Over the first half of the summer term, our teachers and pupils have rapidly expanded their knowledge and use of our Microsoft platform to support learning. Pupils are receiving at least three live lessons with their teachers every school day – English, Maths and one other subject, including 11+ preparation, Science, Humanities, PHSRE, CRE, Languages, ICT, PE and Art. In addition they have time to complete and submit work offline outside of the lessons.
Microsoft Office 365 has proven to be an excellent platform, primarily using Outlook with safe email addresses for pupils (who cannot send or receive email outside of the Heathcote domain) and Teams for hosting live lessons and real-time chat. Support from Microsoft has also been invaluable.
Even while ensuring learning has continued at pace, the staff have continually looked for ways to improve the experience; reducing time spent on uploading and downloading work to enable them to focus on lesson preparation, marking and feedback. And to reduce the amount of paper work that needs to be downloaded, printed and uploaded by the pupils and their parents.
With all that in mind, all teachers have been utilising the Microsoft Education Centre to learn more about what other applications could be useful, being mindful that the pupils need to focus on their subjects. Microsoft offers a number of free online training courses as part of their Office 365 Teacher Academy learning path.
We are incredibly proud that all of our teaching staff, as well as our management team, have completed a number of these courses, earning them their certification as Microsoft Innovative Educators! We are truly excited about how we can enhance our teaching through this technology, even when we return to the classroom.
This is just another example of our progressive attitude at Heathcote – nothing stops us learning!