As the Head of Digital Learning for Thomas’s London Day School – four schools in West London catering to pupils aged 5-13 – Stuart Hammersley was responsible for creating a cross school vision for the use of technology for teaching and learning.
While it may seem obvious now how crucial digital technology is in today’s educational environments, when Hammersley first proposed expanding the use of technology, he needed to not only clearly articulate how the change in teaching was rooted in pedagogy, but also convince all the stakeholders to get buy-in and share ownership of his vision.
Pitching new technology for your school
The vision: to see all pupils and teachers using technology to create engaging and innovative materials to support the development of thinking, questioning and applying an enquiry mindset curriculum.
The process involved careful planning, regular strategy meetings, and refining systems to make sure they had the necessary infrastructure in place and could meet the needs of both the curriculum and pupils. Along with making sure to provide staff both continuous professional development and recognition, they planned for robust parental engagement to pre-empt and address any concerns.
Deployment begins, training continues
In September 2018, 600 1:1 iPads were deployed alongside 1,000 shared devices, for a total of 1,600 iPads through the schools.
A suite of core apps that are cross curricular was used across all four schools, enabling all pupils to work in a collaborative, creative nature and use any of these apps independently or in combination with others to creatively communicate their understanding on a topic.
Staff training continued, both in-classroom hands-on with educators and students, and more formal teacher training sessions, with a system of creative learning menus for engagement and training.
Pandemic pivot: going fully remote
When COVID-19 became a worldwide issue, the digital team saw an opportunity to progress the use of digital technology across the schools, with many of the systems already being used and primed for expansion.
From the first meeting on March 4, 2020, they progressed through trainings, in-school trials, to school closing on March 20, they managed to successfully transition from a blended learning environment to remote learning.
The necessary addition of Zoom for a live element required remote training and support to all staff, including remote troubleshooting.
As they slowly returned to school, teachers were more open to pushing the boundaries and learning more.
To learn more about how pushing the boundaries of digital learning helped Thomas’s Day school thrive in the worst of times, watch the full Bett 2022 session at the link below.
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Learn more about how iPads and Apple technology facilitated remote learning at Thomas’s Day School.
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