Keyham Lodge & Millgate School E-safety Project – Progress Update

Keyham Lodge and Millgate School are currently working together on an ambitious project which will establish the school federation as a national e-safety centre of excellence for schools that support learners with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH). The project aims to increase student, staff and parental awareness. The project will create and share a range of high quality cross-curricular resources that can be used to support SEMD learners. A bespoke training package for staff and learners is being created with the help of experts, specifically focusing on e-safety in relation to mobile technologies. An e-safety questionnaire is also being designed to find out what pupils, parents, carers and staff know, and identify areas where more support may be needed. Survey findings will inform the direction of the project and the resources created. You can read the initial project post here.

Project lead Darren John (Learning Technology Lead for the two schools) comments on the findings so far from the project e-safety survey:

Keyham Lodge and Millgate are federated schools supporting children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. We deal with some of the most vulnerable children in Leicester City and see e-safety as a vital educational area for keeping them safe.

We teamed up with James Diamond to produce e-safety materials for SEMH because of his role as Safeguarding Officer for Leicester City Council, as well as his interest in e-safety and the recognised contacts he has made in this field, including Ken Corish and Professor Andy Phippen of South West Grid for Learning (who agreed to provide advice on the student survey). James is currently employed as the Leader of Digital Learning at Abbotsholme School in Staffordshire, but continues to provide online safety guidance to schools and organisations.

Producing the initial questionnaires

Before creating materials, we decided to ask pupils, staff and parents to complete a confidential online survey in order to get a clear idea as to how they perceive online safety. All pupils were given the opportunity to fill in the questionnaire, from Year 5 – 11 (ages 9 to 15), with a c.60% return rate. We are currently analysing the results from staff and parents/carers, but the pupil answers are shared below.

The survey is based on previous student online experience surveys produced by Andy Phippen at the University of Plymouth, and is designed to elicit honest opinions from the young people completing it. The aim is to gather as true a reflection as possible about their online experiences.

Our discussion focused on how easy the questionnaire would be to complete, based on literacy levels of the young people across the two schools. We decided the questionnaire should be completed with careful help from staff on each point, whilst ensuring the answers aren’t elicited through poor guidance.

Once implemented, the questionnaires went out to all pupils on SurveyMonkey, hosted by Andy Phippen at Plymouth University. The results were then reviewed in meetings and the questionnaire for parents and staff was modified slightly through discussion between James Diamond and Darren John, prior to being sent out electronically to all staff and parents before Christmas. This allowed for any changes that become highlighted by the pupil answers, particularly by those about getting round rules and who pupils are prepared to go to with issues that concern them. The results are now being used as the foundation for the training program, to be implemented later in the academic year.

Download the survey questions

You can see the questions (and all options) here. They are shared under an open licence, so please do use them to create your own surveys – remember to give credit!

SEMH School e-Safety Project Survey Questions 2016 (Word)

SEMH School e-Safety Project Survey Questions 2016 (PDF)

What young people told us

Across both schools, there are 151 pupils on roll. 90 at Keyham (78 boys, 12 girls), 61 at Millgate (all boys). 49% of all pupils responded to the survey at Keyham (within this figure, 33% of all girls responded, 51% of all boys – 44 pupils in total). 52% of Millgate pupils responded (32 pupils in total).

1. Which school do you go to?

2. What Year are you in?

3. How old are you?

4. Are you male or female?

Q 1-4. Because the project is across two schools in a Federation, we wanted to be able to see who came from which school. Keyham Lodge goes from Year 5 to 11 and also has some girls, whereas Millgate is all boys from Year 7 to 11, so there may be a requirement for differing needs to be addressed. It will also be necessary to address helping boys try to understand the different kinds of issues that are associated specifically with girls online, rather than just splitting the sexes educationally and focusing solely on their individual needs.

5. What do you use to go online?

Q5. Access to the internet was primarily through Smartphones and Tablets, which didn’t pose any surprises, or buck national trends. What did seem unusual was that 20% of those surveyed didn’t connect through their Mobile phones. Is this perhaps due to cost of contract for data? Over 30% now connect through their TV, which shows the speed of the rise of the Smart TV, even amongst families with less disposable income.

6. How much time do you spend online in an average day?

Q6. 50% spend over 3 hours online every day. Most of this is either at home, or on their mobile phone. 32% over 6 hours a day, which therefore suggests students are going online late into the night on devices such as gaming consoles, and also fits in with anecdotal evidence from discussions in lessons. One possible way of opening up discussion could be to get them to analyse their own use of the internet, through discussion. When do they access the internet? What are they looking at? Adult content? Games? Once again, national trends and anecdotal evidence suggests this.

