Pauline Lawrence is the Librarian at Haverstock School and is always looking for innovative ways for her students to work.

What do you love about Britannica School?
The accessibility. The main thing is that it’s really easy to differentiate learning for students. We have quite a lot of students for whom English is not their first language. For instance, we may have students in Key Stage 4 but they’re not up to the language level of Key Stage 4 so it’s good that they can go down reading levels without the page looking like it’s changed compared to their classmates.

The older students in Sixth Form have to create bibliographies for their course work so they must use references too, and they appreciate Britannica’s citation tool as it organizes it for them.

Have teachers given you any feedback about what they personally like about Britannica School?
Yes, they are all very positive! Their comments share a common thread; they like that it’s written by experts. Also the fact that it’s updated every 20 minutes makes a big difference.­ I usually get a few ‘whoah’s when I mention that.

What are some challenges you’ve encountered with promoting the use of digital learning products, like Britannica?
You have to constantly remind students about it, because it’s all too easy to go to Wikipedia. I’ve embedded a Britannica icon on the desktop, so it’s easier to open it. I’m constantly walking around and if I find students on Wikipedia, I get them to close it and open Britannica!

Have you had any other initiatives?
Well, I make sure I promote Britannica regularly. This could be via the staff bulletin, emailing staff, the promotional posters provided and bookmarks. I also try to reach parents through the school’s weekly newsletter or by sending text messages from our school system. My next project is to embed the link onto our school website!

For the Spotlights on particular subjects or issues in the curriculum, I usually create a PowerPoint slide giving an overview of the Spotlight and add a hyperlink. IT support is then asked to make that slide pop up every time a student logs onto a computer in the library. Subject teachers are also alerted to this and invited to book their classes in the library if they wish to run a project on that particular Spotlight. I offer mini Britannica Spotlight inductions which usually last for 10 minutes; then the students are off to the computers to explore it! The constant advertising highlights Britannica, in fact our Britannica usage usually rockets when these Spotlights become available.

Anything else?
Getting teachers to understand how they can use Britannica regularly in their lessons is the hardest bit, just because it’s very difficult to set up meetings with all of them. They’re so busy! I ran a session with the Leadership team and Curriculum team leaders and I’m going to try and book a session with the Learning Support Teachers and Teaching Assistants next. These members of staff often work with students of lower ability or behavioural issues who need differentiated work, and Britannica offers the perfect tool for that. I am sure that once they use it they will appreciate it even more, as it makes life so much easier for them.