Deputy Head Henry Rickman

Northampton High School’s Deputy Head Academic Henry Rickman talks about the digital classroom and how Digacy has been long established across the school. 

‘We launched Digacy as a concept in school over two years ago, with the vision of bringing all things technological together under one banner, the aim was to ensure our students have a healthy and holistic understanding of their digital personas and are ready for the changing world of work. 

Of course, the pandemic and associated lockdowns have pushed technology even further to the forefront of our thinking, and really allowed us to indulge our curiosity in all things EdTech related. 

Students’ access to 1 to 1 devices both in school and in Guided Home Learning (GHL) has prompted the use of some amazing resources that can only really work electronically. For example, we have used intelligent quizzes from Kuizical and students have improved their language skills with Memrise.com. Socrative.com allows for rapid reviews of understanding, and Bubbl.us is great for those with a more visual style of learning. Poll Everywhere is a tool to help teachers gather instant feedback from students, as is Padlet, while Seneca Learning offers online courses to complement our own resources. There are also great software add-ons that enhance the Google Classroom approach. One of these is Mote, a tool that delivers teacher’s oral feedback to student work, and Jamboard, which opens up collaborative opportunities in virtual lessons. 

On the flipside, there have been concerns about screen time overload in lockdown and we have been working to mitigate this. To borrow the words of educationalist Doug Lemov, we aim to ‘dissolve the screen’, i.e. make learning as close to the real classroom experience as possible. We are experimenting with screen ‘timeout’ periods and activities that require students to get out of their chairs, such as scavenger hunts. And, of course, the sport and wellbeing curriculum continues to thrive, with our expert teachers ensuring that students can take part in physical activity, safely, at home. 

When we can make a safe return to school, I am confident that the best parts of the ‘new normal’ will return with us to the classroom. Through the Digacy programme, we can embed the best EdTech into the curriculum, to ensure students not only love learning in the technological age, but have the right skills to face a changing future’. To find out more, contact Northampton High School today: northamptonhigh.co.uk, 01604 765765 

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