Category Archives: Digital Learning

mi:Space: Inspirational Learning Spaces

Last September schools in Midlothian undertook an innovative and exciting new project which would allow them to transform the way that they learnt in their classrooms. Through consultations with local architects, extensive research and planning in their classrooms the schools created their own inspirational learning spaces!

Throught the year the classes had the opportunity to undertake various projects which would help develop and enhance by their new learning spaces. The first project was a STEM eco-classroom project. This is a project created by the Engineering Development Trust to help the pupils to develop their science, technology, engineering and maths skills. During this project, the pupils were challenged to build an eco-friendly classroom. They needed to research eco-friendly classrooms that have already been designed in schools and then use this research to create their classroom in a way that helps the environment.

In an exciting opportunity for the schools, teachers were invited to a training session with VEX Robotics. During the session the teachers got to use programmeable robots, making them move, make sounds and flash their lights! This wasn’t just for the teachers as they went back to school and used the robots with the pupils who could programme them straight from their iPads. In March pupils from two Midlothian primary schools – Loanhead and St David’s – travelled to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham to take part in the VEX Robotics UK Challenge. The VEX Challenge requires teams to program robots to carry out a series of complex tasks while competing against 40 other teams from all over the UK. Both schools won awards for high level of competancy in programming their robots!

The final project that the schools undertook was a CSI inspired activity where the pupils had to solve the Mayberry Mystery Crime. They visited the Mining Museum in Newtongrange which was the scene of a terrible crime and using their skills they had to solve the mystery and name the culprit. To help keep the pupils working together they used a Yammer group to keep their investiagtions up to date!

Throughout the year lots of exciting work went on in the newly designed classrooms and you can find out more on the mi:Space Blog – https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/mc/mispace/

E-Sgoil: A digital solution for Gaelic Medium Education Scottish Learning Festival: Wednesday 20 September

E-Sgoil offers schools a digital learning solution to increase the breadth of programmes and pathways on offer to young people as part of Curriculum for Excellence.  You are invited to a seminar at the Scottish Learning Festival at which Angus MacLennan, Headteacher of e-Sgoil will share an evaluation of some primary and secondary pilots that e-Sgoil ran in their first year.   Advice will also be available on how e-Sgoil can increase learning through the medium of Gaelic at the secondary stages. Information on how to register for this seminar, and the festival programme, are available here.

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017

The programme for EIFF Youth Hub 2017 is now live!

Now in its fourth year, EIFF Youth Hub returns for four days packed with free practical filmmaking workshops, masterclasses and events for 15-25 year-olds. Whether you want to gain insights into animation or screenwriting, learn from experienced filmmakers about acting, cinematography or short filmmaking, or if you just want to network and step into a career in film – Youth Hub has something for everyone from 23 to 26 of June.

Events at Youth Hub are free with a Youth Hub Pass which costs £5 and gives access to all Youth Hub events as well as £5 discounted tickets to most EIFF films.

Highlights from this year’s programme directly related to careers in the industry:

A Foot in the Door: First Steps in Film & TV Drama

Saturday, 24 June 2017 | 5pm – 7pm | Education Space | Limited to 30 spaces.

Outlining how being a great runner can be the key to a successful start to your career. 

BAFTA award winning Scottish producer Linda Fraser (Hit the Ground Running) will share an overview of the industry in Scotland, what a runner does and how to be awesome at it. Packed with practical insider info and tips for how to get started, this is a session not to be missed!

Spaces for this event are limited. To sign-up please email youthhub@edfilmfest.org.uk 

A Foot in the Door: Career Advice Session

Saturday, 24 June 2017 | 10.15am – 1.30pm |Main Hall | Limited to 50 spaces.

Want to get your foot in the door and break into the film/TV industry? Join us for our hugely popular careers advice session with Creative Skillset and training scheme Hit the Ground Running as we help you plan your next big step towards a career in the industry. This session includes:

10.15am – 11am: Panel discussion 11.10 am – 12.15pm: Networking surgery with filmmakers and experts from the creative industries. 12.15pm – 1.30pm: A light networking lunch with industry guests, EIFF filmmakers and delegates.

