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Last updated: 22.03.12

Shireland Collegiate Academy uses online learning tools to support education

Shireland Collegiate Academy in Smethwick is taking advantage of the opportunities provided by e-learning to improve the education of its pupils.

Lord Jim Knight went to see the facility alongside Doug Brown, director of global advisory organisation Step A International, in order to find out the ways it has used technology to support learning.

Shireland principal Sir Mark Grundy claimed the school has been "at the forefront" of using innovative developments to enhance education, which can promote efficiency among teaching staff and boost the academic prospects of students.

He said he has spoken to many organisations and governments all over the globe and is "delighted" to come back to the academy to see "the latest world-beating work".

The Express and Star reported Lord Knight and Mr Brown saw year seven pupils aged 11 to 12 utilising PlayStations as part of a virtual learning environment, as well as children a year older than them studying the Crusades with Microsoft software.

Lord Knight was also shown an e-learning website developed by a small number of maths students that could support the understanding of this subject by other young people.

In the week since it first launched, the online learning tool has been visited almost 200 times.

E-learning director at the educational establishment and lead teacher of the Young People's E-learning Network Kirsty Tonks told the publication that e-learning helps students to show their work to a global audience rather than just their teacher.

She added: "I was so proud to host Lord Jim Knight and Doug Brown here at Shireland. As ever, our students were wonderful ambassadors for the academy."

Ms Tonks has also been commended by the E-learning Foundation Home Access Awards, where she was crowned the Secondary Teacher of the Year 2011.

She has utilised internet technology to help teachers share good practice recommendations and has tried to tackle issues such as pupil absence linked to religious beliefs.