STUDENTS ambitions are sky high after receiving a digital learning ranking from one of the world’s premier cloud-based platforms.

Darlington College has been awarded leading light status by Google for Education partner Vitalize Consultancy for the successful implementation of Google Classroom tools and technology throughout the college.

The free Google software platform gives course tutors and students a seamlessly integrated system designed to simplify e-learning.

It does this through instant access to electronic resources, paperless assignments, real-time feedback, tutor announcements and grading mechanisms, which can all be accessed on any smart device, at any time, via internet connection.

Darlington College staff coach and programme lead for computing and business Wayne Hall said: “We piloted Google Classroom three years ago in our computing and business departments working alongside Google’s partner Vitalize who then helped us to integrate the software tools into teaching throughout the entire college.

“Everyone has been extremely enthusiastic about the learning environment which offers greater independent learning, joint collaboration on projects and improved communication between staff and students.

“We are incredibly proud to have been selected as one of only eleven schools and colleges in the UK to receive leading light status and our next aim is to become a Google Reference college which will enable us to have direct links with Google and gain first access to new resources released by the provider.”

The technically advanced college, which has already become paperless within its computing and business departments, has adopted a number of additional Google resources, including Google Meet, which enables off-site apprentices to meet in a virtual classroom, share resources and access tutor lessons.

It also has Google Cardboard, which through a downloadable camera app and virtual reality headsets gives students access to 360 degree images taken on study visits and Google Expeditions, which allows access to tours of museums and cultural sites and the ability to walk through a virtual world.

Level 3 networking student Steven Grainger, 21, of Newton Aycliffe said: “Because Google Classroom integrates with Google Drive, YouTube, Google Keep and Google Docs, it instantly saves your work to the cloud which means you can never lose any of your assignments.”

Business student Leanne Walker, 18, of Barnard Castle, added: “I’d never used Google Classroom before starting my course but I’d be lost without it now.

“It’s great not having to carry around files and books and because you can access it from any device, including your phone, it means that you can even do your assignments on the bus home.”

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