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Digital Learning in Maths From the MIE Scotland blog

Hugh Wallace

Teacher of Maths

Kyle Academy, South Ayrshire

Twitter @MrWM4ths

Waking a Digital School

As with all schools in Scotland, Kyle Academy closed our doors on Friday 20thMarch with very little warning, and quite literally, no time to prepare.  The final week was spent ensuring that those who were still able to attend school, had a note of their Glow login details and knew how to access Microsoft Teams.

For some staff, they had already been using Teams with a handful of classes, but for most, they hadn’t logged into Glow for a very long time!  This was going to be a challenge!

As the ‘Digital Champion’ in school, and the only MIE Expert, I knew it was time to step up and offer support to the school community.  This has been a huge task, but I feel very proud of where we are now!

 

Read more on the MIE Scotland blog

 

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Mossend Primary School – Remote Learning Journey – Team Mossend

At the beginning of Lockdown, John Swinney stated that schools should, ‘respond in a variety of imaginative, creative and stimulating ways to support continuity in learning for pupils.’

We investigated Twitter and spoke to friends who were also teachers to see what their schools were planning to do in terms of Online Learning during Lockdown and from these various discussions, and taking into account the confidence levels of our staff, we decided to create One Online Learning Microsoft Team which all children would access. We wanted something which was not overwhelming for our staff, children and parents/carers and would be consistent across the school, as we were very aware of the differing levels of skills.

Having the one Online Learning Team for the children meant that we were able to offer a minimum of 3 teacher-led activities per school day each week. This was in addition to the accounts which had already been set up for StudyLadder, Sumdog and the other activity suggestions (both online & offline) which had been added to our Mossend PS & NC Website prior to Lockdown.

In the beginning, we had a daily visual timetable and we worked very closely with NLC Communication Friendly Environments to create these timetables. As we evolved we were able to create a Weekly Visual Timetable which was shared on Twitter, emailed to all parents/carers on a Sunday so they could plan the week ahead and uploaded to the Online Learning Team for the children.

We understood that not all teachers would be comfortable in front of a camera, teaching with parents/carers in the background or using the ICT so, we identified various other jobs which could be completed and would mean the Team would run smoothly and allowed everyone to have a valued role. These jobs included compiling/creating the resources for the stories, creating digital Escape Rooms, creating contexts with a variety of genre for weekly Taught Writing lessons, monitoring Twitter, moderating the Microsoft Team so when work was added the children received feedback, adding Stars to our weekly Star Tracker (each child who uploaded work via Twitter or the Online Team received a star and it was recorded with name, class, date and reason for the star) – this became very important during our weekly Super Star Assemblies held on a Friday afternoon with all staff, children and their parents/carers in attendance. With the whole school working together on one Microsoft Team, it meant we were able to deliver targeted lessons with a variety of high-quality resources which were differentiated and suited to everyone regardless of their needs and every child received a consistent learning experience during the lockdown.

As mentioned in our previous Blog entitled, ‘Unfortunately, Fortunate’ we met virtually every week to plan our strategy which revolved around our Four Key Principles of FAST:

Flexibility

One Microsoft Team gave staff flexibility over tasks meaning they were not tied to a class Team all week and were able to engage in other CPD around Microsoft Apps, Digital Learning Webinars and report cards. This made sense to us because, rather than having more than 20+ teachers working with 5/6 children daily, we were able to establish a number of teachers working with lots of children in the one Microsoft Team, all engaged in purposeful, meaningful and worthwhile learning. This allowed our staff the flexibility to get to grips with Microsoft Teams, to observe other’s online lessons and to adjust to the ‘new normal’ at their own pace. Working collaboratively reduced the workload for us all and allowed us to sustain our online learning offering across the Lockdown period.

Accessible

Our Online Learning Team was in an accessible format because all of our children had access via their Glow login details and this allowed us to use Microsoft Teams to create a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for live calls to take place. From the outset, we knew we wanted to create a VLE where children could engage with their teachers and peers and it was not just about uploading files for independent work. By having this level of engagement we were taking into consideration the health and wellbeing of our children at an uncertain time in their lives, we understood the need for them to see and speak to their teachers as well as having opportunities to collaborate with their peers. This led to quality teaching and interaction within an accessible ‘one-stop-shop’ VLE.

