Category: Learner

Inspiring Digital Enterprise Awards, Grove Academy

iDEA Awards, Grove Academy

Gavin Pyott, PT Computing Science

I became aware of the iDEA awards by chance when it was first launched 3 years ago. I can’t explain how glad I am that I did. The programme is so well written and produced that all learners are drawn into the modules and are keen to do more. Due to the positive impact iDEA had with classes in my department l began promoting the awards and encouraging others to use it within their schools. As a result of this l was awarded the title of Teacher Ambassador from iDEA.  

The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, known as iDEA, is an international programme that helps students develop and demonstrate digital, enterprise and employability skills.

Since its launch, iDEA has established itself as the digital equivalent of The Duke of Edinburgh Award. The iDEA awards are recognised by universities and employers so are a great addition to any student’s CV.

The iDEA awards allow students to map their knowledge and understanding of the digital world through a series of modules (badges).

The badges have been designed to unlock new opportunities and raise awareness of the diverse range of careers in our digital world, all the while allowing students to gain an industry recognised award to help them stand out from the crowd.

To achieve a Bronze Award, students need to earn a minimum of 250 points, including at least 40 points in each of the core categories of the curriculum: Citizen, Worker, Maker and Entrepreneur.

CITIZEN BADGES cover digital awareness, safety and ethics.

WORKER BADGES introduce tools and techniques which are useful in the digital workplace.

MAKER BADGES cover digital creativity and building and making in the digital world.

ENTREPRENEUR BADGES explain how to originate ideas and bring them to life.

GAMER BADGES investigate gamification techniques and help people learn how to make games.

These badges are all very informative and explain complex concepts in a straightforward, easy to understand, way. All badges are designed to be interactive, allowing pupils to answer questions as they go, building up their knowledge step-by-step.

To help track student progress iDEA have launched ‘organiser codes’ and the organiser area. This allows you to provide pupils with a simple code to add to their iDEA profiles. This will then pull the progress charts for each pupil together into a handy, easy to use spreadsheet.

After completing the Bronze award, many pupils volunteer to move on to the Silver. Unlike Bronze, the Silver award has been written as a series of topics. Each topic is story-based with students being guided through a real-life scenario as they discover the skills required to progress.

Due to the amazing quality and excellent writing in the badges in the programme the target audience range has really been opened up. I have successfully delivered the iDEA award in S1, S2 and S3. We now have pupils is S4-6 who are also tapping into the programme as it has caught their attention. iDEA also works great in an upper primary setting. My own daughter liked the look of the badges and had a go herself. She successfully completed the Bronze award in Primary 6 and completed her Silver when in Primary 7. Not wanting to stop there she completed a total of 50 Bronze badges to become ‘Badge Champion’ and completed the remaining Silver topic to become a

‘Silver Star’. This determination to complete the modules has been replicated by students in my classes who applied the Pokemon ‘got to get them all’ approach to the badges and awards. I have to admit, I have done this too! The iDEA badges are so interesting and informative I found I couldn’t stop either! As an introduction to a new concept (block chain) or to brush up existing skills the iDEA Award is great CLPL for staff too.

Mr Pyott has created a Sway which will give you a full introduction to the work and process involved in using iDEA and his top tips. To view click here.

To see more from Mr Pyott you can visit his Twitter feed on @MrPyott

To see more from Grove Academy, please visit their Twitter feed on @Grove_Academy

You can find out more on iDEA Awards via https://idea.org.uk/ 

30 November 2020, 16:00 – 16:45 Code Club H&WB and Environmental learning resources

A Glow Login is required to join this webinar. This webinar will take place on Glow, Education Scotland Digital Teams channel.

Join Dr. Lorna Gibson, Programme Manager, Code Club, while she shares new resources available for practitioners using coding to explore the environment, health and wellbeing, and more. Project demonstrations plus opportunity for questions.

Register here

Guest Bloggers D Keenan and M Brough DCC

Our Lockdown Journey as ESO for Digital Learning

Our Lockdown Journey as ESO for Digital Learning

By Meg Brough and Dave Keenan

In January 2020 we gained the title ‘Education Support Officers for Digital Learning.’ After interview, it was decided we would job share for the duration of our secondment opportunity. We would each be allocated 2 days a week: one together, one independently. (Dave is PT Modern Studies and Meg teaches English and Media). This was totally manageable, right?

