Tech Lounge is a new social learning project created by the digital team at Gloucestershire College. Husna Ahmed a Digital learning Coach at Gloucestershire College talks about their ‘relaxed’ approach to supporting inclusive teaching skills.
We invite staff across the college from different departments to attend a relaxed conversational session to discuss digital tools that they have used to support their inclusive teaching practice.
We then showcase a new tool that they can take away and try out. Nine sessions are planned to run this year on all sites with different topics and tools.
How do staff benefit?
The sessions were well received by staff and found it valuable, as they get to learn about tools that help them address needs on accessibility, inclusion and productivity. They get to meet colleagues who ordinarily they wouldn’t get to meet on a day to day basis and hear firsthand about the successes colleagues have had on using certain tools in addition to learning about the new one.
The last two popular digital tools we presented were nearpod and Office 365 class notebook.
With nearpod staff were able to share class lectures that students could consume at their individual paces. They fed back ease with differentiation of content to their students and real-time feedback on quizzes, which showed them how well or not students were doing with the lesson being taught.
With the class note book staff found it useful in that it was so swift to distribute work to students and feedback was layered (text and audio) which is new and meant they could have a conversation-type feedback with the learner and create a sense of presence for the learners. Some say quieter students are more visible as they can see their work and offer support when they use the notebook in the session.
Our learning support staff (LSAs) use the notebook to take notes for absent students who can access the learning materials from home and for those cannot write. This eased the work for the LSA a great deal and collating useful notes for different subjects in one note book was found to be useful.
How do student benefit?
Students gained different benefits with different tools. With the nearpod the feedback was, they enjoyed the mode of delivery and found it engaging, which made the lesson more enjoyable.
With the OneNote as well as class notebook the positives were numerous. Dyslexic students found the learning tool addon good, the immersive reader feature allowed for focus on bits at a time, it allowed them to space the lines of text and make use of the screen reader.
Most of the students said the OneNote has enabled them to be more organized, easier to have one note book to work with (virtually infinite number of sections and pages) and link class lecture slides with their notes using the docking feature. That way they retain useful information better as it references the exact lecture slide with the notes written.
They also found the audio feedback used by staff in the class notebook useful, they could listen repeatedly and even post audio questions to the teacher.
We are hoping to make the project a mainstay within the college and increase its impact. We are also looking to collaborate with other FE institutions and share ideas on best practice with regards to accessibility, inclusion and digital pedagogy.