7. What do you use the internet for?

Q7. The majority of the answers centred around social networks, instant messaging, gaming and listening to music, followed closely by content creation and browsing/general entertainment. 30% said shopping, even though all are too young to have credit cards, so they must have access to parent/carer accounts and cards.

8. If you use social networks to talk to your friends, please list the ones you use regularly.

Q8. There were no great surprises over the answers for the most used social networks, with Facebook coming out on top. There were some answers showing gaming networks, such as Playstation, but very few for Twitter. This does show that individual schools create their own trends for communication, which makes sense. For example, one prominent secondary school primarily uses Twitter.

9. If you play video games, do you play online?

Q9. Only 2.7% don’t play video games online. All the rest do. As the majority of games are set up for online play, this is no surprise, although it does suggest a huge percentages of homes across both schools have internet access.

10. If you play video games, please list the ones you play regularly

Q10. As with National trends, the majority of games listed are for 16’s and over, with the notable exception to the rule being Minecraft. This means most of the pupils in our Federation are playing games rated as unsuitable for their age.

11. Do you use the Internet to download films or music?

12. If you do use the Internet to download music/films, do you do this legally?

Q11 & 12. Just over 71% use the internet to download movies and music. Of these, nearly 39% download illegally, with another 17% unsure, so there needs to be some education done here. This also helped shape one of the questions for the parent/carer and staff questionnaire, in order to find out whether adults are also aware of the legal position.

13. Have you ever seen anything on line that has made you feel upset?

14. If you have been upset by something you’ve seen online, would you like to explain what this was?

Q13 & 14. Nearly 28% said they’d been upset by something online. Examples given were animal cruelty, personal family comments, beheadings and sexual comments. We were a little concerned that 72% hadn’t been disturbed by something! Is this because they’re sensible online, or desensitised to comments and inappropriate content?

15. Have you ever said anything nasty to someone on line?

16. Have you ever received nasty comments/content online?

Q15 & 16. 59% admitted to saying nasty things online, which is above national trends. Our debate centred round whether this was because they were being more honest than many on the questionnaire, or because some don’t understand the social norms as well as others who have answered similar questionnaires. 48% admitted to receiving nasty comments, which also seems high, so clearly some work required here.

17. Do you strongly agree/agree/have no opinion/disagree or strongly disagree with the following statements:

  • I know more about the Internet than my parents and teachers
  • It is none of my parents’ business what I do on line.
  • I can protect the things I have put online (e.g. photos, status updates, tweets etc.) from people I don’t want to share them with.

Q17. 56% believe they know more about the internet than their parents or teachers. Just under 40% believe it is none of their parents’/carers business what they do online and a whopping 75% believe they can protect their personal information online, which is a worry which needs addressing, but apparently isn’t any different to the national average.

18. Are there any rules at home for using the Internet?

19. If yes, what sort of rules are there?

20. If you answered yes to rules at home, do you know how to get around these restrictions?

Q18 – 20. 65% say there are no rules for going on the internet at home. Of the 35% with rules, 55% said their parents or carers can see what they do online, but others said they delete their online history, so this needs investigating further in training, possibly through 1:1 interviews. Interestingly, as trends move towards tablets and other mobile devices, only 19% say they’re only allowed online in family rooms, where they can be observed. 41% said they could get round all the rules imposed at home anyway, with a further 22% being able to get round some rules, which suggests some work in this area needs to be done with parents and carers. 

21. Who would you turn to if you were upset by something that happened online?

Q21. If something happened online, 71% said parents/carers would be the first person to turn to, with friends being next. Police were the lowest, at 22%, with teachers next at 29%. These results further highlight the need to support parents and carers further.

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Eye Gaze for Assessment – Project Evaluation

Eye Tracker

Netherhall School have been exploring how eye tracking systems can be used to support and provide accurate assessments of learners with disabilities and creating support materials for staff wanting to use eye tracker technology with learners. You can read the initial project post here, and the interim project update here

In this post, the school shares an executive summary of the project evaluation carried out by Nether Hall, De Montfort University’s Education Futures Centre. A full report can also be downloaded (included in the resources section at the end of this post).

Executive Summary

This project was an investigation into the use of eye-tracking technology to aid assessment of pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and severe learning difficulties (SLD) at Nether Hall Special School. The research was funded by Leicester City Council. The research was a collaboration between Nether Hall School and De Montfort University, Education Futures Centre. The methodology utilised a ‘participatory action research’ approach in which the teachers acted as co-researchers with university staff to conduct an innovative case study.

