Category: Community Posts

post by andy mclaugjlin, what is digital literacy

What is Digital Literacy? A guest blog from Andy McLaughlin, University of Aberdeen

The presentation in this post was created and shared by Andy McLaughlin; a lecturer at the School of Education at the University of Aberdeen. He is a former teacher and leader in schools where he had a particular interest in digital pedagogies. Andy has been exploring the misalignment between national policy and classroom practice when it comes to developing digital skills in schools, and casting a critical eye over the influence of ‘Big Tech’ on education.

The following presentation was recently delivered to Education Scotland’s Digital Literacy exploration group as a provocation for discussion around Digital Literacies. In it, Andy shared some interesting research that has been carried out recently around the world.

If you would like to know more, or get in touch with Andy, you can find him on LinkedIn with this link.


family learning cyber aberdeen

Supporting Children in the Digital World: a user story from Aberdeen City Council Family Learning

This guest blog post was provided by the Community Learning and Development team at Aberdeen City Council.

Supporting Children in the Digital World is a four week course developed by CLD Family Learning Aberdeen to help parents keep their children safe online and develop strategies to manage device usage.


The course was created in response to a need identified by parents/carers who wanted to understand the technology their children using.

Over the course of four weeks we cover:

  • The technology children and young people are using
  • Digital footprints and being a good digital role model
  • Understand the risk and reward of devices
  • Know how to respond to negative online experiences
  • Discover age appropriate online safety resources
  • Learn about online safety strategies

The aim of the course is to ensure parents feel more empowered to manage device usage in their homes and give their children the skills to self-regulate and make good decisions while online.

We deliver this course to parents/carers in Aberdeen out in the community as well as online, to ensure we can reach as many parents/carers as possible.


One parent who attended the course said:

“I feel a lot happier that I now have the skills and information to tackle internet safety with my child, and will be a lot more relaxed having conversations which will in turn will benefit my child and make them more likely to approach me when they need support.”


We are further developing the course to create two one off information sessions, for those who cannot commit to the full four weeks. One of these one off sessions will focus on pre-school children and device usage and the other will be a more general information session condensing the content of the original course.

If you would like to know more, get in touch with the team by email:

Google For Education on Tour – Duncanrig Secondary School

Duncanrig Secondary

Join Google for Education at Duncanrig Secondary School in South Lanarkshire to see Google Workspace for Education and Chromebooks in action. The day will open with a keynote from the team, followed by a choice of sessions – including the opportunity to spend time in the classroom and see how pupils use the tools.

Download the flyer for more information and registration details

North Lanarkshire Code-Alongs

Following on from the Education Scotland live code-alongs and reflecting on the participation and engagement of young people, we wanted to build on this momentum and give learners in North Lanarkshire an opportunity to code along with their peers and dive further in to Computing Science. Knowing this needed to be fun and memorable to engage young people and staff, we planned for a space theme.

Pedagogy is at the heart of North Lanarkshire’s Digital School, and therefore the Code-Alongs, also needed to be planned in line with Curriculum for Excellence, providing learners, and teachers, with a taster session of what computing science could look like in the classroom. We know that Computing Science can be perceived as a challenging area to teach, with staff unsure where to start in planning and skills development. We issued a Microsoft Forms survey to staff in North Lanarkshire, to evaluate how confident they were teaching Computing Science. 15% of teachers in North Lanarkshire who responded indicated that they were confident teaching Computing Science and over 90% of teachers were interested in taking part in a North Lanarkshire code-along.

We planned live sessions for First and Second level, with a further session for those who are confident at Second level to ensure all learners from P4 to P7 had the chance to join. A key consideration was making sure that everyone who wanted to take part, could take part. We chose to use Scratch during the code-alongs as it is easily accessible, and learners are not required to have a login to code. To support continued access and any technical issues all Code- Along sessions were recorded. A Teacher Support Pack was created to prepare staff to support learners with step-by-step instructions and images to ensure everyone was able to complete their project. The Support Pack also contained suggested next steps to inspire teachers to continue their Computing Science journey.

There was tremendous enthusiasm and feedback to the code-alongs. We asked teachers to complete a post code-along survey and found that 40% of teachers were now confident to teach Computing Science.

Moving Forward

The code-alongs were a great success, with over 4000 learners joining over ten sessions and engaging with Computing Science. In our own reflection the following points were a success or would have been helpful for us to include:

1. Create a Teacher Support Pack with step-by-step instructions. This helps teachers prepare in advance, improve their own understanding of block coding and support their learners through the code-alongs.

2. Team up! Make sure you have one or two people involved in the planning and delivery of the code-alongs. A team of 3 is ideal! This means one person can deliver the code-along, another can provide any technical support whilst a third person can engage with classes through the chat bar.

3. Record the code-alongs in advance. This lets teachers join in at a time that suits them and re-visit the code if any technical issues occur.

4. Keep the benchmarks in mind when you are planning your sessions to ensure they are at the right level for the learners taking part.

5. Looking back, one thing that would have been really useful is a learner help sheet. This would have helped learners be more independent in debugging their code and rely less on their teacher’s support.

We’d like to thank everyone who helped us plan, promote and deliver the code-alongs and of course, the learners and teachers who took part. We thoroughly enjoyed coding along with learners across North Lanarkshire and look forward to seeing how North Lanarkshire schools continue on their coding journey.


Microsoft Accessibility Tools Quick Guide Posters for Learners by Viewforth High School

At Viewforth High School, we are on a digital journey to ensure all learners and educators are able to benefit from digital technology to raise attainment and improve outcomes for all.  

