Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Digital technology to support learning & teaching

About Malcolm Wilson

This blog is maintained by Malcolm Wilson, Curriculum Development Officer – Digital Learning for Falkirk Council Children’s Services.  The purpose of the blog is to help support all who work within educational establishments in Falkirk Council Children’s Services in digital learning and teaching.


Graduate of the University of Stirling (Bachelor of Education) with Teaching Qualification in Primary Education from Callendar Park College of Education, Falkirk and Moray House School of Education of the University of Edinburgh.
Postgraduate Teaching Qualification in Music Education from Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh.
Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Development (ICT and Learning) from Northern College of Education, Dundee and Aberdeen / Open University.


I taught in Primary Schools for 20 years, as classroom teacher and in promoted posts. I was involved in using computers to support teaching and learning back in the early 1980s, making use of BBC Microcomputers (and joining with colleagues then in undertaking night classes in programming in BBC Basic as even then there was one school of thought that teachers would require to teach pupils programming); Sinclair ZX81s and Spectrums (with cassette tape loading systems); and Archimedes computer systems (using the efficient ARM processors which meant the computers required a fraction of the memory of the then available Windows-based PCs then available, which were seen as having software for business purposes only). In all cases the emphasis was on using the devices in the classroom with pupils with software which was designed to support learning in various curricular areas – and the educational software then available from various sources used these devices.

At the school I taught I was first to create a website for any primary school in the local education authority (which had to be written in HTML since the options back then were simply not available), which made easier the contacts with many  schools internationally, and email projects between teachers and their classes in many different countries. These projects were always focussed on curricular benefits agreed by the teachers involved so were central to delivery of the curriculum rather than an add-on. I was selected to be one of the Scottish ICT Masterclass teachers – a government initiative to identify, train and support teachers who schools and local authorities had identified as ICT champions to then support colleagues in their own schools in the use of ICT to support learning and teaching.

As ICT Co-ordinator for the school I also had responsibility for working with colleagues to draw up policies, matching of resources, and finding resources with minimum costs (in these early days we benefitted from various schemes to get more PCs in to schools, such as ones which recycled refurbished PCs from business into schools – all in the days before networked PCs in our schools were the norm).

I am ICT Curriculum Development Officer for Falkirk Council Education Services – in this role I have delivered many hundreds of face-to-face training sessions on a wide range of curricular areas and making use of an even wider range of software and online tools. I co-ordinated the local authority’s NOF training for primary teachers in the 1990s, which was a government initiative to ensure all currently-serving teachers were provided with training in making the most of computers in supporting learning and teaching (our local authority was noted as having one of the highest completion rates for that). I supported the Scottish ICT Masterclass teachers in our authority in supporting schools to make best use of ICT for the benefit of pupils in our schools.

My first blog (in 2005) was for a specific purpose, to provide the means to enable the authority to evaluate classroom response systems. This was set up to provide a central location to collate research available, and to provide a place for the various teachers, using the different response systems, to  post their evaluative comments on the system they were using with their classes. And crucially for the various manufacturers and suppliers to be able to post responses to these comments as they were posted. Thus an open and transparent evaluation from which a considered decision could be made to best suit the needs of our schools.

Former Scottish Organising Committee Member of MAPE, and latterly the Scottish Primary Advisory Group of Naace, the professional association for those concerned with advancing education through the appropriate use of ICT. In this role I presented at several national events in Scotland and also organised events which brought presenters from various parts of Scotland to share their experiences and expertise with colleagues locally.

Falkirk Council’s Education Services ICT Curriculum Support Team were awarded a ‘highly commended’ award in the UK-wide ICT Excellence Awards organised by Becta in the Support for Schools category in 2007.
The HMIE inspection of Falkirk as an Education Authority also praised the team in a report on the work of the authority. They said: “ICT training in the authority is very good. A dynamic ICT curriculum support team deliver a wide range of effective in-service on ICT to teachers. They keep staff well informed about ICT developments.”The Convener of the Council’s Education and Leisure Committee said: “The ICT Curriculum Support Team does a fantastic job in schools delivering courses, advice and support in a climate of professional expertise. Their work is vital in our schools and has made a real impact on the teaching and learning of our students. Their input helps keep our staffs’ lessons fresh, interesting and engaging for all! The team receive high praise from schools through feedback and testimonials from teaching staff.”

