Category: Local Authority

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.

Christmas Activity Booklets for Early, First and Second Level – North Lanarkshire Digital Pathfinders

The North Lanarkshire Digital Pathfinder Team have created these digital Christmas Activity Booklets for Early, First and Second level.

Book Creator was used to create the booklets as it allows children to access the books independently at home or in school. The booklets are a more sustainable method to accessing a range of Christmas activities across the curriculum and can help to reduce photocopying. The learners have enjoyed using this resource as it allows them to engage with different digital media. The booklets also provide the opportunity for the learner to consolidate their digital skills and use personalisation and choice when completing the activities.

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 👇



Noteable – DPIA Information udpate

The Noteable service providing access to cloud based computational notebooks is now available via the App Library in Glow.

Noteable provides a cloud based environment for coding activities using Python and R/R Studio.  This can be used to support the delivery of Computing Science and Data Science based courses as well as Higher Applications of Mathematics.

  • A DPIA will be required before schools in local authorities can access the service. This document should provide most of the information required for Local Authorities.
  • To access the Noteable app in Unify, the Glow Key Contact has to make contact with RM who will issue an application request form.  Once completed and returned, the app will be made available to admins for the authority who can accept the terms and conditions and install across their establishments

DPIA Support

EDINA, at the University of Edinburgh have provided documentation to help with DPIAs.  This documentation is available below.

Noteable Service DPIA (outwith University of Edinburgh)

Additional Questions and Answers asked by LAs

It states that the legal basis is Contract. What is the basis of the contract? Who is the contract with given the Local Authorities haven’t signed anything directly with Edinburgh University

  • EDINA, at the University of Edinburgh holds an agreement with Education Scotland to integrate and supply the Noteable service through the GLOW system to Scottish schools. Contractual agreements to access GLOW apps fall between Education Scotland and the Local Authority. Service level contracts and agreements between EDINA, the University of Edinburgh and service users are relevant and applicable where there is a legal basis to supply the service as a paid subscription.

Does the Local Authority have to request removal of material from the cloud once the qualification is done or doe this happen automatically?

  • Removal of data on the Noteable service is managed by the Data Retention Policy available on the Noteable website:
  • Once a user has been tagged with a ‘Suspended’ or equivalent affiliation by the Identity Management System that feeds into the Noteable system through GLOW, using the SAML2 authentication standard, the user’s account will be made unavailable for access and user accounts are deleted one year after the user’s affiliation is set to ‘Deleted’.User account deletion does not include deleting assignment work submitted to Instructors – this data is considered owned by the relevant Instructor and will remain within their Noteable service user space until the instructor account has been Suspended and Deleted according to the schedules described above.

Please describe the technical measures that will be put in place to support the protection the data in the cloud

  • The Noteable service adopts Jupyter technology into its infrastructure stack and does not link to Jupyter project servers that may be based outside of the United Kingdom. The Noteable hardware and software infrastructure stack are run by and within University of Edinburgh’s IT infrastructure. The Information Security Strategy of the University of Edinburgh includes information on Cyber security incident prevention and management requirements and advice for staff members of the University. (
  • To protect data within the Noteable service, The infrastructure that Noteable is built upon takes nightly backups of the virtual machines running the Noteable service. The service itself runs within Docker containers in those virtual machines. The backups are retained for 4 weeks (this information is available within the Data Retention Policy as well).


University of Edinburgh’s website states: ‘Noteable is integrated with Learn to allow for a central launch point into a pre-set environment without the need for a separate login.’ Are you able to explain what Learn’ is?

LEARN refers to the University of Edinburgh’s specific online learning environment, and in the case of schools the word ‘Learn’ would be replaced with ‘GLOW’ as the equivalent. As these are the University of Edinburgh’s specific websites, information about Noteable will be specific to their use case. Further information on Noteable for schools can be found on our YouTube playlist and website.

Noteable – Cookie Policy ( – are you able to clarify the third parties you rely on to sub-contract the processing if this includes personal data

    • Noteable uses New Relic and Google Tag manager for gathering performance and traffic metrics. All data is obfuscated for New Relic and used only for performance metric purposes. Google Tag manager is used on the service launch page and there is no personal data that is fed or added to Google Tag manager.

Will personal data be included on any assignments? E.g. teacher name, signature and pupils name, class, schools?

  • Data securely authenticated by Noteable using the SAML2 authentication protocol used with the GLOW system will possibly include student names to track assignments and school name identification on the launch page and for assignment management.

