Experts wowed by IT use at Shireland Collegiate Academy

Lord Jim Knight, together with Doug Brown from Step A International, a world-wide educational, advisory organisation visited Shireland Collegiate Academy in Smethwick to look at the innovative use of technology used across the academy to support learning.

Ben Conway-Jones with Lord Jim Knight and Doug Brown
Ben Conway-Jones with Lord Jim Knight and Doug Brown

Lord Jim Knight, together with Doug Brown from Step A International, a world-wide educational, advisory organisation visited Shireland Collegiate Academy in Smethwick to look at the innovative use of technology used across the academy to support learning.

They met with students in Year 7 who were using PlayStations to learn about the environment and in Year 8 they were using Microsoft’s Surface to plot and interact with the journeys of the crusade.

Lord Knight was blown away by what he saw, especially when Year 11 student Ben Conway-Jones showed him his own website - www.furtheryourmaths.co.uk - that a small group of maths students had created to help support students in their learning of the subject. The site already in just over a week since launched has had almost 200 visits from across the world.

Lord Knight and Alex Walker
Lord Knight and Alex Walker

Equally impressive was the group of Year 9 students who are part of the Young People’s E-learning Network, who find e-learning resources and write online reviews for other students to read. “It’s given them a purpose and an audience to write for,” said Kirsty Tonks, e-learning Director at Shireland Collegiate Academy and lead teacher of the YPEN group.

“Instead of writing for just their teacher, their work is being read by a global audience and so gives them a real incentive to make sure their work is the best it can be. The fact that they are doing this writing in their own time shows what a motivation having that purpose has had.”

“I was so proud to host Lord Jim Knight and Doug Brown here at Shireland. As ever, our students were wonderful ambassadors for the academy. In our last OfSTED inspection our use of technology was judged to be Outstanding; today illustrated why!”

Sir Mark Grundy, Principal of Shireland, said: "I've been taking leadership positions in education for the last five years, and now, as part of my work with STEP-A, talk to many organisations and governments throughout the world. Shireland has been at the forefront of showing how technology can be used to improve learning and increase teacher efficiency and interest in their progress is international. I am delighted to come back again to see the latest world beating work by Sir Mark and his team."