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Google badge of honour for Sheffield Girls' as a regional leader in technology in Education

Move over ‘School of Rock’... we’re the ‘School of Tech’!

In June this year we were delighted to be accredited as a Google Reference School. Reference Schools are recognised by Google for their outstanding use of technology to drive positive learning outcomes. 

So what makes our approach to the integration of technology at Sheffield Girls’ so special?  

We embrace technology in all year groups 

At Sheffield Girls’, we believe passionately in putting girls first and we are bold in our ambitions. Our extensive use of Google Workspace, including more than 700 Chromebooks for our students and 120 Chromebook Plus devices for our teaching staff, ensures that digital technology is embedded across the curriculum from the earliest year groups.

Each morning students collect their Chromebook and use it for a wide range of activities in their form times, lessons, clubs, clinics, events, competitions, personal research and for homework. Google Forms are used for research and recording purposes, a Google Site might be created for a digital portfolio of photographic work,  budding musicians will develop new compositions using online tools on their chromebooks and teams of Junior pupils will use Google Docs to collaborate on projects. Students have their Chromebooks with them at all times and are encouraged to use them to enhance their studies, locate and enjoy fresh educational content, and to deliver and share their knowledge with their peers. 

We collaborate and communicate

This approach to embedding technology goes further, as we collaborate with other schools locally and the wider GDST. Harnessing the power of Google Meet, we deliver courses to students at GDST schools in other parts of the country including Latin and Geology and we share best practice through webinars and events hosted online between staff.  We are agile in the way we communicate and deliver events and activities online to pupils and parents throughout the year. Live streaming and sharing additional content via ‘catch up’ allows for better access to core information and support for our wider school community, who are often juggling busy family and career commitments.  

We create and innovate

The digital creativity of our students and staff is evident in the learning of our youngest students through to staff who have worked here for more than 25 years. 

We use WeVideo to help our students create exciting, informative and powerful videos in their studies and this year our infants have created a series of video ‘news reports’ about the Great Fire of London. As well as using Google Docs to produce a script on their Chromebooks, they excitedly used green screen technology and props to create an immersive and fun learning environment. 

In the Senior school, using our Premium Canva licence, students share content, insert animation, generate AI artwork and use traditional design concepts  to generate professional content. Our Year 9 students used Canva during The BiG Challenge (an entrepreneurial competition)creating flyers and marketing materials to help sell their products.

We learn as we go

In 2024 we started training our students in the effective use of AI in Computing lessons via their Chromebooks. Utilising AI within web tools such as Canva (to create AI generated images), Wisdolia (to create revision flashcards from YouTube videos) or Teachable Machine (to help students understand Machine Learning) are just some of the tools that we have been exploring. We are proud to support staff who RiskIT i.e. risk something new with IT without the fear of failure. Harnessing, discussing and implementing the power of AI is providing our learners with the confidence to use it, but also developing better awareness of its limitations. 

Our staff are Google Certified educators 

25% of our staff are Level 1 or Level 2 Google Certified Educators across all curriculum areas. We also have one Google Certified Trainer and two members of staff are preparing for the Professional ChromeOS Admin qualification.

We collaborate with schools across the city 

The Sheffield Girls’ Tech Hub is run by our staff and students supporting schools around the city to further embed technology. A recent training session focussed on using Google Sites for students to create collaborative websites. The hub operates as a forum to share best practice and further everyone’s learning. 

Reflecting on our recent Google accreditation, our Head of E Learning, Stephen Wiles said: 

“Employing a 1:1 Chromebook policy across the school has enabled us to shift conversations away from technology and tools, towards effective 21st century teaching and learning approaches and it is great to see this level of commitment recognised by Google themselves. The benefits don’t just stop at teaching and learning: many school processes have also been streamlined through the use of the Google Workspace. We have improved our communications with parents, reduced the burden on our School IT Team, and improved teacher and support staff efficiency around administrative tasks.”

As a Google Reference school we look forward to hosting more events for the wider schools community in the future. 

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