We sat with the previous Digital ESO Jenni for days, our heads spinning with new information about Computing Science, Computational Thinking, 3D Printing, Glow security and CRIS. We would be covering Jenni’s role when she moved to Education Scotland and were determined to learn as much as possible from her and keep continuity. “You have to make this job your own,” she said. Oh, how little we knew!

We began to support schools in Dundee, working with them to embed a robust digital infrastructure in schools and throughout the Authority. We developed a calendar of CLPL opportunities, attending meetings and enjoying the best part of the job – meeting new people. By the end of February we were steadily gaining confidence and making great contacts.

In March 2020, the schools closed and every practitioner in Scotland had to switch to engaging with Digital Learning. Our job started to creep into every aspect of our lives. The question of whether we were ready for this was irrelevant. It was imperative to provide our practitioners with the skills needed to continue to provide a high standard of education for our children and young people.
We had a few weeks to prepare for the impending closure, so we finished small jobs we had started and then moved on to creating help sheets and resources. Meg worked on creating the Dundee City Council Online Learning Hub. We didn’t want to restrict our support to staff, but to provide a central location to support pupils and parents too. This site would house Learning Resources, Information about Online Safety and Help with digital tools such as Glow. The website has been separated into sections for Staff, Pupils and Parents, and each houses information and links relevant to each kind of user.

We quickly realised that the volume of queries and support required couldn’t be managed by email alone. Dave had the idea of setting up the DCC Education Digital Support Team and adding every teacher in Dundee. No easy task! This was an area we could store our help sheets and answer any queries.

This grew arms, legs and many other limbs. So much so that the practitioners who were supporting us with Learning Resources had to split off into a separate support team. We worked with DCC’s amazing Pedagogy team to create a site where staff could access CLPL Opportunities and Learning Resources, which left the purpose of our Team purely for digital support. Since the creation of the team on the 6th March, we have had 1,268 active users leaving 258 posts. What is more impressive though, is that from those posts we have had 591 replies. This demonstrates a pattern we have noticed. We, as owners, are not the only people who are answering queries. By starting this support group we have upskilled staff to be able to answer each other’s questions. This fits in very well with our vision to promote Digital Leadership throughout the Authority.

We often see a peak in engagement within our Team when we host our Webinars. We have hosted a few webinars which have focused on setting up online classes, setting and marking assignments in Teams… the list goes on! Along with our own home-made efforts, we have hosted hundreds of staff in webinars with Ian Stuart from Microsoft and this is helping us build our MIE base across schools.

Staff uptake of MIE CLPL is really taking off and school managers are looking at how to take everything to the next level with Digital Schools, Microsoft Schools and Incubator status.We have also created a YouTube channel to house our tutorial videos. Reflecting on the help sheets we had originally made, we found it much easier to demonstrate how to use a digital tool by sending a link to a video. We were so fortunate that the Accessibility and Inclusion service provided us with videos which have been translated into Arabic. Our most popular video has been a guide to using Microsoft Teams Assignments and Immersive reader through Glow for pupils. Teachers have been sharing this with their pupils and have found it useful to see what their pupils are seeing.

The May Inservice day was planned to focus on Supporting Learners with Additional Support Needs. Our original plan was to deliver training to our Digital Leaders and in turn they would deliver this to their own school staff on the Inservice day. This was going to be a perfect example of the ‘Train the Trainer’ model we wish to develop. Our Digital Leaders are representatives from each school who have a vested interest in Digital Learning and who want to work with their colleagues to embed Digital Learning as a key component of the curriculum. As all events on our CLPL calendar had to be cancelled, we had to re-evaluate how to provide this kind of training. Instead used this situation to our advantage and tried to reach a wider audience by creating a presentation of all kinds of digital tools that could be used to support learners with ASN. In our Staff version we included links to training guides (such as the Microsoft Educator Centre) as well as information about how to use these in the classroom.

