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managing ict managing ict
Morris, head
at Moorside
College, explains their
journey to achieving
24-hour education
e tell people that
Moorside is open for
business 24-hours-a-day,
seven-days-a-week. If a
student wants to hand in
their GCSe coursework on
Christmas Day, they can.
And they do. Our virtual learning environment (Vle)
received 84 hits on Christmas Day last year.
I do not know who these people were – although
I do know that I was not one of them. But what this
Open all hours
statistic shows is that our Vle has become an integral
part of how Moorside operates.
Four years ago, I was frustrated by the ad hoc way
in which we were supporting learning through ICt.
We just were not being ambitious enough. I wanted developing resources on the learning platform and which we publish at the start of the academic year. We have been revolutionised by the implementation
to find a way of focusing our ICt expertise to the full creating ways in which staff working practices were For instance, everyone knows that the IS for year 7 of a Vle. It raises standards but also improves
advantage of students’ learning and staff work/life made much easier. Crucially, they also led an excellent in week three of the spring term is english. Staff soon relationships. It has certainly brought teachers and
balance. I knew we had the right people because we staff training programme. saw that the learning platform was an ideal context for students closer together because it gives a great context
had deliberately appointed young staff with great ICt But staff use was still inconsistent, so I issued supporting IS – so that students could access guidance for communication and support.
expertise (techies, in other words). I just needed to find a diktat. I told everyone that from a certain date all and support online. So where next?
common ground for them to collaborate. Moorside business could only be done by using the Some teachers even film themselves giving advice Well, we are excited about developing a parent portal
At this time, we have initiated the usual shopping email system on the learning platform. this worked and then post it on the Vle. Fortunately over 80 per which will give parents and carers daily information
around process for a learning platform by arranging brilliantly because the school could not function without cent of our families are online, but we do still have to about their children’s behaviour, attendance, punctuality
three presentations from different companies. the receiving emails, and consequently our culture started make hard copy provision for those who are not. and, above all, learning. It might even remove the need
platform that was on the top of our list was by far the to change. All subjects now use the learning platform, this has certainly impacted well on levels of for the “reporting to parents treadmill” we are on at the
most expensive, so I delayed my decision much to the but I will give you just one example of how things have independent learning and has increased the extent to moment.
frustration of the techies. then they came to me mob- improved. which our students study in their own time. We know Implementing a Vle is one of the best things I have
handed. they said this decision should not be made We knew that our homework policy was not working. this because of our recent parent and pupil surveys. done in six years of headship. We really are learning all
purely on the basis of cash. I was told to stop being a We also knew that our kids were not very good at the overall benefit of our learning platform can also of the time. SecEd
“bean counter” and so we went for it! independent learning. So we scrapped homework in key be measured by the odd occasions when our internet
the installation and training process was relatively stage 3. provider fouls up. If the Vle goes down we feel that • Jonathan Morris is headteacher of Moorside
easy because of the newly formed ICt focus group. Instead we introduced independent study (IS). this our life support system has been switched off; it really Technology College in Durham, which uses the Frog
this consisted of five Vle champions who trail-blazed is a weekly extended task governed by a rota of subjects is that bad. learning platform.
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SecEd • July 9 2009 11
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