From our Director of Digital Strategy
Over the past 6 months, since joining St Mary's, I have been working with the team to develop a clear strategy for digital literacy and learning. The core ethos behind our approach is that the technology supports and underpins the learning and does not replace it.
It is often easy to take the newest or most exciting piece of tech and throw it into the lessons. However, without considering how technology supports the objectives or how it will enhance what the students were already able to do, it overtakes the aims of the session. Technology is at its best when you don’t notice it is there. When it simply works seamlessly to support what you are trying to achieve.
Our vision for digital
In terms of learning, there will be a greater emphasis on digital literacy throughout the coming academic year. Students will focus on developing work-ready skills, as well as those that support their current education. In addition, digital literacy will focus on helping students to explore which applications are best for a task, with more freedom given to student choice - rather than a dictated media. Digital safety will play a key role in this aspect. It is important that students become conscientious but confident within the digital landscape, with the school guiding them as to how to evaluate their choices. We aim to empower independent digital citizens.
Having reviewed the systems and hardware in place at St Mary’s, we have launched the first part of an exciting development programme to upgrade our infrastructure and classrooms. This has progressed well, with the introduction (from September) of Microsoft Surface Pro tablets for students in Years 9 to 11 and a continued programme to upgrade screens in each classroom. Over the next year, we will continue to review software to allow students to explore subjects with as much depth and breadth as possible.
Adding new devices to our GCSE students should allow students and staff to be more innovative in their approach. We then plan to apply the best aspects of this, as we continue to introduce more advanced technology throughout the school. This will continue with a review of the potential that virtual and augmented reality offer, thoroughly assessing any potential impact.
As with the implementation of any technology, we will take a measured and thoughtful approach to ensure any investment shows a meaningful and long-term impact on student learning and wellbeing.
Our new E-sports club is so popular we have split it into three sessions to accommodate all entrants! Whilst in its infancy, this club will hopefully develop into a wider competition with similar schools, with opportunities for students to work as team managers, gain sponsorship and build their journalistic experience.
We are also looking to introduce extra-curricular activities on animation and game development for students keen to go beyond the curriculum in design and computer science.
It has been refreshing and a pleasure to join such an ambitious and caring community of staff, parents and students. There are many more exciting developments to come, and I look forward to continuing the positive foundations we are putting in place to keep the school at the forefront of digital learning.
Alex Brough, Director of Digital Strategy
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