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GMCG’s Digital & Blended Learning Support

Written on 4th February 2022

Over the past two years, our nine Greater Manchester colleges have been collaborating closely to produce high quality resources that aim to support teachers and middle leaders to deliver digital and blended learning to students.

GMCG Resources

To date, there have been over 420 resources produced including videos, downloadable documents, annotated powerpoint presentations, reflective blog posts and links to relevant research papers, provided by our Higher Education team within UCEN, all available to support staff across the college group.

To help share our resources and learnings, two platforms have been created, EdTech Network and GMC HQ which enables the wider network of Further Education colleges to access free support and tools on a regional and national scale. 

A priority for schools and colleges nationwide has been to keep students learning with their peers, so in addition, we have also provided “rapid response” support to colleges for hybrid/split classroom teaching. Whilst we are offering one-to-one support, we have also seen high demand for asynchronous resources which have proved the most popular with teachers and middle leaders as they can access these anytime, in college or at home. 

To bolster our support for teaching staff we have produced simple, easy to use tech guides and how to videos which give practical advice and instructions on how to set up the equipment in a classroom and effectively use live online software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

To develop our support further and make it easier for staff to identify the resources they need, we are now tagging resources against the 15 vocational pathways. In addition all nine colleges are working together to develop English and Maths resources, identified as gaps in current digital tools to support both GCSE resits and English and maths in T levels.

How popular have the resources been?

Over the past few months, we have seen a significant increase in downloading of resources, with over 130,000 resources downloaded and the vast majority have been viewed via our EdTech Network site, which has been promoted to colleges through the EdTech support programme.  

We also have 45 colleges registered on our online EdTech network and over the past two weeks we’ve secured 1000 rapid response resources downloaded.  

These results showcase the high demand and need for these resources across our nine colleges along with the network of Further Education colleges across the country.

What’s next?

Whilst the focus has been on a collaborative approach to develop on the ground support for using technology in learning, we are also looking at some of the key emergent strategic and leadership themes around Digital Inclusion, Quality and Curriculum Design and through our thematic group meetings we are sharing and developing good practice approaches. 

Colleagues can then share the approach more widely in their own facilities and make full use of the resources shared in addressing their own strategic approaches.

Gill Scott, Group Quality Manager at Greater Manchester Colleges Group (GMCG) explains “We are constantly updating and reviewing our resources to ensure we have what colleges need in rapidly changing circumstances. Whilst our project has been centred on digital and blended learning throughout this project we have always had a much stronger focus on how we work together to improve the quality of education for all our students, both across Greater Manchester and more widely across the Further Education sector.”