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Celebrating technology in a community of best practice

After it’s conception in October 2020, Sheffield Schools’ Tech Hub is going from strength to strength. During a very challenging Autumn term, when many pupils and their teachers found themselves based at home for long periods of time, our e-Learning team invited a group of IT leads from across a range of schools in the community to come together in order to share best practice, seek support for specific projects and provide training to help meet the challenges of the day. This Google-focussed community of schools has since grown into a collaborative network of teaching staff, with specific responsibilities for IT and e-learning, an area which has seen incredible growth and focus over the last 18 months due to the need for schools to be able to deliver classes online.

The Tech Hub now has 10 member schools, with teachers regularly coming together via Google Meet to discuss effective use of the huge variety of Google tools available to Schools. Last week Sheffield Girls’ led a live forum during which a number of issues were tackled, including how to extend the digital competence of teachers post-lockdown and methods to ensure that all students have access to suitable devices. Each of the member schools are regularly uploading documents to the Hub, providing free reference materials for other schools in the community to use to support their teaching. James Mills, Assistant Head at Athlestan Primary School said: “The network that Tech hub offers me is amazing. Like many schools, during lockdown, we had to learn about and deliver remote learning quickly and effectively. Having the ability to share ideas and get support from others who were facing the same challenges and those who were further ahead on their remote learning journey was invaluable.”

At Sheffield Girls’ we aim to establish an interest in, and embed digital and IT skills from the very youngest age groups, right through to Sixth Form, and we have a number of student Digital Leaders who are Level 1 Google Certified Educators. Stephen Wiles, Head of e-Learning at the School, is one of only a few thousand Google Certified Trainers in the world and established the Tech Hub in order to share our knowledge and expertise, but also as a way to identify other pockets of expertise across the city and provide a platform to put Sheffield Schools’ digital leaders in touch with each other. Through the Tech Hub, we hope to be able to support other schools across the region to train their own Google Certified Educators, a recognised Google qualification awarded upon completion of a practical and rigorous hands-on exam based on Google tools. Further training videos will be uploaded to the Hub in the coming months for staff to use in preparation for certification. The Sheffield Schools’ Tech Hub offers an exciting array of free opportunities for Educators looking to expand their knowledge about all things Googley. Their current aim to prepare as many Sheffield educators as possible to pass their Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam will have a huge and positive impact on the learning of their students. I wish the Hub every success for the future!” May Jue, Program Manager, Google for Education.

If you’d like to learn more about getting involved with Sheffield Schools’ Tech Hub, contact Stephen Wiles at s.wiles@she.gdst.net

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