Project aims:

• To research whether the application of eye-tracking technology can be used to carry out accurate assessments of the pupil to inform and guide the school, families and other professionals practice;
• To confirm whether judgements and observations being made previously by teachers, parents and other professionals from outside agencies were an accurate assessment of the pupil’s abilities;
• To improve understanding between teachers and pupils through eye-tracking technology to identify the interests of pupils with complex learning needs.
This research project targeted pupils making limited progress with respect to their speech and language targets. The school wanted to improve their techniques in producing accurate assessments in accordance with the statutory guidance on performance (P scale) for pupils with special educational needs (SEN). The findings were expected to provide information for teachers, parents and other professionals about what pupils were processing in their learning experiences when looking at the computer, as the eye-tracking technology enabled more accurate assessment about what the pupils were attending to on the screen.

Technology:

The technology deployed for the research investigation was supplied by Smartbox assistive technology. This eye-tracking technology allowed the recording of pupil’s eye movements to produce heat maps and gaze plotting that showed precisely where the pupils had been looking.
The camera (hardware) is called ‘Tobii PCEye Go’ and that recognises the eye gaze and allows the pupil’s gaze to interact with the PC software. The software is called ‘Gaze Viewer’ and that allows the recording of eye movements in heat maps and gaze plotting. This is the element needed by teachers for assessment purposes.
It is the combination of hardware (camera) and software (Gaze Viewer) that is important as this allows the capture of data for assessment purposes.

Findings:

• The project found that the eye-tracking technology provided an independent data source on the pupil’s cognitive abilities, which in turn:
• increased teachers trust in their judgements about what individual pupils were attending to on the computer screen and the pupils understanding when asked questions about what was on the screen. This in turn:
• enhanced teachers confidence in their assessment of the pupil’s performance levels.
The research findings suggest that the use of eye-tracking technology as an assessment tool helped teachers to gather more information on individual pupils who are difficult to assess. Key findings were that the eye-tracking technology was effective as an assessment tool in;
• providing more information on individual learner’s interests, likes, dislikes and engagement levels on particular topics; thereby
• enabling teachers to be able to provide different styles of visual images, such as photos or cartoons, to aid pupil’s learning;
• the heat maps provided data that demonstrated the abilities of pupils not observed before by teachers or parents;
• the data gathered provided accurate assessments that could be recorded and then monitored;
• this gave teachers another tool to make informed judgments of how the pupils were performing with respect to their P levels.

Key outcomes

From the findings of the action research project, teachers reported the following key outcomes:
• Eye-tracking technology can be an effective assessment tool to assess the understanding of pupils working at low P levels who have profound and multiple learning difficulties;
• Eye-tracking technology provided evidence about pupils’ demonstrable abilities to understand different concepts that altered the teachers views about what the pupils were seeing and processing, when looking at the computer screen;
• When working with pupils with complex needs, the eye-tracking technology has more impact when personalised activities, which are simpler, are used with the pupils instead of the standard learning activities;
• Pupils with severe learning difficulties respond better to uncluttered background images that avoid confusion and distraction;
• Heat maps and second camera observations provided the most accurate assessment results;
• Though the P levels of pupils did not change after their assessment with eye-tracking technology, the information gathered on what the pupils liked/disliked, what they were interested in, their cognitive understanding and what motivates them, was valuable in informing teachers’ practice;
• The eye-tracking technology data enhanced the teachers confidence in the performance level assigned to the pupil, as it provided additional data to inform teachers judgements and to thereby make the teacher’s judgements more robust;
• Most importantly, in cases where previously only assumptions could be made regarding pupil’s cognitive abilities, eye-tracking technology provided data which could confirm the teachers’ judgements, as well providing additional information on pupils’ likes and dislikes, which could then help teachers to prepare more personalised learning activities in the future.

Recommendations

It is recommended that teachers receive training before the use of eye-tracking technology. Also it is suggested that a designated staff member is given responsibility to oversee the whole process and they ensure that appropriate materials are created for pupils. With appropriate materials, reliable data can be gathered and personalised learning can be enhanced. If other schools wish to use eye-tracking technology, it is recommended that they create they own materials, as the generic learning activities and pictures that came with the software need to be adapted for pupils with complex needs.

