Aim: To create an effective Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for students studying History, giving them access to course information, homework, learning activities and an online forum.
Background: Access to ICT facilities in the school was limited, and there was very little evidence that any effective use of ICT was taking place to enhance learning in the History Faculty.
Year 1: The main successes were with the Sixth Form, where feedback showed students were regularly using online tools, though more training was needed for staff. It was clear that progress was being held up as students were not being encouraged to use online learning across the school, so training was also offered to staff in other departments.
Year 2: Students’ usage of the online learning site increased significantly and funding was gained to purchase iPads. Staff were eager to get involved with the use of ICT in different ways, so rather than just building up a bank of information on the learning site, more training was provided to develop the skills of staff to use ICT in a way that would fit intended learning outcomes.
Year 3: Staff gained confidence in using ICT and increasingly began to use iPads with their classes. While they have proved more useful as a research tool than as an aid to learning, video making and quizzes have been utilised to facilitate learning.
Evidence: Student and staff surveys.
Impact: Over 72% of students surveyed agreed that the use of ICT in History has been helpful to them as learners. Their comments showed that they found it a useful resource to contextualise learning and provide support beyond the classroom. By the third year, over 94% of students had used iPads in lessons, and over 94% of students were aware of the faculty’s learning sites, compared with only 77% in 2013. The biggest impact has been with staff, who now see the benefits of using ICT to bring up to date methods of learning into their classrooms. 100% of teachers in the department said that the increased use of ICT has been beneficial to them.
Reflections: When it comes to using ICT, colleagues do need to see the benefits of programmes modelled for them in order to visualise and then actualise their own use of it. The clear challenge is that for the use of ICT to be successful, it should be widespread and heavily supported. It takes time to develop a resource bank and preliminary interactive activities, and beyond that it would take financial support and more expertise to develop ICT into an effective learning tool.
Contact: Victoria Middleditch, firstname.lastname@example.org