Such a treat to visit Andrew and see his innovation suites at Dulwich College. Whilst they still have a traditional Computing Suite with 25 fixed PCs, 4 of the 5 newly designed rooms in the Science Laboratory now have flexible furniture with whiteboards on all walls and whiteboard enabled desking. The pupils are at the heart of lessons in these rooms and are expected to be engaged. 

We were absolutely bowled over with breadth of innovation at Dulwich college. Andrew has undertaken an IT education Vision over the past 18 months which has looked at three factors: the Microsoft technology stack, a new Informatics Curriculum and integration of IT into lessons through new spaces. It was important to have an understanding of how these areas can be put together and the look at the issues of scaling up the findings for 170 members of teaching staff and 1600 pupils. The next phase is an emphasis on training and ensure departments have the tools necessary to integrate technology fully into their teaching – where appropriate. 

Space 

@dracstorey says space is key in order to disrupt the boys and the teachers so that the delivery of lessons change. Innovation Suites put pupils at the centre of learning and show how inappropriate old Victorian style rooms are. See #Digitaldisruptor and Decoding the i.d. Lab 

Technology Stack 

To make full use of the Microsoft Technology stack in the classroom a 1:1 device is essential. The technology of Teams and OneNote require high specification devices (minimum 256GB, 8G RAM) for teachers; shared networked machines in classrooms and offices is not an option.  

Teachers want to “open the device and go when they arrive”. The College is using InTune to quickly configure and control 1:1 devices for staff and students and all staff receive 2 hours of training when they receive the device.  

In addition, touch screen with inking has proved to be a game-changer in the classroom for Sixth From students. The ability to write in formulae in Maths, Science and annotate/produce diagrams in humanities using the inking space and screen capture and then to copy and insert into OneNote saves time. There is more focus on content than fiddling with technology. The use of a short throw projector and Miracast dongle gives all students and staff the ability to share their work at any time.   

Teams is beginning to change the way assignments are delivered.  Assessment can take place here with feedback given on submission and there are no excuses of “lost” work.  Supporting this is the  Class Notebook Add-In for OneNote which allows for informal assessment; the latest “lock pages” feature is driving this as an alternative to assignments. The flexibility of the Microsoft technology stack means that departments can choose how they want to work and not have the technology tail wagging the dog. The College is moving from old on-premise shared drives for departments to storing resources in Teams and delivering lessons through OneNote – a quick and efficient way to create worksheets and deliver them to pupils. Marking is quick and easy as the worksheets are always available online. The time taken to deliver work and mark has been significantly reduced in those departments who are using the technology and a department of 4 have reduced their A level photocopying time by around 48 hours in the year; a whole 6 days (not) stood at the photocopier! 

 

Informatics Curriculum 

The change in curriculum from ICT to Computing 5 years ago inevitably led to a gap in the curriculum as enthusiastic teachers abandoned “boring” IT and moved to “exciting” code writing. One can see the attraction but at Dulwich College Andrew has always guarded against removing the bread and butter of digital skills The Computing department remains strong with a separate Head of Computing and GCSE and A Level numbers flourishing. A brand-new Informatics Curriculum which blends coding (Python, Pygame, Small Basic and JavaScript), e-safety, office skills with the important know-how required to set-up and look after a device. Additional modules allow more advanced students to produce mobile apps and sophisticated web sites. The pupils should not be slaves to the technology they should be masters.  

 

The curriculum is delivered in a similar way to a MOOC by providing booklets, videos, tasks and a wonderful marking engine. The e-portal tracks pupil progress from years 7 – 13 and the British Computer Society has recently given their endorsement to the curriculum. In addition, the coursework component ensures that Digital Leaders are able to see the quality of work pupils produce using their digital skills and there is a confidence when the inspectors look for evidence of pupils’ digital skills.  The course promotes learning autonomy in the students and the marking and tracking technology is available for £10 per head and lasts for the lifetime of each pupil at school. 

Head to http://learninformatics.co.uk/ for more information. 

 

Next Stage 

Teams and OneNote are being used throughout the College; there are large pockets of good practice. A working group now meets and a training package for teachers and departments is being produced to give even the most nervous user the confidence to start using their 1:1 device with pupils. The College has gone through the novelty phase and staff are now excited about the future. 

1:1 devices for pupils is now encouraged and will soon be mandatory in the Sixth Form as the Andrew is determined not just to improve learning through the use of technology but also to ensure that when they leave Old Alleynians are prepared for a future in the digital marketplace. Yes, they will have digital skills but also know how to communicate, collaborate and work as part of a team.  

It is essential says Andrew that we are not just using IT because it is there; it must enable us all to be more efficient. For example, boys at Dulwich now use Sway regularly. This enables them to provide informal presentations where they can focus on content and demonstrating their understanding of the material rather than wasting time on producing a PowerPoint with unnecessary animations and poorly inserted pictures. Pupils will only ever be consumers of digital content unless we teach them how to be productive 

Andrew is determined to convert his pupils from being digital savages to being digital experts. You can contact him on storeyac@dulwich.org.uk