Resources

Nether Hall School Eye Gaze for Assessment research reports:

Executive Summary

Investigating the Use of Eye-Tracking Technology for Assessment Executive Summary 2016 (Word)

Investigating the Use of Eye-Tracking Technology for Assessment Executive Summary 2016 (PDF)

Full Research Report

Investigating the Use of Eye Tracking Technology for Assessment Full Report 2016 (Word)

Investigating the Use of Eye Tracking Technology for Assessment Full Report 2016 (PDF)

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City-wide school staff digital literacy network

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DigiLit Network 6Just before Christmas 2015, we launched a call to secondary and special education schools across the city to participate in a new peer led network, designed to focus supporting school staff digital literacy and CPD. The network builds on the DigiLit Leicester project, which successfully established a process for identifying strengths and gaps in digital literacy, and improving skills and confidence school and city-wide.

ICT investment in Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme has provided all city mainstream secondary and special education secondary schools in the city with world-class technology designed to support effective teaching and learning, connect communities and provide opportunities for teachers and learners to collaborate across the city and beyond. Over the last 5 years we have rebuilt and refurbished 19 schools, completing a programme which benefits over 20,000 young people.

Peer-led digital literacy networkDigiLit network 3

Peer network leads will ensure that staff at all levels continue to be supported in improving skills and developing their practice. The new network represents 10 city schools:

Mahala Active-Nemaura, Head of Computer Science, The Lancaster School

Antoinette Bouwens,Business Manager, St Paul’s Catholic School

Will Carter, Director of Music, English Martyrs’ Catholic School

Natalie Coley and Julie Eden, Nether Hall School

Josie Franklin, ICT/Computing/Computer Science Teacher, Moat Community College

Kitesh Mistry, Lead Teacher: Digital Learning, Rushey Mead Academy

Fabienne Preston, Head of Modern Foreign Languages, Crown Hills Community College

James Rolfe, ICT Lead and Head of Science, Judgemeadow Community College

Tony Tompkins, College Leader – New Technology, The City of Leicester College

Elsbeth Woodgate, Educational Technologist, Ellesmere College

Mahala Active-Nemaura and Tony Tompkins will be taking responsibility for co-ordination the network, which will run until July 2017. Members will also be working with Leicester’s Open Schools Network, to ensure all schools take advantage of the city councils work in relation to open educational licensing and support for open practice.

DigiLit Network 7Digital literacy in focus

Each school has selected a strand of the DigiLit Leicester framework to focus on during the lifetime of the project, and will be focusing on raising confidence and competence levels in this area. Schools were free to select their prefered area from the six framework strands –

  • Assessment and Feedback
  • Communication, Collaboration and Participation
  • Creating and Sharing
  • E-Safety and Online Identity
  • Finding, Evaluating and Organising
  • Technology supported Professional Development

Interestingly, all participating schools selected one of three strands: Assessment and Feedback, Communication, Collaboration and Participation, or Technology supported professional Development – giving us three working groups.

You can find out more about the framework strands and levels here.

The work of the networkDigiLit Network 4

The Peer Network Leads will:

  • Work in partnership with the Open Schools Network, to ensure work completed compliments and supports the development, implementation and identification of good practice in open education.
  • Commit to developing their own specialist knowledge of the chosen digital literacy strand area, as well as complimentary knowledge relating to open education, open educational resources and open licences.
  • Support staff at their school in relation to the development of practice supported by the chosen digital literacy strand, ensuring progression amongst all staff but particularly in relation to staff currently working at Entry level.
  • Ensure that activities undertaken support the school improvement plan and in particular, learner outcomes and quality of teaching.
  • Be an active member of the DigiLit Leicester Network in Leicester – supporting other members, encouraging primary school participation, sharing approaches and ideas, and promoting your work and the work of the other network members.
  • Document and share practice and any high quality resources created in the context of the project under open licence, in line with Leicester City Council recommendations.

 Congratulations to all participating schools and good luck for the year ahead!

 DigiLit network 2

 

 

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College Leader project – Final Report

Tony Tompkins, ICT Strategy Coordinator, has lead on the DigiLit Leicester supported College Leader project for The City of Leicester College. The project makes use of the DigiLit Leicester framework to support staff development and embed digital literacy across the college. The project established a new educational technologist post (College Leader – New Technology), and provided training sessions focusing on the digital literacy strands to develop the use of technology to support practice. Tony provides a final project report, outlining the approach he has taken to supporting digital literacy across the college (project resources are shared at the end of the post):

The College Leader project consists of four distinct strands:
• Continuation of the post for College Leader – New Technology for two further terms.
• Delivery of six x two hour training sessions on each of the Digilit Leicester strands.
• Support for a number of staff to run small innovation projects, making better use of existing technology.
• The development of a viable whole school 1-to-1 scheme.