In our general guide we also included information about how these tools can be used at home to help parents and learners. We included information about Accessibility Tools on iPads, as well as Microsoft and Google products. We also plugged CALL Scotland who are fabulous at providing advice on these kinds of products. We had an extremely positive response towards this, particularly from members of the ‘Supporting Learners’ Microsoft Team which we have supported the Accessibility and Inclusion Service to set up. The effort from the AIS Team is just one example of the impressive work we have seen practitioners take on in order to up-skill themselves to provide the best support possible for our young people.

Unsurprisingly, we have seen the number of Digital Leaders across the authority rise as more staff realise the value and exciting opportunities involved with Digital Learning. We have set up a new Team for Digital Leaders who will be offered many training opportunities to support their schools in their Digital journey. We had aimed to work with select schools to achieve a Digital School’s Award and embed a digital infrastructure. We imagine that many of our schools, if they continue to engage with these digital tools, will be more than deserving of a Digital Schools award. A large part of achieving this is teaching Cyber Resilience and Internet Safety as a standard part of the curriculum. The first remote training opportunity our Digital Leaders will take part in is ‘Safe and Empowered’ training delivered by Jess McBeth from SWGfL. This is an excellent course which we attended as part of our own original training which takes the negativity away from conversations around internet safety, instead empowering young people to make responsible decisions online. We have really enjoyed working remotely with external partners to provide them with ways to engage with schools and staff remotely.

We also try to keep up to date and network with members of other authorities. Social media has been an excellent way to do this. We have also enjoyed taking part in the weekly Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert catch up on a Friday morning. This allows us to chat to other Microsoft Edu enthusiasts and try to emulate good practice we see in other authorities.

We continue to meet virtually, together and with partners (sometimes with the addition of a three- year-old climbing on Meg’s head) to develop the Digital Skills of all stakeholders. This week we have written a paper on “Effective Remote and Digital Learning in Dundee City Council” which we hope will complement the recovery plan of our authority as we move to into a Blended Learning environment. This outlines our vision for moving forward; we plan to build on the fantastic skills our educators have acquired and to make Digital Learning standard practice in every classroom in Dundee.

Finally, we’d like to extend our thanks to all staff in Dundee City Council for showing such passion, enthusiasm and resilience in the face of such an horrific situation. Personally, we can take so many positives from the lockdown situation which completely justify the hours we have put in! Digital Learning has exploded in Dundee and although we advise on the practicalities of using such tools, it is the practitioners who teach us all about the innovative ways to use these tools to deliver High Quality Learning and Teaching opportunities. From Virtual Sports days to online STEM challenges we are constantly amazed by the quality of Remote learning in Dundee and the positivity of our educators.

For helpful links, information or just to check out what we are up to, follow @DigiLearnDundee on Twitter.

@DigiLearnDundee@missmbrough@davekeenan8

collection of digital tool logos

Mossend Primary School – Remote Learning Journey To app, or not to app, that is the question

According to the New York Times (Nicas and Collins, 2019), there are now over 2 million apps available on the Apple App Store, anything you can think of, in the words of Sesame Street’s infamous song: “There’s an app for that”; yet not all apps are created equally and just because an app exists does not necessarily mean that it is right for our pupils, families, or school.

It is extremely easy to get swept along with the latest gadget release or the next best software release, yet the more apps, software and websites that we add to our pupil collections, the more passwords, logins, site addresses and downloads that each family has to get to grips with. It is extremely easy to overwhelm and inadvertently disengage families and learners with too much technology.

So, at Mossend Primary School and Nursery Class we used our FAST-remote learning strategy to decide on apps, websites, and software that we would use during term 4 in the Lockdown:

F – We knew that digital technology that allows learners to work with peers on a project is by far the most engaging (West Partnership, 2020). Therefore, the technology that allowed our learners the flexibility to work individually, with partners or in smaller groups remotely was a key consideration and we found that Microsoft OneNote, Flipgrid and Glow Blogs allowed us this capability.

We will discuss further in a future blog how this collaboration with peers allowed us to assess learning, but in terms of flexibility, it certainly allowed our children a choice of how they learned.

A- The resources we were putting out had to be accessible to ensure equity across all devices, this was of the utmost importance to us.