As well as encouraging and supporting teachers across 72 educational establishments to use digital technology in learning & teaching, through practical hands-on professional development sessions, and this blog, I also maintain the following blogs:

Mobile Devices in Falkirk Education

Central E-Safety Partnership

And I share and connect with a worldwide professional learning network via Twitter:
Examples of my support to schools in Falkirk Council Children’s Services described here:

What staff have said about my courses

A sample of comments from staff kind enough to leave feedback on evaluations of my courses include the following:

“Very informative as always.” EG – Langlees Primary School

“Lots of fantastic ideas and all very relevant to what we are doing in school. Going back to school fully enthused!” AJ – St Margaret’s Primary School

“Very worthwhile!” LB – Deanburn Primary School

“Excellent session – very relevant to what is going on in our school at the moment.” JW – Maddiston Primary School

“Very informative session.” AD – Drumbowie Primay School

“Support was given quickly and clearly when asked for – thank you. ;-)” LH – Westquarter Primary School

“I loved this course! I really liked to be thrown into the deep end. Really practical and I am now confident to try it out. Thank you.” CG – Larbert Village Primary School

“Excellent – very patient. Very thorough.” RH – Carron Primary School

“Presentation was first class and highlighted the potential in teaching.” SP – St Mungo’s RC High School

“Practical hands-on and easy to follow session.” JB – Bantaskin Primary School

“Instructions were given very clearly and were very easy to carry out. This session was very useful and informative.” AF – Nethermains Primary School

“Very informative course and practical for using again.” SB – Bonnybridge Primary School

“Very straightforward explanations!” ET – Bankier Primary School

“Patience was greatly appreciated.” JM – Westquarter Primary School

“Very helpful and worthwhile course with loads of tips and hints. Thanks.” TP – Falkirk High School

“Very easy to follow and practical.” CG – Stenhousemuir Primary School

“Very accommodating in answering questions based on the needs of the school – thank you!” LV – Limerigg Primary School

“Really useful hints and advice. Thanks!” ML – Carmuirs Primary School

“I enjoyed that the course was suited to what we specifically wanted to do – very helpful.” LY – Kinneil Primary School

“Thank you for the step by step information” CB – Bo’ness Public School

“Clear, concise, step by step. Thanks!” FT – Bankier Primary School

“Very helpful with lots of tips on how to get the most out of ICT tools.” TP – Falkirk High School

“”Well explained. Very patient! Thanks.” KM – Larbert High School

“Fantastic course, thank you very much!” CD – Carmuirs Primary School

“I found this to bery very useful! Thank you!” AT – Langlees Primary School

“Thank you for the time you took to answer my questions.” KM – Falkirk High School

“Very helpful as always and at a pace suited to me!” JF – Whitecross Primary School

“Found this very helpful. It was just the right amount of info – it wasn’t overload! Practical advice to use with children. Thank you!” AM – Westquarter Primary School

“Great to get a refresher on what I learned at a previous course. Feel revitalised!” LH – Westquarter Primary School

“Thanks for more ideas of how to use this more effectively in class.” SH – Head of Muir Primary School

“CPD tailored to our school and individual needs – much appreciated!” SW – Drumbowie Primary School

“”Good information all round.” HD – California Primary School

“Really useful and invaluable in taking forward ICT.” LB – Deanburn Primary School

“Great to be hands on and to create/discover things ourselves. Thanks.” JN – Kinnaird Primary School

“Many thanks for your patience and support.” LW – Beancross Primary School

“Great fun, really enjoyable!” VR – Oxgang School

“”Informative session and lots of great ideas/resources for use.” JB – Bantaskin Primary School

“It was wonderful. So useful, easy to follow and delightfully presented. Thank you very much ;-)” AG – Hallglen Primary School

“Very easy to follow instructions as always.” HC – Bainsford Primary School

“Good practical examples.” AF – Carrongrange School

“Presented very well and enthusiasm evident throughout.” SM – Grangemouth High School

“Really enjoyed the training, opened up new avenues for me. Made everything easily understood.” KK – Camelon Education Centre

“Course delivered clearly and at a pace which allowed the info to be followed easily.” EG – Falkirk High School

“Very thorough and helpful. Pace was very good and support was very much appreciated. Thank you.” LR – Maddiston Primary School

“Great fun – I learned loads about ICT and the potential of the tools explored – thank you!” EC – Sunnyside Primary School

“An excellent course, well presented, set at the right level and with lots of inspirational ideas.” AC – Callander Primary School

“Really like the style of these sessions – bursts of information and time to explore – thanks.” LB – Moray Primary School