Spaces for this event are limited. To sign-up please email youthhub@edfilmfest.org.uk

Access the full programme here:  https://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/learning/youth-hub

 

 

Gaelic Medium Education – self-improvement, attainment and leadership

By Joan Esson, HM Inspector and Lead Officer for inspection of Gaelic Medium Education

The recently published report, ‘Quality and Improvement in Scottish Education 2012-2016’ (QuISE) highlighted a number of key areas of strengths and aspects for improvement from 3-18 Gaelic Medium Education (GME) inspections. You can read the chapter relating to GME on our website.

It was a great privilege to review our inspection findings for GME and evidence how the sector is developing. The approaches that are used in GME are a very effective example of language learning in Scotland.  Children learn the language to a high level of fluency which enables them to access learning through Gaelic, while achieving expected attainment levels in all areas of the curriculum.

Overall, inspectors found that most children and young people in GME were making good progress in developing their fluency. By the senior phase, attainment in Gàidhlig as a subject is strong.  Interest in the role of Gaelic (Learners) as an additional language, and the development of GME in some areas of Scotland, is growing.

In this blog, I would like to consider three areas that should be given initial consideration in using the QuISE report as part of the improvement journey for GME.

  1. Being a self-improving GME provision

Education Scotland aims to support practitioners as they build capacity for improvement. The QuISE report presents an important source for practitioners’ use in self-evaluation. The chapters for early learning and childcare, primary and secondary, should be used along with the one on GME. Education Scotland’s Advice on Gaelic Education gives a strategic guide to what constitutes high-quality national practice, some of which now forms statutory Guidance. Taken together with self-evaluation frameworks, practitioners have a rich resource to enable an in-depth focus on Gaelic. Senior leaders, along with other practitioners, should take time to use these resources for self-evaluation. In future inspections, we would like to evidence improved leadership of GME, with Gaelic being at the heart of strategic planning and part of continuous improvement.      

2. Closing the attainment gap

An important outcome of GME is that children attain equally well, or better, than their peers in English medium education. This gives parents confidence in GME for which we need to have a relentless focus on high-quality attainment and progress. In our forthcoming inspections, we would like to see practitioners, and indeed the children and young people themselves, being clearer on their progress and how to improve further. To clarify expectations, teachers assisted us in designing Benchmarks for literacy and Gàidhlig. These need to be used in the joint planning of learning, teaching and assessment;  for monitoring and tracking of progress and in the moderation of standards.

At all times, practitioners have an important role in interacting skilfully with children, while modelling good immersion techniques to help children acquire the language. Practitioners’ skill in doing this impacts on children’s fluency. Playroom experiences are threaded together and given direction with a curriculum framework that promotes continuity and progression.

Education Scotland’s Advice on Gaelic Education (particularly chapter 7), coupled with Building the Ambition, (particularly chapters 6 and 7), present practitioners with effective pedagogy for early learning in GME. Building the Curriculum 2 details children’s natural disposition “to wonder, to be curious, to pose questions, to experiment, to suggest, to invent and to explain”. In the immersion playroom, practitioners will engage in short periods of activities that they will lead as part of children’s intended learning. At other times, children will be choosing what they play which they may initiate as they follow their interests, or be an experience planned by practitioners.

If we are to close the attainment gap in GME, we need to recognise the early gains from a strong total immersion experience as part of early learning and childcare. For this, children need to hear and absorb very fluent Gaelic across a range of play contexts.   Practitioners’ quality and frequent interactions are key drivers in helping children to acquire fluency as they foster learning which is creative, investigative and exploratory.

3. Improving the leadership of the GME curriculum

The QuISE  report highlighted that our strong primary GME provisions are clear on the correlation between immersion, fluency and impact on attainment.   At the secondary stages, there is still more to do to ensure young people have enough opportunities to learn through Gaelic. We recognise in the QuISE  report that there are challenges from shortages of Gaelic-speaking practitioners.  However, we ask for more of a solution-focused approach.  Our Advice on Gaelic Education  (particularly chapters 9-13) gives strategic direction to the development of the GME secondary curriculum.

In our forthcoming inspections, we would like to see much more prominence given to those learning in GME as a group for whom pathways need to be developed. It would be useful to continue to develop a shared understanding of how Curriculum for Excellence, with its emphasis on the totality of learning, may be maximised for GME. Speakers of Gaelic are a key driver in planning the curriculum. Could more of our Gaelic-speaking practitioners in schools be delivering some aspect of the curriculum in Gaelic?  Could they, for example, be encouraged to deliver a subject, club, universal support or an opportunity for achievement through Gaelic?  The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” chimes with the need to increase the role of partners in the GME curriculum.  A good starting point would be for curriculum planners to know who their Gaelic-speaking partners are, and begin to ascertain how they can assist with planning and delivery of learning.