What departmental controls or controls by University of Edinburgh etc. will be put in place to protect personal data? E.g. ‘Student Guide to using Noteable for Assignments’

  • Personal data is protected and managed by the Noteable service data retention policy:
  • Backups of data on the Noteable service are outlined in the policy which includes further information on the virtual machines which run the infrastructure of the service.
  • Personal data is obfuscated in all possible instances and solely used for authentication purposes to access the service and a user’s saved environment and files.

What do teachers have access to?

  • Teachers have access to a user-specific instance of Noteable, including computational notebook files and environments they have created and saved previously, including options to choose computational notebook types with Python and R-based notebooks. Teachers have assignment features enabled when they authenticate into Noteable through GLOW, and can create assignments for their class using the Formgrader tab on the Noteable service dashboard. Teachers have access to the Formgrader feature for releasing assignments to their classes from Noteable as well, which will release an assignment file from the source in the teacher’s user space for students in their class to fetch in the Assignments tab of Noteable.

Do you rely on any sub-processors? The storing of data outside the UK would have to be a yes as University of Edinburgh is a Data Processor. We need to understand if anyone else is ?

  • No personal data that Noteable may use is stored outside of Scotland and the United Kingdom. All data is stored on University of Edinburgh hardware.

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

07 June 2021, 16:00-17:00, Glow Using Teams With Learners

Monday 7th June 4:00 – 5:00pm

Using Teams With Learners

About this event

Please be aware these sessions are for practitioners across Scotland who have a Glow account. A staff Glow account will be required to access the Microsoft Team where the session will take place.

Creation > Distribution>Grading>Feedback

This session aims to familiarise participants with Teams in Glow, and how it can be used to help you create collaborate classrooms and connect with colleagues, stay organised and have conversations all in one place.

In Teams you have access to all your apps and documents and can easily respond to chat and conversations even on the go and keeps you in the loop. Organise interactive lessons with built in Class Notebook

We will cover:

  • Accessing & Joining a Team
  • Conversations/Announcements
  • Files (Class Materials)
  • Channels
  • Setting up and Managing Meetings (used for live lessons)
  • Assignments
  • Set up Class Notebook & Add Insights Tab

Note – This session may be of particular interest to those practitioners who are new to Glow, returning to teaching or newly qualified practitioners preparing for 2021/22.

Register here 

Lenzie Meadow Primary School – HOW TO CREATE HIGHLY ENGAGING CONTENT Lisa Ann Tani


Have you ever created a digital resource and felt that it was somewhat uninspiring?

It is easily done. We have all experienced “death by PowerPoint”.

ThingLink is a fabulous (and free) platform created by a Microsoft Gold Partner team which can be used to create highly engaging virtual classrooms, tours and even escape rooms.

Let’s dive in.

Example of primary one homework focusing on rhyme:

Our school’s Senior Leadership Team comprising of Sheona Allen (HT), Lorraine Donnelly (DHT) and Elaine Gardiner (DHT) have been successfully using ThingLink to create weekly virtual assemblies:

One of the most engaging aspects of ThingLink is the ability to create escape rooms. I recently finished developing an escape room for our primary two pupils focusing on internet safety when playing online games. Try it out for yourself:

Get started with ThingLink using the links below:

Tutorial Microsoft Educator Community

Try out ThingLink


Shetland Islands Council Q&A

Education Scotland’s DigiLearn team are always happy to provide their digital expertise and support to practitioners. In October 2020 the team took part in Shetland Islands Council’s two in-service days for practitioners, which for the first time were held on-line.  The DigiLearn team provided a wide range of sessions for staff on everything from digital pedagogy skills to unleashing creativity using digital tools.  In this Q&A Jacqueline Casey, Workforce Development Advisor at the time, and James Johnston, Quality Improvement Officer, from Shetland Islands Council, and Tracy Langley, Operational Lead For Remote Teaching for Shetland and Depute e-Sgoil, discuss the sessions.


Why are in-service days important for your staff?


The October In-service days are two dedicated days per year that are focussed on professional learning for our staff, therefore ensuring a varied yet appropriate programme for them each year is vital.  Usually our programme is planned and compiled based on the wants, needs and feedback from our frontline staff and management and also any national themes and focus at the time.  The opportunity for professional learning is very important for staff development and practice, and also contributes to staff being able to positively influence the lives and experiences of the children and young people they work with in Shetland.


  • This was the first time Shetland’s in-service Day has been held on-line. How did you find this compared to previous years?