In an ideal world, all our learners would be at home on the same type of device with the same broadband bandwidth and speed, but we don’t live in an ideal world and we had to be extremely mindful of using universal file formats that could be opened on as many devices as possible and of download limits and costs that some families could have occurred for large file sizes. We had learners using MacBooks, Windows laptops and PCs, Android tablets, Apple Ipads and even a range of smartphones to access content; it was far from an ideal world.  

This could have easily created additional barriers for families trying to access online content and impact pupil engagement as we discussed on our blog last week. Therefore, we ensured that Word documents were converted to PDF, that MP4 videos were uploaded to unlisted YouTube channels to avoid downloading, that embedded links in OneNote were shared with direct access on the Microsoft Team and that where we were using something that a  universal conversion was not available, we offered alternatives and choice of similar apps across a range of platforms.

Furthermore, it was our professional duty to ensure that the websites, apps, or software we were promoting were suitable for primary school age groups.  We could not afford to undermine or devalue our internet safety message we had been promoting at school and therefore it simply was not an option for us to promote or use platforms that our children were not legally allowed to be accessing, no matter how engaging or ‘on trend’ they currently were.

S –  To avoid overwhelming families and learners with numerous login details we tried to choose core apps and websites that linked to the Microsoft 365 Glow tenancy and allowed Glow login details to be used as a single sign-in such as Flipgrid, Hour of Code, Minecraft Edu, Book Creator and Thing Link.

Families would not want ‘hundreds’ of sign-in requirements, passwords and usernames to remember or sites to access and this would create a further barrier for some, therefore the benefit of using the Microsoft 365 login with Glow details was something we looked out for when deciding if we would try at app or use a website with our pupils.

Furthermore, it was not enough to simply give information to pupils of platforms to use without providing support on how to use them, we saw our role as teachers to educate not to signpost to other apps or websites. Therefore, we created a range of family ‘How to’ videos covering using Microsoft Teams, solving audio and video problems, uploading, and sharing files and using the collaboration space in Class Notebook; as discussed on a previous blog and we ensured that families knew that technical help was available if they needed it and that we were there to support them with the apps and websites we were recommending.

We accompanied this with guides showing the conversions from other curriculums to Scotland’s CfE that families may come across online and guides on reading, spelling and literacy for all CfE levels, along with narrated PowerPoints on supporting, challenging and extending learning at home from the resources we were providing. We felt this empowered families to make choices on suitable tasks for their children.

We are teachers, not ICT experts however we tried our best to support families using a Microsoft Forms technical help request – making phone calls, sending numerous emails, resetting passwords, and even having private live video calls with parents/carers to help them download apps or get resolve issues. We were able to solve all the issues that were presented to us and certainly this will be easier should we return to a blended learning approach, as we will have the luxury of discussing and demonstrating to the pupils in person in school.  

T – The digital world moves at a rapid pace and therefore timing is always going to be a consideration; there is a fine balance to be found on introducing a new app or website and weighing up the benefits to our learners from its introduction.  We ensured that we attended the CLPL events being offered by Education Scotland’s Digital teaching and learning Team including on Blended Learning, Digital Journals, Book Creator and Thing Link to understand what benefits each could bring and to then allow us to make informed assessments of them against our FAST digital strategy and the context of our school and learners.

To app or not to app, that was the question we found ourselves discussing in our weekly meetings and a question that we will continue to ask when introducing any digital technology to our school. The digital world will continue to grow, but as educators, our prime focus must always remain on the benefits to teaching and learning, not on using the latest technology.

Nevertheless, we did find that the digital skills of our pupils (and staff) were growing, they were accessing applications and websites that up until a few weeks prior they had never even heard of. For example, we found the time it was taking for responding to comments on Microsoft Team was decreasing, as typing skills improved.  

Finally, we are all aware of the wider issue of equity in regards to digital technology and working from home for learners, so it is our professional duty to ensure that we do not unintentionally widen this equity gap by promoting or using apps, websites, software or file formats that limit accessibility further, create additional barriers for families or are promoting apps not appropriate for the age groups we are working with. To app or not to app, we all need to choose carefully.

Patricia McKay is the Depute Head Teacher at Mossend PS & NC in North Lanarkshire and Gordon Reid is a class teacher and ICT Co-ordinator. Together they facilitated and led the remote learning strategy for the school. 