Supportive

From the beginning, we encouraged pupils to sign up to join our Microsoft Online Team, but we didn’t add anyone. They chose if they wanted to join – therefore engagement was high.  We understood that our parents/carers were now taking on a very different role and not all felt confident with ICT. As a result, we supported them with videos on how to download Teams on various devices and provided technical help using Microsoft Forms for passwords.  Having this VLE allowed us to have a Weekly Super Star Assembly with the whole school community as well as facilitating countless occasions for the children to work with their friends.

Timely

Our Microsoft Team was created almost instantly and we introduced it via Twitter, email and text with a signup request form, adding all users who requested access. By acting with speed, we were quick off the mark in establishing our VLE and developing our ‘new normal’ at a time when everyone just wanted to know what was happening. We believe this reassured our families that we had a plan for the continuity of learning and allowed them to join our Team when it suited their circumstances.

 

We firmly believe that having this approach certainly answered John Swinney’s call for schools to be creative in how they engaged with families and facilitating the learning opportunities for all our young people.

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/

 

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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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Mossend Primary School – Remote Learning Journey Unfortunately, fortunate

Unfortunately, on Tuesday 17th March 2020 we were told that we were classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’ to Covid-19 due to underlying health conditions and would have to work from home for the next 12 weeks.

Fortunately, this gave us a unique opportunity to continue to make a valued contribution to our school community and on Wednesday 18th March 2020 we delivered our first ‘live lesson’ – a simple story and quiz for children who were also shielding at home.

This was to be the beginning of a journey into ‘remote learning’ for Mossend PS & NC in North Lanarkshire: a journey which would last 13 weeks and see our team deliver nearly 200 live lessons. These lessons ranged from Literacy, Numeracy & Mathematics to STEM & HWB as well as Weekly Challenges and Expressive Arts. We uploaded countless resources and actively engaged with pupils across all stages.

From the offset, we met virtually to plan our strategy which revolved around 4 key principles ‘FAST, which became our strategy.

Flexibility
This was an unprecedented set of circumstances and we decided from the beginning that our approach had to be flexible. There would be some families who would benefit from a structure and routine, others who would need resources for their own time and others who would do their own thing. All of this was fine, but as a school, we needed to be there to support all our families with the path they chose. Our Motto became, ‘Do what works for you!’

Accessible
This would be key to engaging learners, families and staff who were operating a wide range of devices and operating systems and had a wide range of ICT skills between them. Passwords, logins, applications, file formats all had to be assessed against this principle.

Supportive
Parents and carers were about to become the ‘teacher’. Our role needed to adapt to facilitate learning remotely in a supportive manner that empowered and reassured families. Communication needed to be at the heart of this.

Timely
This was a fast changing landscape and therefore for us to support our learners in the best way possible decisions had to be made in a timely manner and we had to ensure we continue to look ahead to stay ahead. We met virtually twice per week to discuss digital learning, adapt, and change our approach.

We are very aware that we ended up in the unfortunately fortunate position of being able to get ‘ahead of the game’ and plan a strategy for remote learning suited for our own context. We understand that this may not have been possible for the vast majority, however, we hope that by sharing our experience others will be able to see where elements could fit into their own context and help build confidence and sustainability as we move forward into unchartered territory in learning and teaching.

Over the next 8 weeks we plan to blog in more detail about some of the decisions we made for digital learning at Mossend Primary School and Nursery Class:

team mossend blog post header Mossend Primary School – Remote Learning Journey – Team Mossend - At the beginning of Lockdown, John Swinney stated that schools should, ‘respond in a variety…
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…
mossend blended approach Mossend Primary School – Remote Learning Journey Lights, Camera, Action! Sustaining Engagement - “Today's young people should be taught using video games because they have ‘much lower attention…
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…
screenshot of the four contexts Mossend Primary School – Remote Learning Journey One Moment in Time – Assessment - This unique period in our history needed to be captured. It was one moment in…

Coming Soon
9th August – Self Assessment with HGIOS4.
16th August – Blended learning next session.

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/

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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/

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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:

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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

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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

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