The shutdown of the entire physical school system and its move online earlier this year taught all of us working in the education sector quite a few lessons.
One of those was the importance of having high-quality digital learning platforms in place across the sector – as well as access to devices for principals, teachers and students to allow remote learning.
Many schools and organisations carried out surveys during 2020 which highlighted the gaps in the digital technology available to both teachers and students. One survey from Studyclix.ie – Ireland’s largest study website – carried out at the height of the first lockdown showed that almost half (47 per cent) of teachers said that access to devices was an issue for their students.
This is why we must welcome the news that all primary and second-level schools are to receive grants totalling €50 million this month to ensure they can continue to provide remote learning as a Covid-19 contingency measure.
Another consequence of Covid-19 was a rapid change in the perception of eLearning tools such as Studyclix. Schools have been hesitant in the past to adopt online tools to help teaching and learning, but now they have seen the huge benefit of embracing such technology.
“I believe the pandemic has accelerated a change in mindset towards eLearning tools by about five years,” says Studyclix founder and teacher Luke Saunders.
“Prior to this year in any staffroom there would be a wide spectrum of teachers ranging from those who use technology as an everyday part of their teaching to those who barely use email. With the COVID-induced school closures, we have seen a massive progression to a point where the vast majority of teachers are using tools like Studyclix in conjunction with their school’s learning management system as part of their daily teaching.”
Studyclix, which has more than 190,000 registered second-level school users and 29,000 second-level teachers, was set up by the Biology and Maths teacher during his first year as a teacher at Jesus and Mary Secondary, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo.
“The idea behind Studyclix was to build a learning community for students and teachers with content specifically aligned to the Irish junior and leaving cert curricula,” says Luke.
Studyclix reacted quickly to schools’ needs from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, offering big reductions on student access and facilitating online learning and assessment for students and teachers. It also donated 10pc of profits to Covid-19 response related charities and organisations.
“We saw a big increase in student users signing up during the pandemic due to both students and parents wanting more ways to support their learning and revision. With our large array of curriculum-specific past questions by topic, tutorial videos, notes, and study advice, we became their one-stop-shop for all things secondary school,” says Luke.
“Teachers have found Studyclix invaluable during the pandemic thanks to our highly time-efficient digital tools like our Exam Builder and Quiz Builder, which allow them to set and correct online assessments within minutes.”
The company operates school licences helping schools support their students and teachers further through digital learning resources that are easily accessible in and outside of school. It has a 95% renewal rate with schools and one of its users includes Vice President of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals Rachel O’Connor, whose school has had a school license for the past 5 years.
“Our school-wide attainment levels have increased dramatically over the last number of years, due to a focused teaching and learning school improvement plan of which Studyclix played a huge part in,” says Rachel who is the principal of Ramsgrange Community School in Wexford.
Luke says he has actually found Covid has made the job of supporting schools a bit easier as they are able to deliver training – which is free for teachers – to schools and staff through Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
“We are now able to reach more people more quickly. Studyclix has always been a remote company, and with everyone else suddenly moving to remote or similar technology as us, we have found that we can reach more people who we previously could not reach due to a lack of engagement with products like Zoom or similar,” says Luke.
Studyclix works on all devices and integrates easily with school learning management systems such as Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams. “Our syllabus-specific content means students and teachers can efficiently and effectively achieve their learning and teaching goals all from within one website.”.
Studyclix also strives to democratise education and learning so that every student has a chance to succeed in school. DEIS schools receive bigger discounts on school licences and it works with external partners such as CIT and Capital Credit Union to ensure sponsorships to Studyclix access for disadvantaged students.
School Licenses start from €7 per student (Deis) and €10 (non-Deis). For more information, visit www.studyclix.ie and if you would like to schedule a call with the Studyclix schools team to find out about getting your school set up then get in touch to schedule a demo firstname.lastname@example.org