“Thank you for another insightful session.” JD – Carron Primary School

“Thank you – great ideas, as usual.” MV – Carronshore Primary School

“Makes session a pleasure to be on.” AR – Sealock House

“Very effective delivery – I now feel this resource could definitely be used to enhance learning and teaching within and outwith the classroom.” GR – St Mary’s RC Primary School

“Thanks – you always make things sound easy!” JH – St Mary’s RC Primary School

“Fantastic – well done – thanks!” LM – Kinnaird Primary School

“Excellent course. Very useful.” HW – Kinnaird Primary School

“Thank you for your patience!” JR – Camelon Education Centre

“Very enjoyable session. Liked the step by step approach and the informal atmosphere. Thanks very much.” LB – Moray Primary School

“Very helpful session – thank you!” CH – Comely Park Primary School

“Informative and helpful as always.” TN – Bo’ness Public School

“Thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have learned a lot.” SS – Moray Primary School

“Very informative and useful.” MJ – St Joseph’s Primary School

“Thanks for being so patient!” CM – Camelon Education Centre

“A very useful course! Lots of great ideas. Good pace of delivery and having time to try out ideas.” NM – Bantaskin Primary School

“Liked how the course was a ‘doing’ course where we get to try everything rather than just listening and watching others.” SS – Falkirk High School

“The most patient human being in the world. Well done.” RH – Carron Primary School

“Thank you very much. that was really helpful!” AM – Drumbowie Primary School

“Thank you very much – feel much happier after that session. Refreshed my memory and I learnt new things. Excellent!” JS – Drumbowie Primary School

“Very interesting and worthwhile.” LS – Carmuirs Primary School

“I enjoyed the course and look forward to using the activities with the children.” MD – Carmuirs Primary School

“Excellent! ;-)” LE – Falkirk High School

“Thank you – very informative.” CC – Bantaskin Primary School

“Very patient and took staff through each step slowly, giving time to process what we were doing. The challenges you presented are a great way of working our way through the resources.” RS – Laurieston Primary School

“Fantastic information! Great active learning.” AF – Carrongrange School

“As always, very patient and helpful in answering/showing how to do new things.” SCW – Maddiston Primary School

“Thanks for your help, advice and expertise!” LW – Beancross Primary School

“Clearly presented and very helpful information/advice.” MW – Slamannan Primary School

“Good, active session! Thanks.” Bantaskin Primary School

“Very good at making it all seem so simple – I certainly now feel more confident.” CC – St Mary’s RC Primary School

“Well paced and helpful. The right level of led activities and the opportunity to try activities on our own.” PW – Falkirk High School

“Very informative. Good practical support. Thank you.” MB – Bantaskin Primary School

“Really useful – excited to work it in across the curriculum.” LB – Stenhousemuir Primary School

“Keep up the good work!!” BM – Braes High School

“Thanks for making it seem simple and explaining in easy to understand terms.” CC – St Mary’s RC Primary School

“Very worthwhile training.” RS – Braes High School

“Thank you for your patience!” TK – Denny Primary School

“Fantastic training as usual – thanks.” HN – Kinnaird Primary School

“Session was easy to follow, as always. I’m looking forward to giving it a go. Thanks ;-)” BB – Kinnaird Primary School

“I really appreciated the personalisation and choice.” MC – Laurieston Primary School

“Thanks – easy to follow and supportive.” SC – Carmuirs Primary School

“Very helpful practical session.” RO – Easter Carmuirs Primary School

“Great content! All very useful indeed!” ET – Bankier Primary School

“Really useful and know where to go for support.” DS – Sacred Heart RC Primary School

“Another excellent session.” AM – St Francis Xavier’s RC Primary School

“Great ideas and resources to use. Thanks! ;-)” LM – Kinneil Primary School

“Excellent training again!” LB – Deanburn Primary School

“Lots of interesting ideas to use in the classroom. Well-paced with enough time to practise at our own pace. Thank you.” EP – Deanburn Primary School

“Enjoyable session! I feel enthusiastic to find out more!” HG – St Mary’s RC Primary School

“Thank you for a most effective and interesting session.” MB – Sealock House

“Well handled! You have a very good way of putting across very complex issues! ;-)” SM – St Margaret’s Primary School

“A really good pace. Thank you.” LM – St Margaret’s Primary School

“I wish all my teachers at school had been ‘Malcolms’! ;-)” CD – Sealock House

“Very helpful and patient.” JE – St Margaret’s Primary School

“This was a good practical session which will enable me to use ICT more productively in teaching.” SH – Sacred Heart RC Primary School

