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Juliet O’Callaghan is the lead professional and head of psychology at the school. Her interest in pedagogy and how to motivate students has always driven her teaching practice.

Four years ago, Juliet noticed that her Sixth Form learners seemed to lack independent study skills. They were not achieving as much as they were expected to. Juliet decided to use the school’s VLE, itslearning, to design a curriculum that would empower and enable her students to take charge of their learning. She explains, “A VLE is a great piece of technology that can actually help that to happen. Using itslearning has had a very positive effect.”

Sharing resources with other teachers

Teachers who teach the same courses at Wooten often create a shared page on itslearning to store resources. On this page, teachers have their own folders containing their lessons, homework assignments, discussions, etc. Fellow teachers can see and share everything on the page, but students can only see the information that is relevant to their classes. This is done by setting permissions in itslearning. “You can do that quite easily,” Juliet says, and she shows us how in the video.

Formative assessment

“When you want to provide detailed formative comments, the itslearning assignment function makes it much easier for you to provide feedback, and to monitor your students’ responses to this. It also provides a record of progress over time, which is becoming increasingly important.”

Personalised learning

“I’ve found that the VLE is great for differentiation,” Juliet reports. “I can set individual assignments for individual students, which is great. I can also use a flipped learning approach and ask students to watch a video and answer associated questions on itslearning. I can check their answers before the next lesson to see who is struggling and who found it easy. The start of the next lesson is much more efficient because I’m not collecting homework. I get the students straight onto the starter activity, which is brilliant. I can then set personalised learning by spending time with students who’ve struggled, while others can do some work to extend their knowledge.”

The power of the VLE

“Entire course are set up so that students can access them from anywhere. The planner clearly states what they should be doing in lessons. They have all of the resources and assignments attached. This means that they can work relatively independently, or in groups, rather than me having to direct all their learning.” “Using itslearning quizzes and assignments you can set up homework that marks itself. This frees teachers up to focus on what the results are telling you, and actually act on those, or alter their teaching plans accordingly.”

Professional Development

Juliet is the lead professional at the school for the VLE, and is in charge of training staff members in its use. When asked how she gets her staff to use itslearning, she replied, “We made it a high priority in our school development plan, three years in a row, scheduling in CPD (continuing professional development) time for the whole staff, throughout the year. There’s no magic way of doing it…there are lots of different approaches: using it, talking about it, showing it, training with it; it’s a continual drip-feed approach that works.”

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