Category: Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire EAL Header

Aberdeenshire English as an Additional Language (EAL) Service

aberdeen council logoIn Aberdeenshire, our EAL teachers have been working to find the best ways to support bilingual learners and their families throughout the pandemic, as well as class teachers. If adapting to the challenges of the pandemic and online learning were not hard enough, many children and families have also faced the language barrier, as well as perhaps not being familiar with the Scottish Curriculum and routines and norms that may be taken for granted as something all children and families will think of as normal. Over the last year, our EAL teachers have embraced new ways of working and have developed a range of resources and approaches. Telephone interpreting used to be very rarely used but has now seen demand skyrocket with a lot of positive feedback on its effectiveness in breaking down the language barrier and building relationships between school and family. On several occasions schools have been able to speak to parents who they had not previously managed to reach, and as a result have managed to overcome some barriers that had prevented families from accessing online learning. EAL teachers have also been supporting bilingual learners by sharing advice and resources with class teachers, and also working with some pupils through video conferencing, including teaching SQA ESOL courses. The service has also produced translated comments and videos to support families who may be having difficulty in engaging with online learning.

 

 

Translated comments

A range of translated comments were develo­­­­­­ped to support home-school communication and have been used to communicate one way information to families, with comments being successfully used to overcome barriers to engagement:

 

“Aberdeenshire EAL Service covers a wide geographical area with a number of rural remote communities where our families can be distributed and which can pose communication challenges, particularly when schools are closed to most pupils during this time. One of my larger small town schools, that has a wide catchment area, have a family who were not responding to school information circulars and letters home. I sent the school the translated comments information which included a translation and the school came back and said they found it very useful and were discussing whether to send the translations out to other EAL families across the school.”

Sue Clutterbuck (EAL Teacher)

 

Translated Text Graphic

Telephone interpreting

Translated letters have also been developed to communicate to parents when the school would like to make a call and offer options that the parent can highlight for when they would be available. This has resulted in several calls with parents being arranged when the school had previously found it difficult to reach the parents.

 

“I supported a teacher in one of my schools in using the telephone interpreting service for the first time. By using the translated letters we had produced, parents were able to tell her when they would be free and she was able to call them and speak to them for the first time through an interpreter.”

Ian Brownlee (PT of EAL)

 

Our service has been strongly encouraging schools to use telephone interpreting and in general the feedback has been great (see examples of feedback in the picture below).

 

Telephone Interpreting Graphic

 

Translated Videos

We also worked in partnership with Aberdeenshire’s Learning Through Technology Team to develop translated videos that guide pupils/parents on how to log in to glow and how to use Microsoft Teams and Google Classrooms. The videos were produced in the top five most common languages in Aberdeenshire and have been successfully used to support some families in overcoming barriers to accessing and engaging with online learning:

“They used the link, watched the video and it worked! Bingo. ️”

Sarah Jane Bennison (EAL Teacher)

“I sent the video on how to connect to google classrooms to 2 of the P1 teachers from one of my schools, I made sure they had a direct access to the video, so they didn’t have to look around for it. They sent the video to the parents of P1 pupils with little English, who had not been engaged and 1 child the following day was online and the other child the week after.”

Amanda Blackburn (EAL Teacher)

Colleagues in other local authorities have also  given positive feedback on the videos:

“Of course, we have also been signposting homes to the brilliant videos on the use of ICT/GLOW/Teams on the Aberdeenshire site!”

“I’ve watched the translated glow videos your service have made – they are amazing! Would you mind if I shared that link with some of our schools?; the teams one and logging into glow are so valuable right now.”

 

Translated Video Screen Shot

 

 

Some aspects of online learning and supporting pupils remotely have of course been challenging and we are continuing to try to find ways to support bilingual learners, their families and teachers through the continually evolving circumstances. However the above examples have been successes that we were really happy with and delighted to share.

Ian Brownlee

Principal Teacher of English as an Additional Language

Aberdeenshire EAL Service

Bebras Computing Challenge at Portlethen Academy

post by Ian Simpson (@familysimpson), Faculty Head of ICT at Portlethen Academy (@portyacad)

 

What is the Bebras Computing Challenge?

The Bebras Computing Challenge is a long-running international competition which promotes the importance of computational thinking and problem solving skills in a wider world context. It is organised in over 50 countries and designed to get students aged 6 to 18 from all over the world excited about computing.

