Digital Learning in Old Bawn Community School

06 Oct 2020

Windows devices and Office 365 enable smooth transition to Blended Learning in Old Bawn Community School

 

As a large, multicultural school with almost 1000 students, recently nominated as a Microsoft Showcase School, Old Bawn Community School took the decision to begin the process of introducing Windows devices for all teachers and students to foster students’ independent learning skills, as Principal Ursula McCabe tells us:

“We wanted to empower our teachers, challenge our students and deliver curriculum content using 21st century skills that would prepare students for further education and the world of work. Wriggle trained our teachers as digital leaders who shared their skills with their departments. We then introduced devices for each student (1:1) starting with first years this year.”

“Lessons have now become more interactive with the onus on students to explore processes and answers as opposed to learning through direct instruction.“

 

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Laying the Foundations to Learn Anytime, Anywhere

The school’s digital transformation played an important role in providing a smooth transition to remote learning as Maths teacher Yvonne Marley explains:

“By making the decision to embed Office 365 and the use of 1:1 devices in the school we were unexpectedly planning for remote learning as students and teachers alike were very familiar with learning independently using their devices and Office 365. This whole school approach meant that students understood the platform and were more engaged from the start.”

 

Developing New Methodologies

Supported and trained by Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator (MIEE) and Deputy Principal in charge of technology, Sarah Gibbons, and their Digital Coordinator and MIEE, Cathal Molloy, teachers used their new skills to change how they taught to enhance learning and increase engagement describes Yvonne:

“We frequently use the flipped classroom method of teaching and created video content to teach students. I recorded my lessons using Screen Recording and exported instructional videos directly to Stream, sharing the link with students. Feedback indicates that students found these videos hugely helpful and I had peace of mind that my material was being shared on a private platform which is safe for students to use.”

 

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Reducing Teacher Workload

Using Office 365 throughout the school also meant a reduction in teacher workload and greater visibility of student progress explains Yvonne:

“I could post resources and solutions in our Teams channel that were accessible to all students, which reduced my workload as I only had to post solutions once. Thanks to the way Wriggle set up Teams for Old Bawn Community School, I had full control within the general posts and could delete and edit messages, mute posts if needed and could easily see who had handed the work in and provide feedback to the student.”

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Building on the Successes of Remote Learning

The school are particularly proud of their students who put their skills into practice and rose to the challenge of remote learning explains Cathal:

“Feedback from classes reported that as the period of remote learning continued, students’ confidence in asking for help increased, peer to peer collaboration was enhanced and students’ digital skills developed with students seeing the benefit of reviewing new material before a class and revising the lesson material at their own pace.”

Student Kacey echoes this feedback as she explains:

“I have discovered that as a learner, I pick things up better when they are explained numerous times. The pre-recorded videos our teachers posted allowed me to pause or replay the video whenever I needed, ensuring I retained the information.”

Having introduced the 1:1 device model to first years this year, the school found it extremely beneficial, especially during school closures Ursula explains:

“1st years are in the 1:1 model while the rest of the school community were dependent on their own devices and in most cases their phones. The difference was huge with our 1st year students who had the necessary devices and tools to support their work. Having seen the difference it made to those students, we look forward to continuing to work with Wriggle as we expand our 1:1 device model to our new 1st year group this year.”

 

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