College Leader post

In 2012, The City of Leicester College (TCOLC) created a four term secondment role to the College Leadership Team. The post of “College Leader – New Technology” was tasked with developing the strategic vision for the college within new technologies, and to help deliver on this vision as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) process.

The role has been critical in helping the college further develop its long term vision, devising a sustainable approach to 1-to-1 ICT provision, and to lead on staff development in digital literacy. The extra time to focus on staff development in relation to technology has meant the college has been better able to support the bedding-in process of the new build and new ICT solution.
During the extra two terms, the college took the decision to create a new permanent post of “ICT Strategy Coordinator” at leadership level, and have now successfully appointed to this role. The post directly derives from the College Leader role supported by this project, and holds overall responsibility for the strategic direction and development of new technologies within the college and also leads on Continual Professional Development (CPD) aimed at boosting the skills of our staff team.
Since appointment, the ICT Strategy Coordinator has overseen the introduction of fortnightly whole school CPD sessions developing staff competency and confidence in using new technologies in the classroom. The Coordinator has also developed and delivered the first stage of the TCOLC 1-to-1 iPad scheme for year 9 students and will continue rolling this out to the rest of the school over the next 18 months.

Raising Capacity & Confidence in ICT

Part of the College Leader – New Technology project was to develop staff capability and confidence in using new technologies. As part of this drive, the college developed a number training sessions based around the DigiLit Leicester strands, aiming to develop skills in using the new systems and software delivered through BSF to better support teaching and learning.
We have delivered three out of the six training sessions aimed at moving staff on to the next level of competency within each DigiLit Leicester strand. Twilight sessions proved extremely popular, and were fully booked. We gave priority to staff who identified as currently working at the lower levels of the framework, at “entry” or “core”, in order to raise the baseline of staff confidence in their professional use of technology across the college.

The sessions were created and delivered by our own Pioneer (advanced) level staff, and tailored to suit the technology and software available within school. In terms of technologies, we focused predominantly on SharePoint and the use of iPads, as these are key components of our ICT provision, and as newly introduced technologies, least familiar to our staff.

The three sessions run were on the following DigiLit Leicester strands:
• Creating and Sharing
• Communication, Collaboration and Participation
• Technology supported Professional Development
Below is a synopsis of the three sessions and the main objectives:

Session 1 – Creating & Sharing
Synopsis: An overview of how to use SharePoint to quickly and easily create, edit and share documents with students using OneDrive, and how to use the very powerful Sites tool to create a central bank of resources for staff and students to use for years to come. This includes looking at basic word, PowerPoint and Excel documents, as well as sharing rich media content such as images and videos with students. We will also spend some time looking at different approaches to sharing, and how to effectively draw students’ attention to important documents and information easily.
Objectives:
• Be confident in creating documents within OneDrive
• Be able to share documents in OneDrive with other members of the college
• Be able to add resources to a SharePoint Site
• Understand how to use Newsfeed to draw attention to SharePoint content

Session 2 – Communication, Collaboration and Participation
Synopsis: A look at collaborative learning tools on the laptops and iPads. During this session staff learnt how to create a documents and presentations via SharePoint that groups of students can work on simultaneously. On the iPads, Socrative was introduced for whole class polling, and Evernote create shared notebooks. Work was displayed to the rest of the group via Apple TV.
Objectives:
• Create documents and presentations for groups of students to work on at the same time.
• Use Sharepoint Newsfeed to guide students to your content.
• Learn how to create a quiz in Socrative and play along with one that someone else has made.
• Understand how Evernote can be used by students to share their work with you.
• Know how to use Padlet for a quick evaluation, feedback or brain-storm.

Session 3 – Technology supported Professional Development
Synopsis: A practical training session using TES Resources and Twitter to make, develop and share teaching and learning resources including lesson plans, presentations, assemblies, and games, to save time and enhance the effectiveness of planning and teaching time, as well as providing opportunities to build personal learning networks (PLNs).
Objectives:
• Create/develop a twitter account to source, share and promote teaching resources.
• Use hashtags to join or start discussions about education, training or CPD.
• Create/develop a Times Educational Supplement (TES) account to source and share teaching resources online.
• Start to look at teacher/educational blogs to follow and/or make your own.

Evaluation of all 3 sessions was extremely positive, with most staff rating the sessions as outstanding and all staff rating them good or better. Where sessions were criticised, it was mainly around the fast pace and the desire to fit a lot into each session! I have appended all the resources created for the three sessions are accessible from this post. We intend to run a further three sessions (covering additional DigiLit Leicester strands), and re-run the existing three sessions to allow more staff the opportunity of improving their skills.