“Wow!” SL – Wallacestone Primary School

“Very well delivered and structured course at a good pace.” GC – Camelon Education Centre

“Thanks for a very informative session.” AP – NHS Forth Valley

“You put me at ease and I am now a lot more confident in using these resources.” WL – St Francis Xaviers RC Primary School

“Presentation was well paced, clear and straightforward to follow. ” 😉 AM – Victoria Primary School

“Good session. Lots of practical ideas.” KM – Carronshore Primary School

“Painless. Thanks. You can teach an old dog new tricks!” DH – St Patrick’s RC Primary School

“Knowledgable and approachable.” MJ – St Joseph’s RC Primary School

“Excellent as always!” DW – Victoria Primary School

“Very interesting course giving a good overview with lots of practical activities.” AW – Development Services

“Thak you for the clear instructions and patience – the step by step instructions were very helpful.” NW – St Francis Xavier RC Primary School

“Information given at a good pace – interspersed with humour – most necessary!” JS – St Joseph’s RC Primary School

“Always so interesting ;-)” DW – Victoria Primary School

“Very informative and useful. Thank you!” KM – Wallacestone Primary School

“This was one of the most useful sessions with lots of ideas for different stages!” HL – Carronshore Primary School

“Very informative and practical. Thank you.” DA – St Joseph’s RC Primary School

“Your courses are so helpful because they are stage by stage. Thanks.” SO – St Joseph’s RC Primary School

“Well planned and delivered. Pace adjusted to target those needing help.” GG – Bo’ness Public School

“Course was really interesting.” CM – St Joseph’s RC Primary School

“Really nice pace of learning – thank you!” FM – Wallacestone Primary School

“Pace of delivery very good.” RW – Bo’ness Public School

“Very informative and well presented.” JF – St Francis Xavier RC Primary School

“So patient and interesting.” AT -Victoria Primary School

“Good to take my knowledge to the next level. Thank you! ;-)” PM – Deanburn Primary School

“Excellent information. Looking forward to using with the children. Course was at just the right pace. Thank you.” EP – Deanburn Primary School.

“Very informative session which will be excellent to use in class.” FS – St Andrew’s RC Primary School

“Well pitched training with realistic expectations of both staff and pupils which makes training enjoyable and easy to understand.” ES – Deanburn Primary School

“Enjoyable and informative session. Look forward to learning more.” AH – Deanburn Primary School

“Excellent course. Thank you.” PN – St Andrew’s RC Primary School

“Thanks – you have the patience of a saint!” CF – Windsor Park School

“Thank you! Learned a great deal and look forward to using it!” 😉  GM – St Francis Xavier RC Primary School

“Lots of information presented in a very clear and engagaing style, and easy to follow.” PS – Education Assessment Unit

“Lots of great ideas – really helpful.” CM – Laurieston Primary School

“Inspired me to further improve my practice.” NW – St Francis Xavier RC Primary School

“Very worthwhile course. Ha made the whole concept more accessible and positively encouraging.” BB – Educational Psychology Service

“Well delivered – easy to follow instructions and easy to approach with questions.” JK – Grangemouth High School

“Very glad it was such a practical session. Thanks.” RA – NHS

“Helped me to consolidate my learning and become more confident. Thank you.” KH – Education Services

“Well presented and interesting hands-on course!” RS – St Andrew’s RC Primary School

“Very excited now to try these new ideas in class. Excellent course.” FB – St Francis Xavier RC Primary School

“A very interesting session – thank you!” VW – Bowhouse Primary School

“Really good pace and tailored to needs. Thanks.” ES – Carron Primary school

“I can see the potential of this for pupils, parents and staff – exciting!” AL – Deanburn Primary School

A very well delivered session, easy, simple and manageable steps. Thank you.” MB – St Patrick’s RC Primary School

“I liked that the time was spent doing concrete activities that we can use straight away.” ET – Whitecross Primary School

“Excellent course – a good mix of information giving and the opportunity to ‘play’ – has given good guidance on where to go next.” PK – Carrongrange School

“You were patient and respectful, taking account of the varying levels of expertise of staff – thank you.” RJ – Kinneil Primary School

“Engaging delivery!” AS – Arts Development

“A very interesting course where I was made to feel  I was a successful learner!” HD – California Primary School

“Fantastic! I discover something new and exciting every time.” LH – Victoria Primary School

“I liked the step-by-step pace.” FM – Langlees Primary School

“Super – patience of a saint and we can ask questions!” VC – St Patrick’s RC Primary School

My Music Website

Click here for the link to my music website

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