Today (22nd February), 21 primary schools in Scotland have gained national ‘Digital School’ status for excellence in digital technology in teaching and learning. I had the pleasure of attending this event as a Programme Validator for the Digital Schools Awards. The schools were officially awarded the honour of being recognised as the first digital schools in Scotland by the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, at a ceremony held at Wormit Primary School.
Recognised by Education Scotland, the Digital Schools Award is designed to promote, encourage and reward schools that make the best use of digital technology in the classroom. HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel are providing support to the programme, including a financial commitment of £110,000 in the first year as well as the provision of practical support and resources.
Schools that receive ‘Digital School’ status will demonstrate, among other things, the presence of a whole school digital strategy, evidence of how digital technology is being used to enhance learning and a commitment to ongoing professional learning for teachers. The programme has already highlighted some very innovative and collaborative approaches from schools and teachers regarding the integration of digital technology in teaching and learning, which will be an inspiration to other schools.
One in nine primary schools in Scotland, some 195 schools, have signed up to become a Digital School since the launch of the programme in September 2016. The programme aims to sign up 400 primary schools in Scotland to participate in its first full year.
Speaking about the awards programme Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, said: ‘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.
Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director at Education Scotland said, ‘The Digital Schools Awards Programme is a very valuable approach to embedding digital learning in primary schools. It fully supports and promotes the vision set out in the Government’s Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland. I am delighted to see these first set of awards being presented and the number of schools registering for the programme continuing to grow. I encourage all primary schools in Scotland who have not yet done so, to sign up to the programme.’
Neil Sawyer, Education Director at HP commented: ‘HP believes that the technology sector has a responsibility to support schools and ensure that the next generation is equipped with the knowledge needed to close the STEM and creative skills gap, and drive the economy of tomorrow. Being recognised as a Digital School is a great achievement and an important milestone. We congratulate the 21 schools receiving awards today.’
‘Scotland performs very well in terms of integrating technology in the curriculum’, said Jane Grey, Sales Leader at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Scotland. We are proud to be part of the Digital Schools Awards initiative which is making a practical contribution to helping schools make the most of their digital capabilities. I would encourage more schools to sign up to the programme to take advantage of the comprehensive supports and expertise on offer.’
The newly awarded ‘Digital Schools’ are:
- Bathgate Early Years Centre
- Beith Primary School
- Blackfriars Primary School
- Bonhill Primary School
- Calside Primary School
- Dalry Primary School
- Echt School
- Kelvinside Academy
- Kildrum Primary School
- Kingswells Primary School
- Kinlochleven Primary School
- Kirkton Of Largo Primary School
- Lundavra Primary School
- Mearns Primary School
- Netherlee Primary School
- Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary School
- Rosebank Primary School
- The Compass School
- The Edinburgh Academy Junior School
- Whitehirst Primary School
- Wormit Primary School
Well! What can I say? BETT 2017 has turned out to be a wonderful experience, but then I expected nothing less. Rarely do I have the opportunity to see such an amazing assortment of technological wonders and rarely do I have the chance to mix with a diverse group of enthusiastic educators, industry representatives and entrepreneurs. Bett 2017 has a lot to offer and it makes one realise that education is only just scraping the tip of that proverbial iceberg.
My day started early. I had an exhibitors badge as a HP Partner, as well as a HE Leaders badge, so I was able to get into the hall before the doors opened at 10am. This provided the ideal opportunity to look around and to play with some of the technology before the mass of people arrived. Immersive technologies are the obvious theme this year. There was a range of virtual reality and augmented reality headsets on offer. I’ll be blogging about those in due course, so watch this space. I could not escape the abundance of screens, both projected and otherwise, on offer. Some of these were interactive and others were not, yet I could see an educational application for them all. The price (of course) remains the barrier to integration within the classroom and not the enthusiasm of teachers.
From a futurist perspective, there is an obvious instructional trend apparent in every aisle. 3D printing and maker spaces, blended learning, personalised learning, project based learning and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) / vocational \ technical and modular learning are the key areas on which educational technology seems to be focused today, with immersive technologies and mixed reality around the corner. I have accepted an invitation to do some work on VR and Mixed Reality over the coming months, so I’m quite excited about that.
I was delighted to present at the HP and Intel stand, talking about the Digital Schools Awards and primary education. My session was recorded and I’ll share it once it’s available from the media team. Following this, I spent a few hours in the Higher Education Summit, listening to a number of speakers. I was particularly impressed with Matt Zellor, a Product Manager for Microsoft Hololens. He delivered a great presentation and I have a few follow up activities to attend to on the back of his input. The rest of my afternoon was spent in conversation with people around the hall, sampling the exhibits (I have discovered that most of the technology is bolted down) and meeting with a few friends and colleagues. Networking with others is probably the best thing about these events. In reality, we are a small community and one tends to see the same names appear time and again.
I’ll be back tomorrow, so if you missed my session, I’ll be speaking again at stand D200 from 11am, before catching a flight back to Glasgow. Sadly, I won’t be around on Friday or Saturday, but my colleague Dr Victor McNair, a fellow DSAS Programme Validator, will be presenting at 11am for the second half of BETT.