Trialling and Disseminating Innovative Practice

The Digilit surveys had revealed that there is a pool of pioneer (advanced) level staff within the college whom we could draw on to share their digital literacy skills and help move the college practice forward. We felt it was important to harness the skills of these staff to ensure we made proper use of and got good value from the new ICT equipment made available to the College through BSF investment.

The idea behind the small innovation projects was to allow staff to pursue an identified project which aimed to improve teaching and learning in their area through the use of technology.
We invited applications from our staff team through a competitive process, and agreed to support six individual innovation projects across the College. The six agreed projects and their main objectives were:

1. Technology – Develop the use of the Laser Cutter
To develop the use of the Laser Cutter for use with Key Stage 4 & 5 students, including:
• Learn how to use Coral Draw software.
• Learn how to use the Laser Cutter & experiment with a variety of materials including leather and denim.
• Support learning of Key Stage 4 & 5 students to incorporate the use of new technologies in their coursework, and to develop knowledge and understanding of industrial practice.

2. Art & Design – Video Resource Bank
To develop a ‘Video Resources Bank’ which can be used to:
• Support progression for different abilities in lessons.
• Demonstrate health and safety with machinery/tools.
• Recap practical tasks – (play on loop as a visual aid).
• Support learning during cover lessons when the class teacher cannot be present.

3. Business – Content for the Learning Platform
To increase awareness, and then use of the new learning platform that the college is developing – SharePoint- for the business education area, with a view to expanding this to the Business/Art Design & Technology Hub.

4. English/Modern Foreign Languages – Developing use of ShowMe app
Develop the use of audio/visual feedback/marking – the use of Show Me app to produce marking that students can respond to:
• A trial of using Show Me to mark books in a way where students then respond to feedback in English and Modern Foreign Languages.
• Developing an area where students can access their feedback through the school network.
• Evaluating use of Show Me and whether it could be used more widely in the school.

5. Social Sciences – Use of Interactive Whiteboard
To develop the use of eBeam so that all teachers are confident with all its features and capabilities so that they can save lesson plans, annotated and voice recorded power points and email them out to students.

6. Inclusion – Using New Technology to support students with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
As we are working towards dyslexia friendly school status, one of the recommendations for dyslexic students is the use of a laptop or similar device in the classroom. Many of these students have difficulties with handwriting and spelling skills that affect the speed of hand written work. Pupils can become frustrated and behaviour can become an issue. This can also slow progress, especially in subject with heavy coursework workloads. In particular:
• A number of dyslexic students were provided with a personal iPad mini which included the Dragon Dictation App. They used it very successfully to take notes in the classroom and to produce independent work. Dragon dictation has now been added to the list of recommended apps for all students on our 1:1 scheme, and the use of iPads to support dyslexic students has become part of the College offer.
• 2 students were provided with a laptop. This was less successful due to the long bootup times, short battery life and less portable than the iPad mini.
• Paid software was explored, including WordShark and CVC Word Builder, but we were disappointed with these and found that the additional functionality did not warrant the cost.
Information around the use of technology to support dyslexia was reviewed and updated on the College website.

Staff have been working on these projects over the past year and have been provided up to 10 hours release time on request to help develop their projects and prepare resources for their classes.
Overall I think that the small innovation projects has been a positive initiative. All staff made some progress on their projects, and there have been some very effective results for individual staff concerned. However, a minority projects produced less results than hoped, due to the staff concerned not taking sufficient time out of teaching to devote to developing their project over the course of the year. This is partly their own reluctance to leave exam classes, and partly constraints made by the College due to the large amount of cover already taken across the school this year.

Developing a whole school 1-to-1 Model

The College had previously run a very successful “Bring your own Device” (BYOD) trial and were looking to build on the ideas and successes generated by this to create a whole school 1-to-1 scheme based around the iPad mini.

The TCOLC 1-to-1 iPad mini Scheme commenced in November 2014. It costs £170 to join, which parents can pay all at once or as a £50 deposit followed by 6 monthly payments of £20. Students who join the scheme receive an iPad-mini pre-installed with all the apps required for the classroom, a case and one year’s insurance against accidental damage and theft. It has proved extremely popular with our Year 9 parents and we will be inviting other year groups to join the scheme over the coming months.

Once the £170 has been paid, there will be no further payments required, other than a renewal fee of around £10 if parents would like to extend the insurance policy for a further year. The devices remain school property whilst the student remains at the College. However, when they graduate or leave to join another school, they can purchase the device for £1, and full ownership will be transferred from the College to the parents/guardians. Our Mobile Device Mangement (MDM) software will be removed and students are free to use the device as they wish.
The scheme is currently optional and only devices purchased through this scheme will be allowed in school. The devices have Lightspeed MDM software pre-installed, and all traffic will pass through our College web-filtering.