Mossend PS & NC is a non-denominational school situated in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire. The school has 382 pupils and there are 40 children in the nursery attached to the school.  

Twitter: @mossendps @Mr_G_Reid

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/nl/mossendps/

References

Nicas, J. and Collins, K., 2019. How Apple’s Apps Topped Rivals In The App Store It Controls. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/09/technology/apple-app-store-competition.html#:~:text=More%20than%20two%20million%20apps%20are%20available%20on%20the%20App%20Store [Accessed 1 July 2020].

West Partnership, 2020. Effective remote and digital learning. [online] Glasgow City Region Education. Available at: https://sway.office.com/6JGDmi0rkRCzFVBN?ref=Link [Accessed 1 July 2020].

mossend FAST remote learning strategy

Mossend Primary School – Remote Learning Journey – Every day is a school day

The role of the teacher is forever evolving. We work in a complex and dynamic society, and this unexpected pandemic shone the spotlight on the tenacity, innovation and resilience of our profession across Scotland as we all worked hard to find ways to continue our delivery of quality teaching and learning in an unchartered and uncertain context.

At Mossend Primary School we had our one Microsoft Team set up and the reasons for this we discussed on Blog 2 –  Team Mossend, but we realised early on that it could very easily become overwhelming as the school closed the doors for the last time and an increasing number of children began logging in from home. Furthermore, there was a reasonable and fair expectation from some families that children would continue their learning from where they left off and eyes were now looking to the teacher for this guidance, routine and structure, when the contrasting reality was that no one in our school had ever taught remotely before and no school in Scotland had been preparing for this eventuality. We were all in it together.

Therefore, we knew two people could not sustain a full school Microsoft Team with live lessons on their own, so naturally the next key decision had to be about how to get our staff team involved and upskill them as soon as possible to contribute since they were now working from home too; it would involve speaking to the hearts and minds of our team – it could not be something forced upon them or done to them, instead they had to be on the journey with us.

The heart part was easy to speak to as we are very lucky to work in a school full of dedicated, passionate and talented teachers who commit each day of their lives to do what is best for our children and families, but we needed to change the mindset that some held of their ICT abilities and their confidence in being able to deliver remotely; above all we had to open their eyes to the possibilities for digital teaching and learning and our new way of working.

Therefore, in the first week that schools closed we set up our own in-house digital Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) sessions based around our Remote Learning FAST strategy we discussed in Blog 1:

F – They would be Flexible with follow up videos recorded that the team could access in their own time or refer back to at any point.

By the end of the 12 weeks, we had created a total of 15 ‘How to’ videos covering everything from logging into Microsoft Teams, Creating a Sway, Immersive Reader and more. We are happy to share our ‘Netflix of CLPL’ with anyone reading this blog who would benefit from it.

In addition to group CLPL, we also conducted 1-2-1 sessions when requested and specific group sessions such as for our Nursery team, who had been involved in setting up a Nursery Zone Sub Site for our younger children who did not access Glow. Finally, a further round of CLPL at the end of the term was offered, but by this stage, most of our team had evolved their teaching practice and were revelling in their newfound digital skills and confidence in delivering remote lessons.

A – It would be Accessible, as our team had to be able to access the CLPL without additional stress and this was difficult when we were not in the same building. We chose to use the Zoom platform for our first CLPL session to demonstrate how to download and login to Microsoft Teams to join a call.

The follow-up videos were emailed afterwards and placed on our team SharePoint site and we ensured all our CLPL sessions were short, sharp 15 minutes to make it accessible to our team with childcare or family responsibilities of their own, with further external CLPL sessions shared including those from Digital Learning Team at Education Scotland to allow staff access to upskilling when it suited them and their circumstances.  For many of us, it did feel like we had returned to school ourselves.

 

S – Supportive. This was a journey that we were all on, but it was a journey none of us had completed before and it could very easily have become overwhelming, particularly in the context of our own team’s childcare, family and health concerns. The pandemic impacted teachers and their families too, but we all carried on professionally smiling in front of video cameras and talking to faceless icons.   

Whatever contribution our team made, it was valued and no one was ever made to feel like they were not doing enough; there was never an expectation that staff had to sign up for live lessons, it was always voluntary.