Finally, I would like to invite you to a seminar at the Scottish Learning Festival which focuses on how technology can increase learning through the medium of Gaelic. e-Sgoil presents a digital solution to delivering the curriculum. The headteacher of e-Sgoil will share an evaluation of some pilots that ran this year. Information on how to register for this seminar, and the festival programme, are available here.

Tackling the priorities in QuISE – a joined up approach?

 

By Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director

Our report ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012-2016’ (QuISE) points to five key aspects of education and practice which we believe should be priorities for improvement if all learners in Scotland are to achieve their potential. Many or all sectors of education should be:

  • exploiting fully the flexibility of Curriculum for Excellence to meet better the needs of all learners;
  • improving arrangements for assessment and tracking to provide personalised guidance and support throughout the learner journey;
  • maximising the contribution of partnerships with other services, parents and the wider community to enhance children’s and young people’s learning experiences;
  • improving further the use of self-evaluation and improvement approaches to ensure consistent high quality of provision; and
  • growing a culture of collaboration within and across establishments and services to drive innovation, sharing of practice and collective improvement.

Looking at these priorities from my perspective in ensuring the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence, the employability and skills agenda, and digital learning and teaching, I am struck by how the priorities inter-relate and, indeed, are interdependent.

The flexibility offered by CfE has the potential for schools to design their curriculum structures in ways that reflect fully the local contexts and aspirations of their learners. Within this, the range of progression pathways can then enable children and young people to make suitably brisk progress across the broad general education, and into and through the senior phase.  This needs to be informed by improved assessment and tracking to ensure teachers, learners and parents make the most appropriate decisions at the right time.

However, there is no doubt that the curriculum structures needed to make this a reality rely very strongly on the direct contributions of partners, including agencies and local employers. Collaborations amongst staff within and across schools, with colleagues in colleges, community learning and development and other areas of expertise all combine to enrich the curriculum and motivate learners.

In early learning and childcare provision, primary and secondary schools, the new curriculum area Benchmarks are beginning to support a clearer understanding of learners’ progression across the broad general education. This  will help teachers to plan the breadth, challenge and application of learning that will prepare young people for the three year learner journey of their senior phase.  And that of course involves collaborations and the wide range of qualifications across the SCQF framework, exploiting again the flexibility of CfE in preparing learners for their futures.

Partnerships are the essential element in Developing the Young Workforce. I’m becoming aware of increasingly effective approaches to employability, skills and career education, often promoted through three-ways partnerships amongst schools, colleges and employers.  And by now you’ll be seeing the connections with the other QuISE priorities of collaboration and more informed personal guidance that can help to exploit that full flexibility in CfE.

Digital learning and teaching has great potential to promote and improve partnership working and collaboration, locally, nationally and internationally. Teachers and pupils can gain significantly in learning from the innovative and effective practice of others.  Where digital is central in planning and delivering learning and teaching, and makes use of learners’ own digital skills or develops them further, I’m in no doubt that young people benefit.  Digital can and does support teachers in their tracking and monitoring, reducing bureaucracy and workload.  As digital access and digital skills continues to improve, the opportunities for leaders, practitioners and learners to take steps that address the QuISE priorities are significant.

The individual QuISE chapters on each education sector highlight good practice as well as challenges in providing high quality experiences for all. The key is often the distinct professionalism of leaders and practitioners, engaging individually and collaboratively to reflect and to make the changes that matter.

Finally, effective self-evaluation is central to ensuring continuous improvement in addressing the priorities in QuISE.   I am beginning to see schools, colleges, and community learning and development now looking beyond their own centre and working with all partners in undertaking self-evaluation and analysing evidence.  The benefit will be greater collective understanding of how effectively their curriculum, learning, teaching and assessment genuinely meet their learners’ needs.  Where that process leads to jointly agreed actions for improvement, I’m in no doubt that the learning experiences and the outcomes for all children and young people will also improve.

TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR TEACHERS – CPD Workshops

The School of Engineering and Computing, University of the

West of Scotland would like to extend an invitation to join us

at our Paisley Campus for a CPD Away Day. Attendees will not

only be able to participate in our workshops but also have the

opportunity to network with colleagues from other Secondary

Schools and the University over a light lunch. To enable you to

plan for your CPD Away Day, we will ensure that your place is

confirmed by same day return of email.

To reserve your place please email: computing@uws.ac.uk.

Please contact Georgia Adam on 0141 848 3101 who will be happy to help with all enquiries. We look forward to welcoming you on campus.

 

WORKSHOP A RADIATION:

Workshop focus is on detection of environmental radiation

where there would be an opportunity to use a range of stateof-

the-art radiation detector systems in order to learn how

these different systems can be used to locate and characterise

ionising radiation in our environment.

WORKSHOP B PROGRAMMING:

Session focus is on Arduino – programming for the real world.

The Arduino is an open software/hardware microprocessor

platform which can interact with the real world via digital and

analogue I/O using a variety of sensors, switches and actuators

(motors, servos, LEDs).

WORKSHOP C MUSIC:

“An introduction to AVID Pro Tools for music and post

production” in support of the Music Technology National

awards will be provided through a tailored practical session.

In addition, AVID Pro Tools training and certification is available

at UWS presented by an AVID Certified Instructor.

WORKSHOPS WILL BE FACILITATED BY:

Dr David O’Donnell, Lecturer in Nuclear Physics

Duncan Thomson, Programme Leader for Computer Networking

Colin Grassie, Lecturer in Music Technology.

Location: Paisley Campus

Date: Thursday 25th May 2017

Duration of workshop: 1000-1400 hours

Spaces available: Spaces are limited to 10 for each session

and given the anticipated popularity of the sessions, we will

offer places on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cost: We are delighted to be able to offer these ‘something

for the Teacher’ workshops with session fees waived on

this occasion to allow you to engage in hands-on activity

aligned to the Physics, Music or Computing Higher/ CfE /

National Qualifications.

 

Learn @ BBC Scotland: How will you be living in 50 years’ time?

BBC Scotland Learning and the Glasgow Science Centre invite you to take part in a day of talks and activities to look at the future. There will be a live talk by Scotland’s leading scientists talking about robots, climate and health at the Science Centre on 8 May.

Dallas Campbell will host the event as he speaks to Prof Sethu Vijayakumar, Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and a Judge on Robot Wars, Prof Lesley Yellowlees, who was the first ever female President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and geneticist Prof Kevin O’Dell from Glasgow University.

The talk will also be streamed live and you can talk to the expert panel online.

Find out more here.

Scotland’s Enterprising Schools: Supporting career education from 3 – 18

Are you looking for creative ways to develop children and young people’s learning about the world of work?

To inspire you have a look at our Interesting Practice area that highlights the many creative ways schools like Broxburn Academy are providing opportunities for young people around entrepreneurship and enterprise.

 Interesting practice exemplars from Fife Council

The Raytheon Quadcopter Challenge is a partnership between the Council and Raytheon UK. The programme brings STEM Ambassadors from Raytheon UK to deliver lessons in classrooms to second year pupils, on a variety of engineering topics, bringing contextualised learning to young people.  Another great example from Fife is The Enterprise Game. The game is a developmental tool helping pupils to learn about business.  Initially created as a board game, it allows young people to use their entrepreneurial skills to make, sell and deliver products to customers around the board.  It has been customised to incorporate the names of many major employers throughout Fife which helps players to increase their understanding not just of enterprise, but of the wider Fife economy.

You can also learn about the great opportunities offered to young people by Glasgow City Council and Renfrewshire Council.   If you have interesting practice to share please contact us.

Looking for support?

If you would like support to embed enterprise within your school’s curriculum Scotland’s Enterprising Schools can help.  Have a look at our resource area for ideas or contact us to arrange for a member of our team to get in touch with you. You can also expand your knowledge around enterprise and get support to embed the Developing the Young Workforce strategy by attending one of the free twilight professional learning sessions we are delivering across Scotland.  You should hear about these opportunities from your Local Authority shortly.  The next sessions will be held as follows:

Fife Twilight Session (venues and times tbc):

  • 26th April 2017 – West Fife
  • 2nd May 2017 – Central Fife
  • 8th May 2017 – North East Fife

Aberdeen City Twilight Session (venue and time tbc):                         10th May 2017

Inverness All Day event (for senior leaders) at Smithton-Culloden Free Church   –  1st June 2017

If you would like more information about these sessions or opportunities in your area please contact us.