Students have to employ a variety of problem-solving strategies in order to complete up to 18 challenges in the allotted time. High scoring students may be lucky enough to qualify for a celebration event which, in previous years, has taken place at Hertford College, Oxford.

 

Why we entered the competition

At Portlethen Academy all S1-3 students take part in the competition, with those in senior phase given the chance to participate as part of their Computing Science or Mathematics classes. Every individual who takes part receives a digital certificate from the University of Oxford which can be printed out in school or at home and those who achieve scores in the top 25% of the cohort are invited to take part in the TCSOCC Challenge in February as recognition of their strong computational thinking skills and to increase their exposure to computer programming problems.

Faculty Head of ICT Ian Simpson has coached groups of students to take part in the Bebras Computing Challenge since 2013. “To get the best out of the groups it shouldn’t be an add on or break from ‘normal lessons’, it is in the school’s best interest to embed teaching of computational thinking skills and prepare for the challenge using the practice challenges or the Perfect Day app.”

 

What pupils learnt from it

Seven students from S1 and 2 scored highly enough in the 2019 challenge to receive an invitation to the celebration event at Hertford College in January 2020. Thanks to support from contacts at Total and Aberdeenshire DYW six were able to travel to Oxford to take part in the final round, experience Computing Science sample lectures and find out more about life as a student at the University of Oxford. Ian Simpson added “This was the first time that such a high number of students from a state school in Aberdeenshire had qualified for the final round. It was a surprise in some ways but testament to the hard work the students put in preparing for the challenge.”

As well as giving students the chance to think creatively and apply their knowledge from across a variety of subject areas the Bebras Computing Challenge helps build student resilience. These skills have increasing demand in further and higher education and will serve them well in the workplace of the future. Taking part in the final round also gave the students increased confidence in their own abilities and, on the drive back to Heathrow, many were sharing strategies they had learned from other participants to improve on their scores next year.

 

Sign up for Bebras here.

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DigiLearnScot Webinar Q&A with Claire Eade, Meethill Primary School, Peterhead

We have been speaking to teachers across Scotland to find out more about their experiences of using digital technology to support their learners. In this Q&A Claire Eade, Class Teacher at Meethill Primary School in Peterhead, shares what she has learned from joining webinars to build digital skills and the top tips she would give to other educators on using digital technology. Look out for more Q&As soon!

 

How has your use of digital changed since schools closed in March? 

My use of digital has changed a huge amount. I had used Teams a little bit before schools closed but not to the extent we then needed to. Initially I had no idea how to navigate Teams and upload assignments but taking part in the digital skills webinars helped me with this greatly.

 

Which webinar/s from Education Scotland’s DigiLearn team did you join and why?

I joined the webinar on using mobile devices to enhance and capture language learning and I joined webinars on using Teams. I also joined the webinar on Google Classroom in case I ever need to use that.  

 

Why did you pick these webinars in particular?

The descriptions for these webinars sounded exactly like what I needed to help with teaching the children on-line.

 

How was the experience of joining an online webinar?

They were absolutely brilliant. They were so easy to join. I was sent a link and I just needed to click on it to access the webinar. It’s up to the webinar attendees whether they switch their camera and microphone on. You’re given the opportunity to put questions in and if these aren’t answered at the time then the DigiLearn team will come back to you with an answer later. The webinars are recorded so you also have the option to watch it later which is great in case there is anything you have forgotten.

 

What have you learned from joining these webinar/s to build digital skills?

I’ve learned that it is not essential for me to be face to face with the children to teach them. When schools closed I thought I really needed to be in front of the children to teach them but I’ve learned that we can absolutely teach them on-line.

 

How did you use these skills to support your learners? Tell us more.

These digital skills have helped me to support my learners in many ways. For example I’ve learned how to use screen capture so that I can show my pupils videos or PowerPoints. I can also record commentary over a PowerPoint so that I can highlight and explain different points to my pupils. I can also use the whiteboard tool to actually demonstrate examples to them and aid their understanding.

 

How have you used Glow to help you support learning at home?

I found Glow very useful for finding resources. For example, I found a great resource for teaching activities in French through Glow. I also saw posts from teachers on social media suggesting resources they had found using Glow which I could then go and look up. Glow has also been very useful for communication as my class regularly contacted me through my Glow email while schools were closed.

