On Thursday 8th June, Repton hosted a Microsoft Digital Transformation Conference for delegates from schools across the country. With input from Microsoft, the conference explored the issues involved in developing and implementing a digital strategy at a school, and its impact on teaching and learning and more broadly for a school and its stakeholders.
Following a welcome from Repton’s Deputy Head (Academic), Mr Tim Owen and a presentation on Repton’s digital strategy journey from Director of ICT, Mr Lee Alderman, teacher of English, Mr James Wilton and Head of Academic Music, Mr Peter Siepmann gave presentations on the use of Microsoft Surfaces in the classroom.
James discussed how Microsoft apps had increased pupils’ retention of information and allowed them to be more self-directed by reviewing and developing their work outside the classroom. He looked at Office Mix, a plugin for PowerPoint, which allows recording of voice and annotation over the slideshow, which then gets turned into a video. In a similar fashion, OneNote Class Notebooks allow pupils to collaborate in developing an idea using something called the ‘collaboration space’, which allows them to share notes and resources in real time online from anywhere they might be working.
James touched on two key functions of OneNote. Firstly, the ability to create a multimedia resource library of videos, pdfs, notes, images that all can access but only the teacher can alter and secondly that the teacher of the class can access all the notebooks of all the pupils, allowing marking and formative feedback to be much more fluid.
Head of Music, Peter Siepmann looked at how both pupils and staff use the Microsoft Surfaces in the Music Department. The use of online music production platform ‘Soundtrap’ has enabled pupils to work collaboratively on musical composition projects. Peter also talked about digital inking technology and the active stylus. The Surface (coupled with a classroom projector) and PDF annotation software has changed the way you are able to teach the analysis of set works. It enables you to easily and intuitively annotate scores in lessons, and to store and send these annotations if necessary. Similarly, the Surface means you can mark work quickly on-screen with the stylus, and email it straight back to the pupils.
It was fantastic to have the opportunity to host this conference and we hope all involved found the day insightful and enjoyable.