Nevertheless, some of our team found that initially logging in to Microsoft Teams and observing lessons from others or ‘team teaching’ built their confidence and they enjoyed the daily chats and interaction with their pupils and the routine it gave to their own lives. Others preferred not to be on camera but were able to help with the creation or gathering of resources around their personal commitments and circumstances.  

Every day was indeed a school day and the initial decision of having one school Microsoft Team meant that everyone could go at their own pace, in a Supportive environment with no expectations of anyone.


T – Timely.
We are extremely fortunate in Mossend Primary School and Nursery Class to work in with lots of talented teachers who have a passion for varying subjects, therefore the Timing of the inhouse digital CLPL right at the beginning of the pandemic allowed these teachers to see a way of delivering their skillsets digitally, something that up until now had not needed to be considered.

This was critical to our overall success, as it allowed us to tap into the talent of our team and be able to expand and diversify our timetable to offer a range of quality and engaging lessons such as British Sign Language, STEM, arts and crafts, coding and physical challenges. Our children also loved seeing and speaking to a range of teachers and this increased overall engagement, which we will blog about next week.

Teachers are committed to Career Long Professional Learning, it is embedded within our professional standards, yet the difference in this scenario was that our professional learning could not take place at a convenient time or even over a period of time, we had to learn and adapt quickly while supporting our families in their newfound normal and living with the consequences of the pandemic in our personal lives.

Therefore, we are extremely proud and thankful of our talented team at Mossend Primary School and Nursery Class who did just that and in the end went on to deliver nearly 200 live lessons across the 13 weeks, working together as #TeamMossend. 


Patricia McKay is the Depute Head Teacher at Mossend PS & NC in North Lanarkshire and Gordon Reid is a class teacher and ICT Co-ordinator. Together they facilitated and led the remote learning strategy for the school.

Mossend PS & NC is a non-denominational school situated in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire. The school has 382 pupils and there are 40 children in the nursery attached to the school.

Patricia McKay is the Depute Head Teacher at Mossend PS & NC in North Lanarkshire and Gordon Reid is a class teacher and ICT Co-ordinator. Together they facilitated and led the remote learning strategy for the school.

Mossend PS & NC is a non-denominational school situated in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire. The school has 382 pupils and there are 40 children in the nursery attached to the school.

Twitter: @mossendps @Mr_G_Reid

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/nl/mossendps/

Kinneil primary blood post leader image

Distance Learning 2020 at Kinneil Primary School, Bo’ness

Kinneil Primary School in Bo’ness have shared with us their distance learning experience over the school building closure period.  This Sway outlines their use Teams, Twitter, Sumdog and Big Maths across the school, from P1 to P7, to deliver curricular content and wider school experiences such as assemblies and choir.

Twitter: @Kinneil_PS

Deanburn primary school blog post header

Distance Learning at Deanburn Primary School, Falkirk

At Deanburn Primary, we have developed our use of digital learning platforms throughout the period of school closure. We have worked together as a team to develop new and exciting ways to connect with our pupils and their families, and to support them in navigating Microsoft Teams as a new ‘classroom’. We have been able to consolidate key learning through a number of ways but have also enjoyed introducing concepts and capturing the unique learning of our pupils.

All of our staff, our Senior Leadership Team, Teaching Staff, and Support For Learning Staff have maintained regular contact with our children and have engaged in the wide range of approaches shared – it has been a journey!

Please take a look at the sway produced by Deanburn Primary School which provides an overview, and examples of how they have used the Office 365 tools within Glow, use of video and social media for learning and collaboration.

Twitter @DeanburnPS

Online https://www.deanburn.falkirk.sch.uk/

St Patricks PS blog post header

How digital technology enhances the engagement of learning across the primary stages? St Patrick’s, South Ayrshire

How digital technology enhances the engagement of learning across the primary stages? – A Professional Enquiry

Daniella Mancini (@missmancini27)

I set out to investigate the following points:

  • to explore whether the use of digital technology enhances engagement levels in the primary class
  • to measure the importance of digital skills across a range of primary class stages (P1- P7)
  • to explore the impact of digital technology across the primary stages

