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NetSupport sits down with Al Metcalfe from DC360 to get a deeper understanding of how its online platform helps make computing accessible to everyone.

What inspired you to create DC360?

I am a teacher with over 20 years’ experience delivering computing in schools. Computing is a specialism subject and schools struggle with recruiting specialist staff. To address this issue, I created a unique eLearning platform that teaches students from Key Stage 1 to 4 in every aspect of computing and gives them tasks and assesses them too.

How does DC360 address the shortage of computing teachers?

Just 35% of computing teachers are specialists, which means 65% of computing lessons are taught by non-specialists – and this barrier is widening. Some schools are fortunate in that they may have one specialist but with DC360, it enables both specialist and non-specialists to deliver computing successfully and efficiently, ensuring that high quality lessons are delivered every time.

How does DC360 work?

Co-developed with teachers and tested by local schools, DC360 is fully mapped to the national curriculum and in line with schools’ ever-changing needs. It tracks and grades students on their progressive learning, gives them practical tasks to do (using either software integrated into our platform or popular external software), and even marks their work. It also teaches the students not just the theory but how to use the software as well, making it perfect for a non-specialist. Finally, DC360 checks the students’ theory knowledge by assessing them and combining the learning journey, tasks, homework, extension work and tests together to form a complete picture.

In addition, there are over 750 lesson plans with SOW, mapping documents and checklists, with every answer coming complete with screenshots and diagrams to support a non-specialist. Marking is consistent as it is done by DC360, and homework is built in and auto marked. Plus, there are flashcards and extension tasks.

What is the evidence of impact for DC360?

We have been awarded the best eLearning Platform for two years running and are now working towards full differentiation, where every one of our 750-plus lessons will be available in three levels. This will make every lesson 100% differentiated in three ways. Our schools report grades have significantly improved by using DC360, and we gained the highest grades 8 years running. Teachers also say their workload has reduced by over 75%!

What levels of integration do you offer?

Integrated software includes Web Buster Photo Graphics (useful up to A Level graphics work), Web Buster Animation (for creating animation and mp4 movies), Word Processing tools, IDLE’s for Python, HTML, Logo, C#, JavaScript, Visual Basic and more. A fully integrated WWW, EBI and Peer Assessment is also included and, for in-class support, we offer instant help to teachers by a simple click of a button.

A student account allows all this to be used at home, so no software licences are needed. For those who prefer to use industry standard software, students can select for the lessons to be taught using a software of their choice, e.g., when using the Graphics unit, students can opt to use Web Buster Photo Graphics, Photoshop, Serif Photo Plus, Photopea or Affinity. We also integrate via Wonde to ensure all data and classes is constantly up to date.

Where do schools learn more about this platform?

Simply visit our website, www.delivercomputing360.com. And to see the tools in action, book a free demo!