Category: Sharing

Practitioner Examples of Blended Learning in Primary – Webinar

Andrew Boulind and Rory Buchanan, St Joseph’s Primary School, Aberdeen

We shared how Blended Learning has been used on return at the start of this new session 2020-2021 and its impact on the learners. After having returned in August form Lockdown, we felt it was important to utilise the digital skills the learners had gained as well as improving pupil engagement, motivation, and challenge by using a blended approach to learning in the classroom. By maintaining this blended approach, we have been able to provide a differentiated and more personalised approach to learning.

Although technology has played an important part in our classes it has been important to create a stimulating environment in the classroom where the displays demonstrate a range of curricular areas and are accessible and used to reinforce learning.

By using our variation of Blended learning, the pupils have been leading the learning. It was vital for us that learning was relevant and built on previous online learning. The approach has made sure that pupils are aware of learning expectations and know how to be successful in their learning, whether online or in class.

Learners are engaging in various types of learning experiences, online, in class and in groups. Learners are encouraged to develop high order thinking strategies in their classwork using the and online activities. Due to the use of online assessment tools the Learners are aware of feedback and can act rapidly on this. Digital technology is a feature of learning with both in class as well as at home. After the lockdown and the possibility that they had more “textbook type activities” it has been important to provide them with activities that they can relate their learning to real life contexts.

The Webinar will looked at the tools and pedagogy used in this first term (August – October), the digital tools used and their impact on their learners. 

Recorded Webinar – Practitioner Examples of Blended Learning in Primary

 

      PowerPoint Presentation – Practitioner Examples of Blended Learning in Primary

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/ 

Stay Organised with Wakelet

I would like to share with you, my fellow educators, a tool I have discovered recently. riverbank primary school logoIt is called Wakelet. Before, I used Pocket and it was good, but it had its limitations.  

Wakelet is a website and an app. It allows you to curate websites, tweets, pictures,  blog entries, newspaper articles, links, videos, songs, and other items in your Google Drive.  

You classify everything into collections. 

Regarding privacy, you can make these collections private, you can share them with certain people or you can make them public. You can choose the degree of privacy for each collection. Wakelet has a variety of uses: 

For example, Wakelet is a great timesaver, and will put your memory at rest. We can stop relying on remembering everything.  With Wakelet’s collections, you will not lose a thing.  

 Curation is a specially useful feature of Wakelet. As a teacher you read useful articles, websites, watch videos, do CPD etc. You will discover that curating  those items to refer back to and/or share with others is something easy and quick to organise and to find afterwards. You’ll stop saying : ” where did I read that?”. 

 I have a Wakelet colleague in South Africa who I met at the Microsoft Educator centre and again at Twitter.  I never thought before of the enormous possibilities that Wakelet offers to our profession. We share our Wakelet collections in such an easy way. We share ideas, projects, learning, digital literacy tips and good advice. Collaborating  with others is one of the perks of Wakelet. Colleagues can contribute to your collections and you can contribute to theirs. They can add to your list. 

In upper primary and in secondary it can be an exciting tool to to use with the learners. As a teacher, you curate information for the learners to use and master in an online or blended our in the class environment, while the learners can do the same as they organize research projects from a wide variety of digital resources and express themselves by using all the features of Wakelet. to reflect on and connect to previous learning experiences. Wakelet fosters communication. You create a hub for your learners, where they can be confidently  interacting with their classmates about the topic you or they have chosen. Online resources, pieces of work, videos, podcasts, photographs can all be great samples of the work that is being done in the classroom.  

Wakelet’s latest creation is called spaces, it helps you to be top notch organised. Several collections are part of a space and you again can choose its privacy. 

Come and ride the #WakeletWave with us. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop using it. Wakelet is a great tool to keep you prepared. As a Wakelet community Leader, let me know if I can support you with any queries you may have. You can find me in Twitter @pilararqued and Wakelet at https://wakelet.com/@MrsArqued

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

Peebles high school STEM blog post header

A Devastating Fire, A Global Pandemic and The Evolution of Digital Teaching in the Biology Department at Peebles HS.

Iona Minto, PT STEM and Teacher of Biology takes us on the journey of how digital teaching has remarkably evolved at Peebles High School in Scottish Borders.
In this Sway you can find out how the Biology staff embraced the introduction of Scottish Border’s Inspire Learning Programme (1:1 devices) and how they have worked together to support one another through a peer to peer professional learning support network.
In this Sway, Iona also details
  • the digital tools that have helped them to work better as a department so far
  • the initial response to school closures in COVID-19 Lockdown
  • features to support pupils
  • what digital learning and teaching may look like moving forward at  Peebles High School
  • and lots of practical examples of what the learning looks like

iona.minto@glow.sch.uk      @MrsMintoBioSci

 
 

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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Spotlight On: Craigour Park Primary School’s Digital Journey.