Parents are offered the choice to either restrict their child’s device to our pre-selected apps for learning, or opt for a more open setup where students are able to install their own age-appropriate apps, allowing both educational and leisure use. Currently, only one set of parents have asked us to place restrictions on the device, due to concerns that their child was on the device too often at home playing games.

All students joining the scheme need to sign an Acceptable Use Policy, along with their parents. This policy only applies to devices provided through the 1-to-1 scheme, and the College retains its existing mobile device policy, which covers all other devices. We have created some specific codes in our behaviour system to track iPad misuse. The College reserves the right to remove certain apps, features or content or to restrict devices in the case of inappropriate use within the College. So far we have had a few issues with inappropriate use of iMessage, and this feature has been temporarily withdrawn for 5 students, initially for two weeks.

The College is very pleased with the initial take-up. Over 110 of our year 9 signed up on the first offer, which is around two-thirds of the year group. Students in this year group will have a second opportunity to join the scheme. We are looking to push membership levels of existing students up from the initial 70% take-up rate to above 90%.

We do have a backup plan for parents who do not wish to join the scheme. The College currently has around 200 iPad-minis in class sets distributed around the building, and once all year groups have had the opportunity to join the scheme, these devices will be repurposed for these students. Students who are unable to or do not want to join the scheme, but who require a device for lessons, will be able to borrow a device on a per-lesson or per-day basis. As long as take up is reasonably high, then this should be manageable.

Additionally, the College has employed an additional technician, whose role is specifically to help with device rollout and to support the students. This is initially on a temporary contract whilst we evaluate this role. Successfully setting up and managing so many devices requires time and considerable expertise. The College has also invested in a local internet filtering solution. This means that no matter where the students iPads are, their internet traffic always routes through the College filtering system. It is difficult to apply parental controls to tablets, and we felt that this, along with the age restrictions enforced through our MDM, would provide a level of safety for our students that parents would find it difficult to achieve themselves.I am confident that the current scheme will continue to grow in popularity as it is rolled out across the school. We are proud to be one of the first schools in the area to be offering this exciting opportunity to our students.

Resources

• Creating and sharing (handout) SharePoint How To Guides 10-10-2015 (Word) SharePoint How To Guides 10-10-2015 (PDF)
•  Creating and sharing (presentation) Creating and Sharing with SharePoint presentation 10-10-2015 (PowerPoint)
• Technology Supported Professional Development (handout) Signing up for your Twitter account 10-10-2015 (Word) Signing up for your Twitter account 10-10-2015
• Technology Supported Professional Development (presentation) Twitter for school staff CPD 10-10-2015 (PowerPoint)
• DigiLit – Communication Collaboration Participation (presentation) Communication Collaboration Participation 10-10-2015 PowerPoint
• 1-to-1 Scheme – Acceptable Use Policy 1-to-1 Scheme – Acceptable Use Policy 10-10-2015 (Word) 1-to-1 Scheme – Acceptable Use Policy 10-10-2015 (PDF)
• 1-to-1 Scheme – Loan Agreement 1-to-1 Scheme – Loan Agreement 10-10-2015 (Word) 1-to-1 Scheme – Loan Agreement 10-10-2015

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College Leader project – Final Report

Tony Tompkins, ICT Strategy Coordinator, has lead on the DigiLit Leicester supported College Leader project for The City of Leicester College. The project makes use of the DigiLit Leicester framework to support staff development and embed digital literacy across the college. The project established a new educational technologist post (College Leader – New Technology), and provided training sessions focusing on the digital literacy strands to develop the use of technology to support practice. Tony provides a final project report, outlining the approach he has taken to supporting digital literacy across the college (project resources are shared at the end of the post):

The College Leader project consists of four distinct strands:
• Continuation of the post for College Leader – New Technology for two further terms.
• Delivery of six x two hour training sessions on each of the Digilit Leicester strands.
• Support for a number of staff to run small innovation projects, making better use of existing technology.
• The development of a viable whole school 1-to-1 scheme.

College Leader post

In 2012, The City of Leicester College (TCOLC) created a four term secondment role to the College Leadership Team. The post of “College Leader – New Technology” was tasked with developing the strategic vision for the college within new technologies, and to help deliver on this vision as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) process.

