Parkstone Grammar School already had an existing virtual learning environment, but staff and students found it frustrating to use. So, Network Manager Craig Judd set out to find a new learning platform that would meet the school's needs.
Craig and his team took off to BETT armed with a clipboard and a set of tough criteria to test all VLE suppliers and find a new solution.
The criteria was underpinned by:
- Ease of use
- Wide range of functionality
- Integration with SIMS
- Ability to create, tag, store and search for resources easily and quickly
Three days later, Craig and his team had a clear winner: itslearning. And soon after implementation, users confirmed that Craig had made the right choice. User uptake of staff and students quickly reached 100% and teachers found the two-click process for creating a course fantastic.
"At BETT, itslearning came up trumps, and the package ticked all the boxes. Eight months in it still ticks all the boxes."
- Craig Judd, Network Manager
The greatest barrier was the damage caused to staff perception of learning platforms by the previous software. But once itslearning was deployed, these fears were swiftly allayed, staff just had to log in and start using itslearning to see how easy it was to use. Staff were soon creating courses and lessons, making content and asking all sorts of questions of Craig and his team.
Each week sees yet more courses being created by teachers, resulting in greater choice for pupils, a wider availability of curriculum and non-curriculum activities and ever deeper embedding of it’s learning across the entire school.
"The overall effects of adopting itslearning have far exceeded my estimation in terms of early adopters and progress. Our pupils have taken to it like second nature. Apart from the initial migration from a previous VLE, day to day itslearning administration is far easier than I could have hoped for."
- Craig Judd, Network Manager
Since the introduction of itslearning there has been a marked increase in the engagement of all pupils within many subjects. Students find the access to information in and out of lesson time of significant benefit and they interact with class mates and teachers in a live interactive manner. Students who are away from school for long periods of time due to illness have also felt more included.
itslearning has provided teachers with the tools, confidence and additional time needed to support personalised learning to help raise standards and inclusion for all. Teachers now share online schemes of work, lesson plans, homework and revision resources, which greatly benefits departments for lesson planning. It also has increased staff ICT skills. Staff who were not really ICT competent or confident have taken onboard itslearning with open arms!
Next steps and opportunities
- Student's use of e-portfolios for writing blogs, sharing best practice within the school and creating lifelong learning opportunities.
- Increased use of the latest tools within itslearning to include podcasting and video embedding