Focus on the educational case study: Saint-Barthélemy and RingCentral
Over the past two years, educational institutions have been under exceptional pressure. All schools and training institutions, whatever their origin, have had to go digital, whatever their origin or situation. Even schools widely regarded as highly traditional have begun to make the transition, committed to ensuring that students can continue to thrive and learn from anywhere. An example is St. Bartholomew’s Church of England Primary School in the UK.
Established in 1860, this facility accommodates approximately 200 students from Reception through Grade 6. When quarantines forced the highly regarded school to close, she quickly turned to RingCentral’s powerful and nimble environment for help.
let’s see how RingCentral supported Saint-Barthélemy digital transformation.
Adapting to a digital future in education
Widely regarded as a top-performing educational institution in the UK, St. Barthelemy enjoys an excellent reputation among primary schools. Each year, the school continues to outperform the UK national average on milestone assessment scores for all subjects, including maths, writing and reading.
Although the school believes in empowering students to reach their full academic potential, the institution is committed to more than academic excellence. St. Bartholomew’s mission is to develop “the whole child”, which means enhancing emotional and cognitive performance in different areas. A rich and varied program helps support this vision.
The learning pathways offered by St Bartholomew’s encourage students to explore the world and cultivate a passion for lifelong learning. The goal is to create a full set of individuals capable of contributing something special to society. The praise the school receives from parents, combined with the fact that the establishment has functioned well for over a century and a half, are clear indicators that Saint-Barthélemy is on the right track.
Of course, meeting student development goals becomes much more difficult when a global pandemic changes the rules of the game. When COVID-19 hit and the school was forced to close, the team had to scramble to update its strategy immediately. Almost overnight, the entire team had to work together to transform a traditional environment into a virtual learning center.
Discover the power of cloud communications
When Saint-Barthélemy discovered that it had to close its doors indefinitely, the staff sprang into action. The team worked alongside publishers to purchase workbooks for their students. These were sent home to students, and the lessons and educational activities were posted on the school’s website.
Thanks to their background in technology, the team was also able to create Twitter accounts for each class. This allowed rapid sharing of information. However, teachers also needed a more consistent way to maintain two-way conversations with their learners.
Principal Mark Johns said the team wanted to make sure their teachers could make regular check-in calls from home to pupils and their parents. At the same time, various changes had to be made to the team’s internal communication. Virtual staff meetings had to be introduced to keep educators connected and aligned. The goal of these virtual meetings was not only professional collaboration, but also maintaining staff morale.
In search of a practical, affordable and effective solution, Saint-Barthélemy finally discovered RingCentral. The all-in-one cloud communication solution seemed like the perfect solution for the school’s current problems. The solution offered a way to boost internal and external communications in an easy-to-use and managed environment.
According to Mark Johns, RingCentral enabled the team to see more than 80% of the student population on screen in the first set of virtual classrooms implemented post-lockdown. Technology has enabled cohesive learning and brought students and teachers together in a crucial way to maintain morale.
Keeping Young Minds Active During Lockdown
After RingCentral was rolled out, educators at St Bartholomew’s began hosting weekly virtual classrooms with students through the RingCentral video conferencing platform (RingCentral Meetings). These early interactions proved incredibly popular among students. More than two-thirds of students enrolled regularly, enjoying an interactive online learning experience.
In a very short time, all classes started hosting the new learning experiences on RingCentral. According to Mark, the success of early experiments with the RingCentral platform also inspired the team to try other strategies. Weekly video-based school and family quizzes have been introduced to help boost mood during lockdowns.
Student participation, even in quiz sessions, was extremely high and parents consistently reported that the interactions benefited their children. The more the team engaged with RingCentral’s platform, the more useful features they discovered. For example, the screen sharing and annotation features have proven particularly useful.
For younger grades, teachers often set up “Where’s Wally” puzzles, where students could draw circles around the character after discovering him on the screen. The faculty agreed that the learning activities hosted on video were excellent for keeping students engaged, happy and smiling, even during difficult times for people of all ages.
Guiding children during confinement
The St Bartholomew’s team noted that while they were grateful for RingCentral’s technology helping them provide academic experiences for students during lockdown, it was only a secondary priority in the pandemic. The main focus of the faculty was to support the mental health of children stuck at home with no way to see friends and expand their minds outside of the home.
Staff members weren’t as concerned about grades as they were about bringing students together for virtual interactions and social times. Allowing students to continue to interact with their peers and teachers was extremely important for the whole school. Also, according to Mark, it was always useful for teachers to be able to hit the mute button when the kids started getting a bit too loud on the other end of the digital connection.