South Eastern Regional College (SERC) has received a Beacon Award for a project which helps students gain essential skills, through a peer mentoring programme that supports the effective use of technology for learning, both inside and outside of the classroom.
The award for Effective Use of Technology in FE, sponsored by Jisc, was given for the BLADES programme, which helps students to gain literacy, numeracy and ICT skills as well as enhancing their digital literacy. The college also uses virtual classrooms to enable students to develop their understanding through a range of approaches, including game-based learning.
It received the prestigious Beacon Award from the Association of Colleges (AoC), the membership organisation for further education colleges. The awards celebrate colleges which demonstrate excellent teaching and innovative thinking in the further education sector in creating positive opportunities for both staff and students.
Dr Michael Malone, director of curriculum and information services at SERC, said:
"The college is delighted that the pedagogy mentoring programme – which has been completed by 400 staff – has been recognised with such a prestigious award. The benefits for essential skills tutors and their learners is evident, with achievement rates increasing by 13%, and last year there were over four million Moodle hits.
"This peer mentoring programme has been successfully rolled out across all professional and technical areas in SERC since 2008. SERC has also been able to implement this approach both nationally and internationally, in Singapore and Japan."
Pete Scott, director of Jisc group customer services, said:
“Even in the three years that we’ve been a sponsor for this award, there’s been a marked growth in the prominence of technology in the further education sector. I’m pleased to see the conversation is moving beyond technology as simply an enhancer of learning – although it certainly does this – to it being a strategic enabler delivering sustainable and effective business outcomes.
“That technology has been identified by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills as key to leveraging successful outcomes for all in the area reviews reinforces this movement, and we look forward to supporting the optimisation of technology into the future.
“Once again we were astounded by the excellent standard of entries. All of the shortlisted applicants should be applauded in their efforts to deliver truly creative and innovative experiences, but special recognition of course must go to South Eastern Regional College.”
Roger Marriott, chief assessor for the Beacon Awards, said:
“Every year the Beacon Awards receive a large number of excellent submissions and the high standard made it hard for assessors to determine the winning application in each category.
“All the entries demonstrated the commitment of colleges to create the best possible experience for their students. South Eastern Regional College can be rightly proud to be named as the winner of the category.”
Dame Pat Bacon, chair of the Beacon Awards, said:
“South Eastern Regional College is an outstanding representative of the excellent work happening in colleges across the country.
“It is a privilege to oversee these awards which allow us to celebrate the exemplary and innovative work colleges are developing to support their students, staff, employers and local communities, as well as helping to support our recovering economy.”
Representatives of the colleges were invited to the AoC annual conference and exhibition where the results were announced. A local presentation ceremony will take place in the new year.