Karl Fry is Director of IT and heads up all computing and e-learning at St Edmund’s College, an independent day and boarding school in Hertfordshire. With a focus on reducing how much his students were required to carry in to and around school, as well as wishing to reduce the quantity of books lost or damaged each year, he started to consider the potential of digital textbooks. He explains:
“Working across the IT, computing and e-learning function at the College I do tend to possess a keen interest in innovative ways in which we can improve the teaching and learning experience for all involved. Added to that, however, I had become increasingly aware of how much the students were needing to carry around with them, the size and number of bags taken in to College and the effect that this can often have on the overall condition of the books that they use. I consequently started to investigate options for e-books and the impact that they might have on the experience here at St Edmund’s.”
“This wasn’t, however, simply a case of moving over to an entirely digital experience. From the desire to find a solution that worked across publishers, to requiring integration with our Firefly VLE, not to mention the financial implications of such a shift, the decision-making process was multi-faceted.”
“However, Classoos provided the necessary solution to meet our needs. Ultimately, the ability to work across publishers so that we could create a critical mass of books on the platform was vital in making this a cost-effective solution.”
“The introduction of Classoos has been well-received by both students and teaching staff. The students really enjoy being able to have access to so many resources, across either their laptops or tablets, and also while at home. They also enthusiastically make their own revision notes from screenshots of the pages they’ve been studying, without having to write in the physical resource. Staff, meanwhile, can see both the cost and time benefits that this has made.”
“I’d advise any other school contemplating a shift to digital textbooks to ensure that they get as many subjects on board as quickly as they can and embrace the copyright free content that is also available. This way, you provide students and teachers alike with sufficient quantities of content to quickly get in to the habit of teaching and learning in this way. Embracing the support of the Classoos team who came in to the College to support our staff also proved invaluable.”
“None of this means, of course, that we’ve totally abandoned the use of printed books and these are certainly still available when needed. However, in many subjects we don’t give them out anymore or have just one class set.”
St Edmund’s College started using Classoos in September 2018 after a successful pilot during the previous academic year and has now rolled the platform out across Years 9, 10 and 11. It is hoped that the Sixth Form will follow in the next academic year.