Staff are providing one-to-one coaching and feedback via the video call tool in Teams as they cut their relatives’ hair in their own homes. Students have also been able to complete practical assessments via Teams and access support and guidance from teachers.
The college has also built a SharePoint site so teachers can share training resources. While this has helped staff during the pandemic, the college plans to continue using the site to share resources as lockdown is lifted.
Steve Wileman, Head of Digital Learning at South Staffordshire College, said: “We have embraced Microsoft technology to enable our students and staff to continue working from home. It’s been a very uncertain and worrying time for young people, so by using Teams we have been able to allow them to continue learning. In doing so we can help them to continue doing what they love and prepare for their future careers.”
Staff and students involved in the college’s Animal Care course are also using Teams, as well as video-sharing tool Stream.
Prior to the lockdown, students worked in small groups to observe chinchillas, guinea pigs and rabbits in their enclosures before writing essays on animal behaviour. Now, students use Stream to watch a pre-recorded video (see below), ensuring that everyone gets the same access to the animals. It also improves the welfare of the animals as groups of people are no longer passing their enclosures.
Kerry Owen, an Animal Care teacher at South Staffordshire College, said “My students were really proactive in asking for live lessons, and once we did one, they kept asking for more. They found it really helpful to the point that some are now waiting for that session before they continue with their remote work because they find it much easier to engage with.”
Brandon Barnes, a new member of the Animal Care team at South Staffordshire College, said: “As a new member of staff, to be able to work cooperatively and communicate a question that I need to ask has really helped me in lockdown, normally I’d just be able to go and ask somebody the question but with remote working that wouldn’t be easy otherwise.”
Student welfare was the top priority for the college, so they rolled out a number of tools to help communication and allow pupils to provide feedback on remote learning and raise any concerns.
Office 365 tools, such as Shifts and Forms, are being used to help support and manage a phased return to the college for both staff and students.
Chris Rothwell, Director of Education at Microsoft UK, said: “Hearing about how South Staffordshire College has innovated with its use of Teams and other technology across a range of practical programmes is very exciting. I love to see the creativity that students are continuing to exercise through learning despite school and college closures.