A creative and varied learning environment
The functionality and adaptability of Brightspace enabled WBS to meet its objectives in rapidly migrating lessons online and continuing to provide a stimulating learning environment. The platform supported high levels of student logins, students engaged well with a variety of tasks and the school received positive feedback from parents.
“Brightspace enabled us to run a virtual school and we had excellent engagement, with students attending lessons, taking part in conversations and using discussion forums,” says Mark.
Variety in the tasks set helped the school maintain student engagement as Mark explains: “The Modern Foreign Languages department used the Video Assignments tool. Students cooking for their parents created videos of themselves describing what they were doing, in the language they were learning. We managed to keep engagement high by using the opportunities that virtual learning can give.”
Mark was delighted that even teachers who previously viewed technology as a barrier, embraced the transition, citing the live engagement they were still able to have with students as central to bringing them on board.
Despite the difficulties, the situation has raised skills levels with Mark saying: “Before, we had staff skilled in specific parts of the platform. Now, we have staff who are very skilled in online learning because Brightspace isn’t constraining, it actually opens up possibilities. Central to the success of our rapid move to 100% online learning was having a team of staff fully committed to providing the best possible educational experience to their students during lockdown. The beauty of Brightspace is its ability to leverage the individual skills and personalities of the teachers, thus maintaining their personal relationship with the students.”
WBS never underestimates the importance of a strong partnership with parents and was delighted at how positively they viewed the school’s handling of the challenge. The school sent out parent and student feedback questionnaires every fortnight and the results were overwhelmingly positive.
Looking ahead, WBS sees opportunities in the material it’s built up and the approach it adopted during testing times. The study skills programme for year 11s bridging the gap from GCSE to A-level will be recorded for use next year and beyond.
“We can flex Brightspace to a point where the content, assessments and grading criteria will be all set up ready for whatever the new normal ends up being, come September,” adds Mark. “This process would have been completely different if we weren’t a school that uses Brightspace. It gives you greater inspiration to do over and above, because of it we were able to deliver a proper, virtual school experience and give a fantastic service.”