>History of E-Learning at Costello

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Topics: E-Learning, Education

Costello Technology College is a specialist technology college now in it’s third phase of designation. We had an OfSTED inspection at the beginning of October 2008 and we are just reshaping our SDP to resubmit for re-designation. This is my third year at the college and the main thrust behind my appointment was to bring technology to the forefront of our ethos. I do pretty much all the normal things that an Assistant Headteacher does but I am also Director of Specialism, Director of Community Learning and shape the colleges IT strategic vision – something that is so important if we are going to get buy in from everyone.

 

There’s quite a bit of confusion of technology status from both staff and community stakeholders. Our specialist departments are Maths, Science and Technology. It is interesting that ICT got dropped from the list of these specialist departments, although it is still an important element of the work that we do with our wider community. We’ve found it difficult in the past to develop projects that can see our specialist departments taking a big lead in developing whole school improvement. The development of E-Learning stuck out as something that would really address this. I joined the school on the back of a large capital investment in IT infrastructure (£150k+) – the college had just procured a big overhaul of their infrastructure and had installed an RM CC3 network. In terms of access to E-Learning this was pretty minimal, students could access their network areas from home using RM’s Easylink (Webfolders) and staff could place documents for students to access through Learning Resource’s. The college had made the right decision not to try for anything more at this point as incremental change is the key to embedding technology, getting buy in from staff – taking ownership and moving developments forward. At the time they neither had the staff expertise or capacity to move things forward any further.

Staff at the college are receptive to technology and change, so long as this is managed very carefully-within 4 months of me joining the college we had pushed email as the standard form of internal communication – which has had a huge impact on whole school efficiency. I facilitated the introduction of a digital signage solution around the college to (a) communicate with students and (b) have a media rich forum to showcase their successes. Investments was also made into a permanent IP Video conferencing facility.

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