Connected Colleagues in Clackmannanshire and Stirling

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Carolyn Love, Early Years Training and Improvement Officer, in Clackmannanshire and Stirling Education Service shares the approach she and her team have taken to promoting the use of Glow Early Learn.

“I was really inspired by the conversation event that was run by Children and Families in February this year. There was a clear steer that Glow was going to have increasing importance in supporting and developing professional learning networks.

The conversation on that day certainly gave us food for thought. As we embrace the expansion in ELCC, we are managing carefully limited face-to-face dialogue. Therefore, we know that the use of digital platforms, such as Glow and social media, is crucial for the effective facilitation of career-long professional learning. We wanted to explore how we could develop the use of both Glow and social media locally in Clackmannanshire and Stirling.

We set-up our own Glow community to allow us to share bigger documents, engage in video conferencing and share photographs of children’s learning in a way we know is entirely safe and secure.

We are starting small with a group of 10 Glow Champions who are setting up our own Glow webpage and are tasked with getting the conversation about Glow going across the authority.

Our Glow Champions are members of the national community, Glow Early Learn. We spent time helping our Champions navigate around Glow Early Learn, exploring the resource page, the blogs and the discussions on the page.

I was so impressed by the enthusiasm of the group. They really understood the possibilities that being active in Glow on a regular basis can bring.

Our Champions have already requested that we roll-out an all Authority training session at one of our in-service days during this academic year. They have gone back already to their setting and have rolled-out training on a smaller scale with their teams.

Such is their commitment, the team at Cornton Nursery got together at 8am and signed-up to Glow Early Learn during their weekly development meeting!

More locally, Stirling and Clackmannanshire has a vast geographical spread so the prospect of people using video conferencing to communicate with each other and share ideas is incredibly exciting.”

Social media developments

Stirling Facebook

“We have set-up Facebook page called ‘Early Years in Stirling and Clackmannanshire’. Our Facebook page is going from strength to strength and now has over 200 members. We decided to make this page a closed group as it was designed to be a comfortable space for practitioners to be able to share professional dialogue with others from across our education service. Although the initial posts have come from ourselves, we are encouraging practitioners to contribute by sharing their developments, experience and knowledge with each other.

The most common feedback we receive from practitioners is they would like more opportunities to visit other settings. Using Facebook as a medium to share photographs of early years environments has led to settings being inspired by each other, making links and arranging reciprocal visits. There is a growing sense of ‘connectedness’ between our early years establishments.”

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Future plans

“We are about to roll out a series of 10 ‘roadshows’, which will officially be our local launch of Building the Ambition. We are expecting the majority of staff to attend these so this will be another forum in which we will promote the use of Glow, Facebook and Twitter for career-long professional learning.

We feel that early years continues to move at a very fast pace and that these technologies allow us to keep up to date with current practice, procedures and initiatives. We are looking forward to getting the whole of Stirling and Clackmannanshire early years ‘glowing’!

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