Westminster Kingsway College shortlisted for prestigious national award - Westminster Kingsway College

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Westminster Kingsway College shortlisted for prestigious national award

Thursday 21 December 2017

 

Westminster Kingsway has been shortlisted for a prestigious Times Educational Supplement (TES) Further Education Award, for its use of new technology to support students’ learning.

The nomination, in the Outstanding use of technology for improving teaching, learning and assessment category, pits Westminster Kingsway against seven other leading colleges from around the country. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on 24 February 2018.

“This nomination is for our project ‘E- learning for everyone’.” explains Julie Sinclair, Westminster Kingsway’s Head of Teaching Learning and Innovation, who led the project. “It had two main aims. Firstly, to upskill teachers in a supportive environment, encouraging the embedding of digital technology in the classroom, and secondly, to encourage and support innovation throughout the college. For us, firmly basing technology-enhanced learning within our teaching and learning is crucial in helping equip our students for life and their working life after college.”

What is technology-enhanced learning?

As the name suggests, technology-enhanced learning uses technology to help students learn better. In practice, this takes a multitude of different forms and teachers and students use a variety of devices. For example, teachers have set online quizzes that students take using their smartphones to check their learning, while others have used apps like Nearpod to present information and engage students, and Google docs to share documents. And in our award-winning culinary faculty, one of our chef lecturers and his students use a GoPro to photograph and video students’ culinary work – an increasingly valuable skill in an era of social media and TV chefs.

For technology to make a real difference, it was important to help as many teachers as possible understand the opportunities that technology could bring and enable them to make best use of it – really embedding technology in their students’ learning. The key to success has been the excellent input from the e-learning leaders and coaching team who provided bespoke and responsive support for our teachers. In all, they have worked with over 100 teaching staff across the college, who, in turn have used their new skills and confidence with their students – ensuring that hundreds of young people have already benefitted.

To further support teachers, the college has set-up a central innovation fund, where teachers can ‘bid’ internally for funds – for example, to develop learning packages that blend technology with more traditional teaching methods.  There has already been a number of bids with successful outcomes, including online material being produced for teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and pharmacy courses. The college is reaching out to the wider Further Education community too, by being a member of an e-learning community of London colleges to exchange ideas and have hosted two of these events at the Victoria campus.

Maintaining the momentum and continuing to facilitate and drive innovation will be the key to future success. Feedback from staff and students so far is positive, with a real appetite to embrace the use of technology in the classroom. The team know there is more work to do and they will continue to work with teachers and students to improve and refine their approach. The college feels strongly that giving the teachers a clear sense of ownership is important, so Westminster Kingsway have made the deliberate decision to embed technology-enhanced learning firmly within teaching, learning and assessment.

Kim Caplin (Principal of Westminster Kingsway College) said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been nominated for the third time for a TES Award. It’s is a real endorsement of our teacher and student-led approach to technology in the classroom, and we’re hopeful of success at the Awards in February.  For this project, our next step is to developing it further and measure our successes, and so we will be tracking a big cohort of students through the next year, to better measure the impact that using technology has on their exam results.”

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