Access and login issues limit learning opportunities
Until recently, the staff at King's High School in Warwick grappled with common digital learning issues. Teachers and students couldn't reap the full benefits of educational applications and resources because they often couldn't find these tools or forgot their login details.
School leaders also didn't have an easy way to measure if students were even engaging with learning applications. As a result, they didn't always know if teachers needed additional training or if they should cut low-use applications from the budget.
Teachers at the all-girls school feared losing critical instruction time to forgotten passwords, misspelled URLs, or time spent searching for applications when asking students to use apps on their own devices.
Instead, some teachers projected applications and resources on interactive whiteboards at the front of the class. That meant students were missing opportunities to grow critical IT skills, says Jenny Parkinson-Mills, the school's Director of Educational Innovation.
"These girls need to be IT literate. If they can't use the technology, they're at a disadvantage when they get into the workplace or further education," explains Parkinson-Mills.
More instruction time, better data
In 2019, the high school launched a bring-your-own-device program for years 8 to 13, just as they moved to a new state-of-the-art building. Parkinson-Mills knew students needed quick access to tools and apps from their devices at home and school. She promptly discovered ClassLink's single sign-on service was the solution they needed.
"ClassLink solved our access problems by putting all the applications students and teachers use in one place and removing the girls' need to remember those logins," explains Parkinson-Mills.
Easy access to online learning resources created more time for crucial parts of teaching and learning, including discussion and questions. Now students can quickly find and use their ecosystem of learning tools from one place, ClassLink's Launchpad. Examples of those tools include Microsoft 365 productivity and email, Planet eStream for learning media such as videos, digital textbooks, and support guides.
With ClassLink Analytics, Parkinson-Mills can measure engagement with applications helping her understand when staff need additional training. She also uses that data to decide if she needs to let go of underused tools. "Without ClassLink Analytics, it wouldn't be as easy to quickly recognise and address issues around adoption and low usage of applications," explains Parkinson-Mills.
While ClassLink includes access to over 6000 learning applications, some applications that King's High School students use weren't included in ClassLink's Launchpad. With a simple request, ClassLink's support team added several UK-specific learning applications to the school's Launchpad for easy access including, Kerboodle, iSAMS, Unifrog, Exampro, and Dynamic Learning.
ClassLink supports independence, resilience, and remote learning
Along with making it easier to use digital learning resources, saving instruction time, and providing useful analytics, Parkinson-Mills says ClassLink also helps students build essential skills.
Students learn to work independently at school and home because they can easily find and log into resources. With resources like digital textbooks at their fingertips, students take the initiative to seek answers to questions themselves before asking their teacher. "That's resilience-building!" enthuses Parkinson-Mills.
ClassLink was also crucial during the recent move to remote learning amid worldwide school closures. With one place to access apps, tools, and links to resources, teachers could quickly share lesson plans, assignments, and hold live and pre-recorded lessons—making the switch to remote learning seamless.
Students and teachers can also easily access all their files from any device using ClassLink My Files. Parkinson-Mills says that was significant in helping students access everything they needed for remote learning in a BYOD environment where devices are mainly Windows-based, but also include Apple products.
"The virtual classroom was basically the same as the physical classroom," explains Parkinson-Mills. "Teachers and students were ready for remote learning because they could access everything they needed through ClassLink."