I’ve taken a few photos and I’ll share them on my BETT 2017 page once I get back home.
Education Scotland has announced that National Digital Learning Week 2017 (#NDLW 17) will take place from 15-19 May 2017. This year the theme of the week will be ‘Digital Difference’ and throughout the week they’ll be asking us to share and celebrate the digital approaches which make a positive impact on classroom practice. The week will be packed with inspiring case studies from Early Learning and Childcare through to Senior Phase and beyond showcasing how digital makes a difference throughout the entire learner journey equipping young people for work. There will be online events and activities giving everyone the opportunity to get involved whether you’re a digital leader or simply just starting out and looking for some digital inspiration.
On the run up to the week there will be more details about how you can get involved. Meantime, they would ask that you put the dates in your diary and start to think about what you might do as a class or whole school to celebrate National Digital Learning Week 2017.
This literature review was commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore how the use of digital technology for learning and teaching can support teachers, parents, children and young people in improving outcomes and achieving these ambitions.
This study is designed to help inform the development of a strategy for digital learning and teaching by providing evidence of how and why digital learning and teaching can benefit learners, teachers and schools. It also aims to identify the conditions that lead to its successful implementation and any differences between primary and secondary settings. In particular it focuses on how digital technologies can support and contribute to five specific educational priorities: raising attainment, tackling inequalities and promoting inclusion, improving transitions into employment, enhancing parental engagement, and improving the efficiency of the education system.
A literature search was undertaken, collecting nearly 1,000 items from academic, governmental and professional sources. These were reviewed to determine their thematic relevance and the strength of the evidence they presented. The most useful were then collated and assessed to:
- Identify evidence of relationships between digital learning and teaching activities and the expected outputs, outcomes and impacts;
- Show the relationships that exist between the digital learning and teaching activities and the outputs, outcomes and impacts for different beneficiaries (learners, parents, teachers, and the school); and
- Identify which outcomes are immediate, medium-term and long-term.The key findings of the research are presented below, separated into the key thematic areas which were examined during the review. In the cases where studies of similar digital equipment, tools and resources have been systematically reviewed or where there is a large body of evidence from different studies which have measured change (from quantitative studies using counterfactuals and testing learners before and after), it is possible to state there is conclusive evidence. In other cases where the evidence base is weaker (mainly qualitative studies drawing on relatively small samples of learners and schools), it is only possible to state that there is indicative evidence or (where few cases) promising evidence.
More effective use of digital teaching to raise attainment happens when teachers are able to identify how digital tools and resources can be used to achieve improved learning outcomes, as well as having knowledge and understanding of the technology. This applies in all schools.
Where learners use digital learning at home as well as school for formal and non-formal learning activities these have positive effects on their attainment. This is due to the extension of their learning time. This is particularly important for secondary age learners.
There is indicative evidence that the use of digital tools and resources can help to reduce gaps in subject attainment when they are effectively implemented. There is promising evidence that the use of digital equipment and resources can help learners with additional support needs to improve their skills and competences in literacy and numeracy.
Teachers’ skills and competences in recognising how to use digital tools and resources and applying them effectively are critical to achieving positive results for learners with additional support needs or who are disdvantaged in other ways.
There is promising evidence that digital tools can, where effectively used, build skills in interactivity and collaboration, critical thinking and leadership for secondary age learners. These are considered to be vital skills by employers. There is promising evidence too that for secondary age learners, digital resources coupled with digital tools can increase knowledge and understanding of career pathways, applying for work, and working environments. These resources can make it easier for employers to provide help and support to learners.
In addition to the skills that teachers require to harness digital tools and resources to build learners’ employability skills, it is evident that they need to be prepared to develop learner-centred learning approaches. Support for learners to access digital equipment outside the classroom is also important.
There is promising evidence that using digital equipment and tools for direct communication with parents can improve learners’ and parents’ cooperation with requests from teachers about attendance, behaviour and support for learning.
Teachers are more likely to do this once they are more competent in using digital equipment and tools, and once schools use digital tools such as virtual learning environments to facilitate communication with parents.
There is promising evidence that teachers’ efficiency can be increased by using digital equipment and resources to prepare for teaching. There is similarly some qualitative evidence that digital tools and resources enable teachers to do their job better in relation to teaching, assessment and their own on-the-job learning and development.
While many studies clearly focus on specific learners in terms of age, settings (primary, secondary, special education) and domestic circumstances, none make any comparisons between the impact of digital technologies on educational priorities for different age groups. As a consequence, it has not been possible to identify any differences in the use and impact of digital technology in primary and secondary school settings. However, it is generally the case that the impacts found apply relatively equally to primary and secondary school learners.
Successful utilisation of digital technology depends not just upon sufficient access to equipment, tools and resources, but also on the availability of sufficient training, and knowledge and support networks for teachers. Providing teachers with this support will allow them to understand the benefits and applications of digital technologies and enable them to use digital technologies effectively.
Full text (sourced here): Scottish Government Publication