gary Shaw, Head of School, St Thomas More
“The Google Educator training was direct and clear with the delivery of the training tailored to the needs of the group. Jonathan was open to the questions we had. While my training has not yet had an impact in the classroom, as my children are special needs, I now have the knowledge and confidence to help staff across the school.”
Ben Bartle, SEN Provision, St Richard’s VC Academy
“The good training was good; Johnathan had a really clear way of explaining things and it helped me to support our staff in school with Google classroom and Google docs etc.”
Sarah Woodmansey, Head, St Charles VC Academy
Due to the success of this training, St Cuthbert’s have since decided to continue with phase 2, where they have chosen to proceed with a Google Educator Level 2 certification. This will be accompanied by further training per skill level, including:
Fundamental training for using drive, classroom, docs, sheets, slides and drawings to help with a paperless classroom. This is designed for teachers who need more confidence in the basics of using entry-level Google products.
A deeper dive into Google drive, docs, sheets, slides, forms, drawings, classroom and look to incorporate other Google tools, such as Youtube, Jamboard, Tasks, Keep, Contacts, Blogger & Sites.
Builds on the intermediate training at a faster pace, and introduces advanced add-ons and extensions to enhance Google Workspace, as well as giving advanced users access to Applied Digital Skills and Be Internet Awesome resources.
If your school wants to make sure it is getting the most out of technology, you may want to consider our Professional Services including skills audits, continuing professional development, consulting and installations.
Contact us today and we’ll help find the best solution for your school or academy.
Published: December 1