In this blog post, Matthew Greig, P4 Teacher and Digital Strategy Lead from Craigour Park Primary School in Edinburgh takes us on the digital journey at Criagour Park Primary.

Before the idea of school closures ever crossed our mind, Craigour Park had been working towards improving digital engagement for staff, learners and parents. We had over the past year evaluated our progress, highlighted our strengths and had a clear vision of how we would like to move forward. A new skills progression was being developed in collaboration with learners and parents. Our class teachers were routinely integrating digital technology into learning experiences, robotics dance parties were no longer a wild dream, our learners were becoming experts in the world of Office 365 and words like Plickers and GoSpiral now had meaning. Then Covid-19 emerged as the next great challenge our nations schools would have to overcome. The classrooms fell silent and the school doors were locked. Despite the significant changes to the way that we now lived our lives, our staff took this as an opportunity to enhance the digital literacy of our learners and seek new and creative ways to continue delivering high quality learning experiences.

Communication

Our journey began with our teachers establishing multiple lines of communication. For our P1-3 teachers this meant Learning Journals. For the rest of the school (P4-P7) class teams were set up on Microsoft Teams. Twitter accounts were established by each stage from Nursery up to P7. Our school website was updated, and a school YouTube account was created. During this initial phase of lockdown, we gained useful feedback from learners and parents by using Google and Microsoft Forms. This allowed us to actively respond to our learner’s needs and ensure that we engaged as many pupils as possible.

Microsoft Teams

After a few initial teething errors, Microsoft Teams proved to be a huge success amongst learners and teachers. As well as providing a platform for learners to access their learning it also provided them with a social space where they could talk directly to one another. Who knew that a 3-hour conversation could be sustained purely with emojis? Teaching staff embraced the opportunity to develop their pedagogy with Sways, Forms and assignments now becoming commonplace. Using rubrics, points systems and forms a variety of assessment techniques are routinely implemented and our whole school marking policy is continuing to be used. Our Spanish teacher was added to all our Teams allowing them to run school wide competitions ranging from creating a Tapas feast to recreating famous works of art by Spanish Artists. Several additional apps have been trialled by our teachers. Insights for example has now become the standard tool for assessing engagement allowing us to target further support to pupils who may need it. Our school has also realised the value of Teams in supporting transition with new teachers having the opportunity to communicate directly with learners and assess their current levels and interests.

Twitter

Our school Twitter accounts have provided opportunities for our learners to engage with school and city-wide initiatives. Recently to support the transition from Nursery to P1, many of our staff and learners went on a Teddy Bear Hunt! Our P5 teachers led a #BigDayIn where learners had the opportunity to showcase their wider talents and achievements which would normally be celebrated at assemblies, the magic tricks were mind boggling! Throughout lockdown our school PE teacher has created a variety of challenges and initiatives which keep our learners healthy and active. Ranging from community treasure hunts to playing conventional sports with items you might find in the cupboard.  We are ending the school year with our own version of the Olympics and a school wide BRAW (Bike Run and Walk) challenge where participants are challenged to do one activity each day for the whole month of June.

YouTube

During lockdown our school established a YouTube channel to directly show learners different strategies and skills. Feedback from teachers, parents and learners indicated that this would be a useful tool to support home learning activities. This has enabled us as a school to deliver lessons directly to our learners with the same explanations and guidance they would receive within the classroom. Our P3 Team have used this excellently with learners now having access to videos showing them how to create and understand Pictographs, Bar graphs and Carroll Diagrams. Our Nursery is regularly reading bedtime stories, a favourite of which is of course the Wonky Donkey. Learners can learn new PE skills directly and learners can join in with Maths warm up games. In addition, our SLT and Head Teacher have taken the opportunity to deliver messages directly to parents and learners. The school year is ending with a whole staff video for our P7’s in lieu of their usual leavers assembly.

Although Covid-19 has certainly raised many challenges and continues to have a significant impact on the lives and education of our learners, one positive is that our staff and many of our learners are certainly now more adept  and confident delivering learning in the digital age.

https://craigourparkprimary.wordpress.com/

@CraigourPark

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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

 

Seesaw blog post header

Seesaw as a digital remote learning tool: Digital Tracking of Pupil Engagement and top tips for increasing engagement 

 

After receiving CLPL funding from the Education Scotland STEM Nation grant this year, training was offered across the Islay cluster in digital skills.  One of the key developments implemented in Port Ellen and Bowmore primary was to train staff in the use of Seesaw as a digital PLP tool to replace cumbersome and timeconsuming learning logs. Under a joint headship both schools decided to invest in the paid for Seesaw for school’s version of the App.  This version allowed us to have continuity of progression throughout a child’s time in school and also to track the Es and Os across subjects with its skills tracking tool.  It was great to be able to include video, audio and photos into a body of evidence for achievement across a level, as well as comments and feedback from teachers and students on their learning and next steps.  And parents had access to their children’s learning through the family app and could leave comments as well.   

