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Reading College leads the way in digital technology

Reading College’s use of technology in the classroom has contributed to a national report on how the education sector can make more of digital.
The City & Guilds’ Centre for Skills Development has published the report – Culture, Coaching and Collaboration - which considers how teachers can use technology to improve teaching and learning.
The report draws on best practice examples, including those found at Reading College, to help others in the sector develop their IT infrastructure and motivate staff.
Introducing the report, Kirstie Donnelly MBE, UK managing director of City and Guilds, said: “New technologies provide tutors with an opportunity to be innovative in their approaches and use greater creativity within their lessons.
“For some, embarking on this journey can seem daunting; but it doesn’t have to be. I have witnessed great examples of how the use of technology can improve the quality of teaching and learning and the benefits it brings to both the learner and the provider/institution.
“Reading College, featured in our report, is just one example of this and it’s exciting to hear that the college has continued to innovate in this area.”
During best practice visits to Reading College, the team from City & Guilds observed classes making use of Google Docs and Google Communities to improve collaboration between students and staff.
The virtual learning environment (VLE) has been developed to support use of short videos which can be shared with students ahead of lessons (flipped learning) and opened up for comment to support peer-to-peer learning. In addition a system called Socrative is also in use to engage students through games and exercises via laptops, smartphones and tablets.
The City & Guilds report follows the recent Ofsted report for Reading College, and other college members of Activate Learning, which highlighted that “ICT was plentiful and well used”. The inspectors highlighted examples of classes using Google Docs to make notes of discussions and share them with the rest of the class in a manner more typically found in the business world.
Lesley Donoghue, principal of Reading College, said: “Our approach to utilising digital technology is about increasing collaboration between staff and students, and enabling learning any time, any place.
“This has helped to increase the pace at which students receive feedback on their work and has generally improved the quality of their learning experience.
“We have seen students progress in their studies more rapidly and overall success rates are also improving.”
Reading College is now working with City & Guilds to support the next phase of its research, becoming one of a small number of digital explorers which will trial new technologies.
Read the City & Guilds report here, or watch this short video of the findings at Reading College.