 

From your experience, what top tips would you give to other educators on using digital?

My top tip is don’t be scared! Don’t be scared to ask questions especially on the DigiLearn Teams group. It doesn’t matter what the question is, and you might think it is a silly question, but there is always someone else wanting to ask the same thing. I posted a question recently asking about how to archive my Team and I got a response back really quickly. It’s important to make use of the expert knowledge out there as there is always someone who can answer your question.

Northern Alliance language webinars

Northern Alliance, Language Learning Webinars

The Northern Alliance Sharepoint site offers an ongoing series of webinars to support practitioners both during the school closures and beyond.

Having previously delivered an Education Scotland/Northern Alliance joint ‘Languages using digital tools’ event at the Scottish Learning Festival in 2019, we felt that a webinar on this topic was more relevant than ever.  To enable a more in-depth look at the diverse range of digital tools available to support language learning we created a series of 4 webinars. We were also keen to look at where digital tools were being used successful in a languages classroom and to share stories and approaches from across the Northern Alliance.  These webinars were made available through the Northern Alliance CLPL sharepoint on Glow to Northern Alliance authorities and were also available to other Regional Improvement Collaboratives.

The sessions were,

Primary – using digital tools in Glow to Enhance and Capture Language Learning 

This session focused on,

  • Office 365 Web Apps​
  • Immersive Reader​
  • PowerPoint Record​
  • Forms​ – Creating self-marking quizzes
  • OneNote​ – Capturing learning, including pupil voice
  • Help and Support

Secondary – using digital tools in Glow to Enhance and Capture Language Learning

We were delighted to have input from Liegha and Fraser from the Language Dept at Meldrum Academy in Aberdeenshire. Liegha and Fraser shared the many ways they are using digital tools to engage learners and how these tools are embedded throughout their department.

  • Glow ​
  • Teams​
  • Office 365 Web Apps​
  • Immersive Reader​
  • OneNote​
  • Forms​
  • Meldrum Academy – Journey so far​
  • Help and Support

Primary and BGE languages – using G Suite to Enhance and Capture Language Learning 

We were delighted to have input from Gwen McCrossan, Languages Development Officer, Argyll and Bute. Gwen demonstrated how to create virtual classrooms to engage learners in a blended learning environment and how Google Sites can be used to exemplify learning.

This session also focused on,

  • How to access GSuite
  • Google Docs
  • Google Forms
  • Google Sites
  • Google Slides
  • Screen Record Tools
  • Help and Support

Primary and BGE languages – using mobile devices to Enhance and Capture Language Learning

This session focused on,

  • What is Rich Media?​
  • Why use Rich Media?​
  • Apps for creating Rich Media​
  • Sharing and saving content​
  • Help and support

    The Language Webinars were recorded and can be accessed via the Glow Site below.

    There are also links to resources mentioned in the webinars including language virtual classrooms and mobile app information.

https://glowscotland.sharepoint.com/sites/AberdeenshireCouncil/northernalliance/mfldevgroup

Susan Sey, Digital Skills Development Officer, Education Scotland

and

Sylvia Georgin, Languages Development Officer, Aberdeenshire Council and

Languages Workstream Lead, Northern Alliance

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Movie Makers at Banchory Primary

Like everyone with recent events we were thrust into a new way of delivering learning.  Normally at this time of the year Primary 7 are asked to prepare a short speech on a project of their choice.  The pupils are then asked to present these to their class, the selected pupils then present to the whole school before going forward to the cluster final in which they deliver their speeches to a judging panel.

The pupils were asked to continue with the project using the skills which had been taught previously in school, the pupils use iMovie, Do Ink Green Screen, GarageBand and clips to create their speeches.

This is one example of a Student Speech that was submitted. This student created a script, got into character, filmed himself in front of a green screen and then edited the video. I am sure you will agree the content is excellent and the theme for the video has made the video extra special.

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P1 Transition Support, Strathburn School, Aberdeenshire

 

We have used a variety of technology to support Transition for our new Primary 1 pupils.See-Saw Screen shot

 

See-Saw Screen Shot

We obtained Seesaw consent using Microsoft Forms, set up a P1 Transition group using avatar names and invited all new parents to it. Through this group we have uploaded puppet pal videos which include a school tour, delivered parental sessions on emergent literacy using sway, allowed P6 pupils to read out letters they have written to P1, used QR codes to create a treasure hunt round the school building that pupils can carry out over the Summer period as part of their daily walk, started to introduce HWB aspects of the curriculum to pupils via video and used the forum for sharing messages, introducing staff and ensuring parents/carers receive regular up to
date messages about plans and next steps. We are also considering using home learning codes to allow pupils to upload pictures of any transition work they might have done to begin engagement with them.