The justification, methodology and results can be viewed in the enquiry here:

post school destination blog post header

Post School Destinations, UCAS – Virtual Showcase

DGS Virtual University and College Showcase. On Wednesday 10th June, 15 Universities, Colleges and Organisations from across Scotland delivered virtual presentations with q&a’s to young people and families across Argyll & Bute. This was done in 1/2 hour slots throughout the day via 6 digital platforms; MicrosoftTeams, Adobe Connect, Zoom, Blackboard, WebEx and Youtube. Pupils were added to a Google Classroom via their Glow accounts where they could access the links as well as other valuable information regarding UCAS. For families or recent school leavers who didn’t have access to Glow, we made the links available on our school website. We used our school and Skills Development Scotland social media platforms to promote the event. For a number of sessions, we had over 90 participants which was a fantastic level of engagement from the young people of Argyll & Bute. We had double figures engagement for every session, averaging 50-60 participants. A number of institutions recognised that we were the first school in Scotland to enquire about a Virtual Showcase to school pupils, something that many of the Universities and Colleges had never done before. The day ran extremely smoothly, with every session being successfully delivered via their technologies and chosen platforms. A number also agreed to record their sessions and allow us to post in our Google classroom for regular access. Institutions who could not deliver on the day, have contacted us and sent over recordings which we again can publish. Overall, it was a fantastic experience the see the extremely high level of engagement from young people in an authority that covers a large geographical area connect with so many Universities, Colleges and Organisations that wouldn’t be able to deliver in the current climate face to face. Through technology, we were able to deliver our originally planned physical showcase in the school building and deliver it on a larger scale with increased levels of engagement from young people and institutions.
Colin Deans
Principle Teacher, Guidance
Dunoon Grammar

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

community and parent engagement blog post header

Parent and Community Engagement during ‘Lockdown’

I have always viewed Dalintober PS & ELC as a ‘community’ school, in its truest sense.   Our commitment to ensuring that we actively communicate with parents and partners and include them in our curriculum and social planning and implementation is essential to our schools’ & ELC ethos.   This has grown to include the second school that I recently became Head Teacher of – Glenbarr PS.

We have always had very solid foundations and relationships with our parents and communities, but I can truly say that the ‘lockdown’ period has only strengthened these connections.   Engagement and discussion has been a constant feature of our overall strategy during lockdown.

We had intended to investigate Google Classrooms as part of our 3 year School Improvement Plan – but ‘lockdown’ certainly expedited this!   The commitment and energy of staff, pupils and parents in taking forward our new digital learning systems has been, quite simply, outstanding.   We have worked together to find ways to offer devices and support, including phone consultations – and with the help of partner agencies in the Children & Families Team and the Kintyre Community Resilience Group.

We have very successful school Facebook Pages, including a closed ELC Parent/Carer & Staff Group, and these have continued to be the main vehicle in recognising and celebrating achievements, sharing good news stories and information.   Parents are incredibly supportive of our social media pages and there are lovely interactions on a daily basis.   We have ensured that we have a ‘virtual’ final term, keeping many of the events and activities that would normally occur at this point in the school year – this has included ‘Virtual’ Assemblies, ‘Virtual’ School Photo Day, ‘Virtual’ Sports Day, ‘Virtual’ School Trips  and Music Festival Week and on-going transition activities.  Posting and sharing photos, as we normally would, has helped us maintain a positive and feel-good link with the community and parents at this unprecedented time.

We have also continued to work alongside local partners and businesses – this has included Shopper-Aide, the Great Lockdown Quarantine Quiz, Roots of Empathy, and Glen Scotia & Springbank Distilleries and may others – including upcoming interviews with ‘noted Campbeltonians’ such as best-selling author, Denzil Meyrick and musician/composer, Lorne MacDougall.

I very much believe in being open, honest and approachable to parents and the school communities.   There is nothing more powerful than human connection and maintaining that connection ‘virtually’ has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my working week – both prior to, and during lockdown.

Our school buildings may be closed; but our schools’ & ELC ethos continue to thrive.

We thank everyone involved in helping us achieve and sustain this.

 

Caroline Armour

Head Teacher

Dalintober PS & ELC and Glenbarr PS

young girl holding drawing of elephant
adult and you children eating
twitter screenshot
twitter screenshot
twitter screenshot