At the start of COVID-19 we had started our planning, including contacting external trainers from across Britain on the premise that they would be physically visiting us in October.  So when we went into lockdown and realised eventually that it wasn’t going to be a short term thing, a quick decision had to be made as to if and how we were going to be able to deliver the programme.  It was decided that we would push on to try to organise a fully virtual programme, thinking that it would be far smaller than our usual offering.  We also decided on four themes to try to make things a bit more focussed – Health and Wellbeing (for pupils and staff), Digital Skills, Literacy and Numeracy.  These themes were decided both based on national themes but also on a reflection of what the year had been like for our staff, and where priorities had needed to shift so rapidly in response to COVID-19.


The actual programme itself went really well, and the feedback we got from our follow up survey was really positive.  We were delighted that we could provide such a large and varied programme and of course that the technology all worked on the day!


  • What topics were you looking for Education Scotland’s DigiLearn team to cover as part of the in-service days?


We have worked with Education Scotland for digital input for a few years now, and in conjunction with our Digital Skills Lead here in Shetland, to contribute to and build on our Digital Strategy.  So we were really happy to be guided by the digital team for our in-service programme – particularly where we were aware that remote teaching and learning had rocketed to the front focus of how teachers and pupils were now living and working.  We wanted this theme to be about the delivery of blended teaching and learning, but also about making the best use of the technology available to our staff.  Therefore the courses that Susan and her colleagues delivered were:

  • Flipped Learning to Support Blended / Mixed Delivery Model
  • Digital Tools for Assessment & Feedback
  • Digital Pedagogy Skills
  • Using Digital Tools to Capture, Create and Share Outdoor Learning Experiences
  • Unleashing Creativity Using Digital Tools


  • Why did you think these topics in particular would be of interest to practitioners?

The themes of literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing and digital are present in each year of the October In-Service programme but are usually supplemented by a broad range of other professional learning opportunities.  Central Officers, in conjunction with workforce development colleagues took the decision to narrow the focus in 2020 across these core areas in respect of the following considerations:

Manageability – in terms of the online nature of the programme and practitioners skills and knowledge to access learning from remote locations

Alignment – ensuring professional learning supported our strategic priorities with regards to recovery and renewal and reflected our local authority messaging around minimising the number of school improvement priorities

Relevance – understanding the needs of staff and learners and providing a meaningful and motivating programme to meet these needs

Capacity – giving consideration to teachers’ and practitioners’ own ability to consume and implement new learning in the context of the pandemic

Readiness – supporting staff to be confident in delivering within their school’s approach to blended and/or remote learning

The digital skills aspect of the programme stood out by itself but also supported innovation and creativity relevant to the other three areas.

  • How do you think practitioners will use the information provided in these sessions?


The October In-Service creates an opportunity to collectively ‘pause and upskill’ but is just one aspect of a cyclical, year round offer of high quality professional learning opportunities.  Teachers will use the learning in a number of ways depending on where they are at in their learning journey but broadly speaking the digital approach to professional learning is driving more engagement and collaboration:


Engagement Building on the success of approaches to remote learning in term four of 2020, sharing coursework and homework on digital platformsand engaging with pupils and parents in a more digitally agile way.  Monitoring learner engagement and participation and identifying where more support is required.


Collaboration – using digital platforms to collaborate at many levels.  For example, withinschools, across departments andlocal authorities as well as engagement at RIC level and participation in national conversations, regional improvement collaboratives and nationally.  The ability to share knowledge and practice with colleagues and gather insight and information from national partners has been strengthened.


  • Looking to the future – what digital topics do you think will be useful for your practitioners to learn about?


Practitioners will need time to embed new skills and ways of working and so the pace of change needs to be managed effectively.  It is important to create the right conditions to ensure that people feel confident, competent and supported in working in a digitally agile way.  We have paused the development of a digital and teaching strategy in order to understand and evaluate this period of rapid change and, given the period of significant change within the digital learning and teaching landscapesince March 2020 , revisit some of the consultation questions which were shaping the strategy prior to lockdown.  This will ensure we are moving in the right direction, investing our resources and time in the right way and building a digital education workforce where nobody is left behind.  In the meantime, for the remainder of this school year, we will take advantage of the range of professional learning opportunities to support our current position and listen to what our teachers need next.

Going forward digital skills training for the use of the Glow platform and Teams, SharePoint, PowerPoint, One Note Class Notebook and the Promethean interactive panels are to be made our standard offering. Our digital skills support package is updated throughout the year to direct all staff to these online courses which they can do at a time that suits them best. One off sessions delivered by Ian Stuart at Microsoft and the Education Scotland team can also be offered as and when needed throughout the year. These can complement each other and also allow for staff to revisit online courses andtutorials if needed.


Local authorities – if you would like advice or support from Education Scotland’s DigiLearn team please contact – Kirsty McFaul via email at