Digital Schools Award Scotland

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Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science presented the first primary schools in Scotland to achieve ‘Digital School’ status with their award on 22/02/17 at Wormit Primary School.

The Minister met with representatives from the schools and from the Digital Schools Awards Scotland programme, speaking to them about the value of digital skills before presenting them with their award:

Digital skills are an integral part of our everyday lives, and as such it is absolutely essential that we give young people the opportunities to understand and use them properly. The Digital Schools Awards Programme is a fantastic example of industry supporting education in Scotland and helping ensure our young people develop the skills and opportunities to flourish.”

21 Schools have achieved this award to date and they are;

List of Awarded Schools

School Location Local Authority
Kelvinside Academy Glasgow Glasgow
Kirkton of Largo Leven Fife
Calside Primary School Dumfries Dumfries & Galloway
Dalry Primary School Dalry North Ayrshire
Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary School Motherwell North Lanarkshire
Echt School Echt Aberdeenshire
Lundavra Primary School Fort William The Highlands
Wormit Primary School Newport-on-Tay Fife
Bonhill Primary School Bonhill West Dunbartonshire
Kildrum Primary School Kildrum North Lanarkshire
Bathgate Early Years Centre Bathgate West Lothian
The Compass School Haddington East Lothian
Mearns Primary School East Renfrewshire East Renfrewshire
Whitehirst Park Primary Kilwinning North Ayrshire
Kingswells School Aberdeen Aberdeen City
Kinlochleven Primary School Kinlochleven The Highlands
The Edinburgh Academy Jnr School Edinburgh City of Edinburgh
Blackfriars Primary School Glasgow Glasgow City
Netherlee Primary School Glasgow East Renfrewshire
Beith Primary School Beith North Ayrshire
Rosebank Primary School Dundee Dundee

The event gathered media interest and was featured on STV news

More info leading up to the event and on the day itself is available on twitter from following users @Schools_Digital and @EducationScot and from following the hashtags #DigitalSchoolsAward #DigitalDifference

PROGRAMME BACKGROUND

Digital Schools Award Scotland is a national awards programme to promote, recognise and encourage the use of digital technology in primary schools. It builds on the progress already made at schools, by providing a pathway and resources for schools who are seeking to do more with digital technology to deliver the curriculum. The Digital Schools Awards programme is being delivered by HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel and is recognised by Education Scotland.

For more info on the programme please visit https://digilearn.scot/2016/09/23/digital-schools-awards-now-launched/

Apps for Good Scottish Event

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Apps for Good is an education movement that is powering a generation to change their world with technology. We partner with teachers in schools and learning centres to deliver our course to young people from 8 -18 years of age. Students work together as teams to find real issues they care about and learn how to solve them using technology. Since 2010 Apps for Good has been delivered to over 75,000 students in more than 1,500 schools across the UK and internationally.

Join us to celebrate the next generation of Scotland’s tech entrepreneurs.

On Wednesday 15th March, over 100 students from across Scotland will travel to Edinburgh’s Quincentenary Conference Centre to participate in Apps for Good’s first ever Scottish event.

The event will bring together the next generation of digital talent in Scotland under one roof in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre for a day of networking and workshops. Teams of young people are working together and creating apps to tackle the problems & issues which matter most to them, and the event will provide them with the opportunity to engage directly with a range of invited guests, and the other participating Scottish schools.

We’re inviting you to join the Marketplace part of the event from 2pm – 4pm, giving you the opportunity to walk around the room and meet the young people who have been working on their app ideas. The students will be keen to practice their pitch and listen to any feedback and advice that you may have. You will also be able to cast your vote in our People’s Choice Award which will allow us to recognise the top three teams.

We would love to see you there to celebrate all of our students’ hard work!

Our first ever Scottish event has been made possible after being awarded a grant from Digital Xtra, funded by the Scottish Government Digital Skills Business Excellence Partnership, who have provided Apps for Good with support to help us grow our after-school activities in Scotland.

Sign up via Eventbrite here