Then Coronavirus happened and schools were going to close.  We quickly handed out home learning codes to pupils and parents and got them to download the class app at home, enabling them to continue their learning remotely.  Ipads were provided for families without technology.  Suddenly Seesaw was not just a PLP, but a home learning tool, one that could be used by children from ELC to P7 to learn remotely.   

 

Teachers from P1 up plan and provide a weekly grid of learning activities for pupils to work with that have a good balance across literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing, STEAM and other curricular areas; the emphasis is on spending as much learning time offline as on a device, by taking advantage of our fantastic environment here on Islay.  We have seen some examples of truly outstanding pupil learning happening at home and share it on our Twitter feeds.  We even had a retweet from NASA for one of our rocket building STEAM activities! 

 

Pupil engagement is something we have worked hard to maintain in the move to remote learning.  One of the key benefits of Seesaw is the ability to track engagement across the school; school admins can access a spreadsheet each week that shows how often children have posted and which activities have been completed, so we can quickly identify children whose engagement suddenly falls off and intervene.  Staff have regular Google Meet discussions where they share their personal success stories with engagement; we quickly realised that regular video messages from teachers and audio feedback helped engagement- one parent said it was like having the teacher in their home.   This is particularly successful with early years.  Staff have also developed their digital skills to improve engagement, with some creating virtual Classrooms using Google slides and personalised Bitmojis.  Here children can click on items in the class to link them to a video message from their teacher, a learning activity, video or document online.  We have also used physical means to engage; early years sent sunflower seeds through the post for their children to plant.  Finally, we share successful learning stories that aim to inspire other learners through shared Seesaw posts to all the students and parents, Seesaw blogs and Twitter. 

 

 When there arissues with engagement, we have implemented a variety of measures to help.  We send encouraging messages to parents and pupils, have made phone calls home and have provided Ipads and dongles where needed so access is not a barrier.  For some parents physical materials in the form of textbooks and worksheets have provided extra support that makes them less anxious.  One of our key aims once schools are back is to find a way to provide more extensive training for parents so they are more confident in what will be a model of blended learning.   All of the school community are glad that we chose to implement Seesaw in schools before the crisis, a versatile tool that has helped us continue to engage children and support them and their families at this time. 

 

Interactive virtual class 

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1uisENFphlYhyKGamrhIgGwML7siqRjPBBOhv9uFZyos/edit?usp=sharing 

 

Screenshot of engagement spreadsheet. 

 

 

PORT ELLEN TWEETS 

Link to tweet about our use of emotionworks. 

https://twitter.com/portellenps/status/1265642824894160897?s=20  

Link to video about making bread 

https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.09f3cac7-edbe-4d77-836b-5bd087100dd9&share_token=GaseIiBmRKC4jIP4r4sbrg&mode=share 

link to giant bubbles tweet with vid 

https://twitter.com/portellenps/status/1253683989375856640?s=20  

Link to weather forecast in Gaelic, retweeted by Sean Batty 

https://twitter.com/SeanBattySTV/status/1245393179190362118?s=20 

Creepy crawly maths tweet 

https://twitter.com/portellenps/status/1254869348121968640?s=20 

SEESAW POSTS

Early Years Port Ellen  https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.b4db51f6-b272-4a88-bcb2-69b3df1ee286&share_token=bAIge6d0RtiLUIa2Rc67KQ&mode=share 

Early years Bowmore https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.628ef661-43d6-4ddd-be57-f379fe71325d&share_token=mBn8pKlaS0m33qek10iAYQ&mode=share 

 

BOWMORE TWEETS 

Teddy bears picnic 

https://twitter.com/BowmorePrimary/status/1265949410602766337?s=20 

Sharing music talent  

https://twitter.com/BowmorePrimary/status/1261316232634150912?s=20 

Evaluating parachute video clip 

https://twitter.com/BowmorePrimary/status/1261271607827447809?s=20 

Gaelic 1-3 birdwatching 

https://twitter.com/BowmorePrimary/status/1259770971306823682?s=20 

Japanese art 

https://twitter.com/BowmorePrimary/status/1258711972390080512?s=20