STUDENTS and teachers are being offered the classroom of the future now thanks to technology giant Google and a North-East college.

Vitalize Google for Education Partner and Darlington College hosted a special seminar for teachers and school business managers revealing the learning benefits of the latest technology.

Delegates heard how Google for Education platforms could save teachers time and be more effective in engaging with students.

Staff coach and Darlington College lecturer Wayne Hall told them how many of his North Yorkshire students, who spent an hour each way on a bus, were making the most of the time by using Chromebooks to complete their homework.

“Around 40 per cent of our students travel by bus and can spend that time doing their work,” he said. “They can hand it in on-line even before they get home and digital devices are proving particularly engaging for boys.”

Expert Andrew Hartley of Vitalize Google Partner said: “The system works well as it improves the two-way flow of information. Teachers can use it to mark in the classroom or during break times which means they don’t have to work at home late into the evening.

“It is like having a 1:1 environment between the teacher and the student as comments and marks can be sent and used to improve work. Instructional videos can also be embedded as well as documents.”

Senior leadership teams and Ofsted inspectors could also be included so they could see what was being taught and student progress, delegates heard.

Mr Hall said he would recommend the system, which was working well with the college’s 1,500 full and part-time students and apprentices of all ages and levels of study.

“We have many apprentices, ranging from motor vehicle to journalism,” he said. “The system means they can be from all over the country and don’t need to come into college as they can use the Google classroom and video conferencing.”

He said 92 per cent of students found the system easy to use, 86 per cent used it from home and 82 per cent used the available smartphone apps.

The system also saved money being spent on photocopying and was approved by awarding bodies who were happy to receive students’ portfolios electronically. Students benefited from unlimited free data storage.

As a Vitalize Leading Light Training Centre for Google, Darlington College is planning to host a full-day event. For more information contact WHall@darlington.ac.uk or visit www.darlington.ac.uk.