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Students lead the way with Innovators Project

15 May 2017

A pilot project launched by Gloucestershire College in 2014, is now making waves across the Further Education sector for effectively harnessing the knowledge of tech-savy students. 

GC Digital Learning Coach, Catherine Hartell (pictured with two of the Student Innovators) and her team, launched the Student Innovators Project with the aim of promoting digital technology within GC. Students from a range of courses and levels volunteered to form a panel, tasked with assessing and giving feedback on the latest apps and education technology. From their findings, the students created collections of apps which were fed back to their teachers, to help encourage innovative practice and effective learning. New students coming to the College are now also given a suggested list of apps to download, to aid their learning.

Catherine said: "The Student Innovator programme was launched in spring 2014 and the students were so enthusiastic that we rolled it out to more departments across the college, simultaneously increasing the role and responsibilities of the project .The network has grown over the past three years primarily because students have had the chance to make a difference to the way that their classes – and their college – is run.

"The programme helped us to understand students’ needs and how technology is used in different departments. Our academic colleagues were also inspired by the student perspective and feedback, and were able to readily incorporate the tools students demonstrated across all areas of the college.

"The scheme works by students independently researching and reviewing apps. They then publish their feedback in the form of a blog. Apps that do particularly well become the college’s “App of the week”, and details are then published on the college’s virtual learning environment, and included in all staff emails.

“We’ve tried all sorts of different apps – the good, the bad and the ugly. We review them all and put them on a blog to document what apps the students have used."

In addition to their blog, the Student Innovators have organised events to focus on apps for revision and assignment support. This has helped to develop their skills and confidence as they have had the opportunity to present ideas around the college and externally at national conferences, such as the BETT Show and JISC DigiFest.

Read the Student Innovators blog here

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