Sock Puppets Video

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Remote Learning, Strathburn School, Aberdeenshire

 

 

Literacy – reading

I am currently supporting a probationer and we are continuing our observations and meetings As part of her GTC profile. She has been using seesaw to create a fantastic online learning platform for her class however as part of this is also using TEAMS to meet groups of her children to teach Numeracy concepts to small groups or carry out Literacy Tasks.

Today I was invited to participate in a Microsoft TEAM meeting as an observer and was blown away by seven and eight year olds in a TEAM meet. The teacher was sharing her screen so all children had access to a shared text which they could read, discuss, and answer questions on. The children were safe, comfortable within the learning environment that the teacher has established and responded well to their teacher using technology effectively as they muted and turned on the microphone as required when it was their turn to read. I have been an advocate of Glow for many years and am delighted to finally witnessing it being used to its full potential!

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Digital Support in Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire Council has had a dedicated learning with technology team for many years. The team always provided face to face CLPL activities covering a wide range of topics, for teachers and pupils from Early Years to Senior Phase.

Before we were placed in lockdown the Digital Learning Team put information to every school to advise that young people and staff could take school computers, iPads or Chromebooks home if this was required, and we included information on how to set these devices up for home use.

We are in the process of providing hardware to some of our students to allow internet access to allow remote learning.

We set up a Microsoft Team for staff and in this Team we provide channels for discussion, resources to share and a go to place for daily webinars.

We also created websites for parents and carers to allow them to support their youngsters in learning, and we pointed them to Internet Safety resources, Glow resources, Scholar resources and daily updates on learning activities for every age and stage. We also used Glide app , a free resource to allow parents/carers to see this information in the form of an app on their mobile devices.

Since lockdown we have delivered daily webinars using MS Teams to initially upskill teachers in their knowledge of the digital tools available in Glow, and how to quickly and easily make use of them in preparing and delivering learning activities.

As the weeks progressed, we began to look at more particular examples of using the technology to augment and enhance existing resources, and more of the chat became about learning and less about devices and software

We are continuing with our daily webinars, we now have guest presenters and are looking forward to welcoming some of our own practitioners to deliver webinars on how they are using the digital tools in Glow for learning and teaching.

These are difficult times, never before have all the students been out of school, but every day is a learning day and we are certainly discovering new and better ways to use digital tools more effectively with learners and staff.

We are currently developing plans around remote learning during this crisis and into the future, where learning and teaching will look different.

 

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Our Digital Journey at Logie Durno Primary School

At Logie Durno Primary we use digital technologies with two main aims in mind.

Firstly we know that children need to be able to reflect on their learning and articulate what their next steps are. Digital technologies, and in particularly using portfolios, has allowed them to do this. All children from P1-7 are able to use an iPad to take a picture or video of their learning, post to their portfolio and use the multimedia tools to explain not just what the task was, but what they have learned and what they need to work on next. This is instantly shared with teachers and families members, who make comments back. This has worked well for us, and we have seen an increase in parental involvement as a result. The crucial steps in this journey were helping the children to understand not just how to post to their portfolios, but what to post and why they are posting it. This engenders responsibility for their own learning, a trait we believe is crucial for further success. In order to achieve this we have had to invest in technology to ensure that all learners have equitable access to the digital tools they need.

Secondly we want our pupils to equipped with the appropriate skills for learning, life and work. We have developed our curriculum to ensure we focus on skills. Called ‘Skills Passport’, we use interdisciplinary learning, organised around a core set of skills, to give pupils experiences that will serve them well as they grow up. Digital technologies form a core part of this work. We have used filmmaking as a context for team work and creativity skills, design and technology to work on problem solving, food technology and thinking skills also formed part of the skills based curriculum.

Using digital technologies as an everyday part of schooling allows us to serve our pupils well by giving them the tools they need to reflect on their learning and the digital skills they need to succeed as they move through life.

Logie Durno YouTube Playlist