Most of our students are familiar with Microsoft Teams accessing via Glow and staff have been using it to set work and assignments during previous lockdowns and continue to do so now we are back in school.  

However, some pupils are faced with challenges when trying to access digital learning both in school and at home and to support our pupils in accessing their learning we identified areas where both the skills of staff and pupils needed to be developed. One of these key areas was the accessibility features (and knowledge of these) of digital tools for pupils and ensuring staff know how to use these tools with pupils.  

In response to this, I have created several Quick Guides to support both staff and pupils in accessing and using the features of Microsoft Tools.  


I created guides for each of the following tools: 

  • Immersive Reader 
  • Live Captions 
  • Speech to Text  
  • Translate 
  • Office Lens 

These guides have been shared amongst staff and with colleagues in other schools across the country to support them to support their pupils.

P6 Pupils at Noblehill Primary School are European Runners Up in the Microbit Do Your Bit Challenge

During Term 4 of last session, P6 pupils at Noblehill Primary School in Dumfries and Galloway took part in a Micro:Bit Global Challenge.  Their challenge was to design a ‘gadget’ which would support the work currently being undertaken  around the world to support climate change.  The pupils chose Verity, Lilly and Sophie’s design ‘Shell Cam’ as the winners and this was entered into a global competition.  Shell Cam was designed to be hidden somewhere on the beach and video all the different species that spent time there.  This information would then be sent back to scientists so they could track the movement and number of species. 

We have recently heard the amazing news that the design was chosen as runner up in Europe!!! 

3 learners holding microbits and design for do your bit project

The success has been posted on the Micro:Bit webpage along with the answers to a few questions that our amazing team had to give: 

How do you feel being runners-up in Europe?
– ‘Amazed, surprised, actually can’t believe it, it’s just WOW!’ 

Why did you choose to tackle the problem of animals becoming extinct?
– ‘A lot of animals are becoming extinct and food chains are being damaged so we wanted to think of a way to help.’ 

How long have you been using the micro:bit?
– ‘We have only used them 3 or 4 times but we loved them.’ 

 How has taking part in do your:bit inspired you?
– ‘We want to know more about what the Micro:Bits can do as well as help the environment.’ 

What will you create next?
– ‘Maybe a similar kind of thing but more for plants/ flowers, different types of nature.’ 

Well done team, Noblehill are very proud of you!
Lindsey Kirkwood, Principal Teacher, Noblehill Primary School


Using QR codes and ‘Thinglink’ for homework and resources – Early Years

Williamsburgh Primary School Using QR codes and ‘ThingLink’ for homework and resources, to encourage children to lead their learning, develop digital literacy skills, and overcome written communication barriers Aileen Mackey Early Learning and Childcare Officer  Twitter @mackey_aileen


Click on link 👇



Using QR codes creatively within Williamsburgh Primary School

The following link showcases how QR codes have been creatively used within our school in order to enhance children’s engagement in learning and play, improve digital literacy across the curriculum, overcome written communication and interpretation barriers, provide opportunities for vertical learning through interactive displays, and deliver a sustainable and efficient method for staff training, to enhance our service provision. Evaluation and feedback on the success of these strategies is also included within this blog post. 

Link to presentation –


Using QR codes, videos and drone footage to enhance viewer engagement and experience of Nursery- P1 transition 2021, Aileen Mackey

At Williamsburgh Primary School we have used QR codes, videos and drone footage to enhance viewer engagement and experience of Nursery – P1 transition. By doing so we have  maintained our pedagogical approach, tailored our service delivery to the needs, interests and queries of children and families, encouraged children’s independence and digital literacy by accessing this information, and related theory from ‘Realising the Ambition: Being me’ (Education Scotland, 2020) to our practice. Examples of practice are featured within this post.

View the presentation here

Remote Learning – What is Working? Berwickshire High School in Scottish Borders.

In this guest blog post, Derek Huffman, PT Pedagogy / English Teacher from Berwickshire High School in Scottish Borders, South East Improvement Collaborative, shares what is working well in remote learning and what they can take back to the classrooms as a whole school team when learners return.

One of the many issues facing teachers during ‘remote learning’ is maintaining high levels of student engagement. It is understandable why, when left to their own devices, a student might reach for their PlayStation controller rather than their school iPad. What can we do to fight this?

At Berwickshire High School, our student engagement spreadsheet suggests that, in some areas, teachers are consistently keeping students coming back for more. After discussing with staff what is working, I found that, though no two people are doing the exact same thing, there are some key commonalities. 

I’ve pulled these together, with some exemplification, in this seven-minute video:

Where it’s working, teachers are focussed on the following:

  • Simplifying: reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ students are facing to what is essential. What is simplest way to word the Learning Intentions? Do you need that extra slide?
  • Using the success criteria like a checklist
  • Having a ‘consistency of experience’ for the students: students know that at this time, they go here, where they’ll experience a lesson with a common structure – starting with daily review, going into a discussion of the Learning Intentions and Success Criteria, followed by teacher modelling and time to complete a task, and ending with a plenary where the teacher checks that the students have learned what they should have.
  • Giving brief, regular, useful bits of feedback that outline next steps

None of this is rocket science, but it works. The good news is that these are all the exact same things we should be doing in our actual classrooms. If we can focus on getting this right during these wild times, just think how much more effective we’ll be as teachers when we bring what we’ve learned back into our classrooms!

The majority of teachers I know are being too hard on themselves at the moment. It’s important to remember that we are doing our best, and if you are struggling, call someone. Send an email. We’re all in the same boat and if we row in the same direction, we’ll get there.

Derek Huffman , PT Pedagogy, Berwickshire High School