Workspace Skills in the International School World
St George's British International School in Rome joined Canopy’s beta launch of Workspace Skills in 2020 with the aim to improve students' digital skills, focused on the use of Workspace for Education.
St George's British International School is a high performing not-for-profit British International School and one of the leading schools of its type in continental Europe. The school is a member of COBIS, CIS and the HMC. The school follows an adapted and enhanced version of the National Curriculum of England and Wales culminating in (I)GCSEs at Key Stage 4 and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) in the Sixth Form. St George’s educates more than 900 pupils from nearly 90 different countries.
Due to COVID-19, the school rapidly had to adopt an online learning environment and for pupils, in Senior School and the upper Junior School year groups, it was decided on Google. Within just two days, teaching and learning was taking place via Google Meet and Google Classroom, all with only a limited time for training in advance.
“When we started the new year in September, with the experience of four months of remote learning under our belts, I decided to look at options for further upskilling staff and pupils and found Canopy,” explained Ivan Langton, St George’s Lead Teacher for Digital Learning.
They decided to build the badges into a house competition, with points linked to the completion of a badge, which was logged by tutors. Each house had its own Google Classroom with a weekly set of Howdous launched, focusing on Google tools (for example Week 1 = Gmail - bronze, silver and Gold, Week 2 = Google Slides, etc.) The house system includes both the Junior and Senior Schools, so this was the first major competition that rolled out from Years 5 - 13 (ages 9-18).
Student engagement and feedback has been very positive and was enhanced when the digital passports were introduced. Pupils reflected that they learnt something new from each tutorial. The users were relieved to find that Workspace Skills is not device-specific, since they had learners using iPads, Chromebooks and laptops.
Staff engagement aligned with the move to Google Classroom and the desire to continue to use technology to further enhance the teaching and learning in the school. Carousel sessions in whole-school professional development included an opportunity for staff to complete the tutorials. Staff were quietly surprised about discovering additional features to use in their teaching.
In just the first few months of using Workspace Skills, St George’s users have garnered more than 4,000 badges for their digital passports. Pupils have learnt by doing and can now transfer these digital skills to real-world applications.