St George's School for Girls
St George’s School for Girls flourishes as an independent day and boarding school in beautiful grounds in the heart of Edinburgh. It provides an all-round education for girls from 2-18 years. Language learning at St George’s focuses on developing communicative capacity while introducing students to cultural aspects behind each language. Established in the late nineteenth century the founders of St George's School believed that equality for women could be achieved only by equal opportunities in education. St George’s was set up by them with the precise intention of educating young women so that they might enter Higher Education and the professions. Today the Founders' far-sighted ideas still influence the school and help to shape the way the school works, with the Modern Languages department being a vital and compulsory element of this.
Jo Casely, Head of Modern Languages, said "The opportunity for individual learning cannot be overlooked. Pupils can say as much or as little as they are able in speaking exercises whilst remaining entirely ‘anonymous’ from the rest of the class. Similarly, pupils can ask for teacher help without raising their hand. By recording their work, the opportunity for self-evaluation and reflection is readily available, they can work at their own pace in listening activities, and even listen to different texts to each other. The tool for creating vocabulary tests is simple yet effective.”
The department had a Tandberg cassette-based language laboratory solution which meant that listening could be only a whole-class, teacher-controlled activity. After looking at both hardware and software solutions from other suppliers, as well as web-based options to create an in-house solution the department decided that only Sanako provides all the functionality, flexibility and features they need for a Modern Languages laboratory solution for users of all abilities, as well as ongoing support, training, help desk and updates.
The software is installed on fixed PCs in one classroom and on laptops which can then be used in any classroom in the languages corridor, to enable the maximum number of users the opportunity to practise speaking and listening activities. The French, German, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish departments all make use of the software, teaching classes from Year 9 upwards. The machines in the library and Sixth Form study areas will have the software installed so that students can access materials in their own time. The ESOL department may also use this equipment for speaking and listening activities, as well as self-access.
“The initial demonstration illustrated just how versatile the software is while also providing the appropriate assurance on the technological front. The training was provided by an ex- Modern Languages teacher who was able to explain how to use each program in everyday language” Jo concluded.