The role has been critical in helping the college further develop its long term vision, devising a sustainable approach to 1-to-1 ICT provision, and to lead on staff development in digital literacy. The extra time to focus on staff development in relation to technology has meant the college has been better able to support the bedding-in process of the new build and new ICT solution.
During the extra two terms, the college took the decision to create a new permanent post of “ICT Strategy Coordinator” at leadership level, and have now successfully appointed to this role. The post directly derives from the College Leader role supported by this project, and holds overall responsibility for the strategic direction and development of new technologies within the college and also leads on Continual Professional Development (CPD) aimed at boosting the skills of our staff team.
Since appointment, the ICT Strategy Coordinator has overseen the introduction of fortnightly whole school CPD sessions developing staff competency and confidence in using new technologies in the classroom. The Coordinator has also developed and delivered the first stage of the TCOLC 1-to-1 iPad scheme for year 9 students and will continue rolling this out to the rest of the school over the next 18 months.

Raising Capacity & Confidence in ICT

Part of the College Leader – New Technology project was to develop staff capability and confidence in using new technologies. As part of this drive, the college developed a number training sessions based around the DigiLit Leicester strands, aiming to develop skills in using the new systems and software delivered through BSF to better support teaching and learning.
We have delivered three out of the six training sessions aimed at moving staff on to the next level of competency within each DigiLit Leicester strand. Twilight sessions proved extremely popular, and were fully booked. We gave priority to staff who identified as currently working at the lower levels of the framework, at “entry” or “core”, in order to raise the baseline of staff confidence in their professional use of technology across the college.

The sessions were created and delivered by our own Pioneer (advanced) level staff, and tailored to suit the technology and software available within school. In terms of technologies, we focused predominantly on SharePoint and the use of iPads, as these are key components of our ICT provision, and as newly introduced technologies, least familiar to our staff.

The three sessions run were on the following DigiLit Leicester strands:
• Creating and Sharing
• Communication, Collaboration and Participation
• Technology supported Professional Development
Below is a synopsis of the three sessions and the main objectives:

Session 1 – Creating & Sharing
Synopsis: An overview of how to use SharePoint to quickly and easily create, edit and share documents with students using OneDrive, and how to use the very powerful Sites tool to create a central bank of resources for staff and students to use for years to come. This includes looking at basic word, PowerPoint and Excel documents, as well as sharing rich media content such as images and videos with students. We will also spend some time looking at different approaches to sharing, and how to effectively draw students’ attention to important documents and information easily.
Objectives:
• Be confident in creating documents within OneDrive
• Be able to share documents in OneDrive with other members of the college
• Be able to add resources to a SharePoint Site
• Understand how to use Newsfeed to draw attention to SharePoint content

Session 2 – Communication, Collaboration and Participation
Synopsis: A look at collaborative learning tools on the laptops and iPads. During this session staff learnt how to create a documents and presentations via SharePoint that groups of students can work on simultaneously. On the iPads, Socrative was introduced for whole class polling, and Evernote create shared notebooks. Work was displayed to the rest of the group via Apple TV.
Objectives:
• Create documents and presentations for groups of students to work on at the same time.
• Use Sharepoint Newsfeed to guide students to your content.
• Learn how to create a quiz in Socrative and play along with one that someone else has made.
• Understand how Evernote can be used by students to share their work with you.
• Know how to use Padlet for a quick evaluation, feedback or brain-storm.

Session 3 – Technology supported Professional Development
Synopsis: A practical training session using TES Resources and Twitter to make, develop and share teaching and learning resources including lesson plans, presentations, assemblies, and games, to save time and enhance the effectiveness of planning and teaching time, as well as providing opportunities to build personal learning networks (PLNs).
Objectives:
• Create/develop a twitter account to source, share and promote teaching resources.
• Use hashtags to join or start discussions about education, training or CPD.
• Create/develop a Times Educational Supplement (TES) account to source and share teaching resources online.
• Start to look at teacher/educational blogs to follow and/or make your own.

Evaluation of all 3 sessions was extremely positive, with most staff rating the sessions as outstanding and all staff rating them good or better. Where sessions were criticised, it was mainly around the fast pace and the desire to fit a lot into each session! I have appended all the resources created for the three sessions are accessible from this post. We intend to run a further three sessions (covering additional DigiLit Leicester strands), and re-run the existing three sessions to allow more staff the opportunity of improving their skills.

Trialling and Disseminating Innovative Practice

The Digilit surveys had revealed that there is a pool of pioneer (advanced) level staff within the college whom we could draw on to share their digital literacy skills and help move the college practice forward. We felt it was important to harness the skills of these staff to ensure we made proper use of and got good value from the new ICT equipment made available to the College through BSF investment.

The idea behind the small innovation projects was to allow staff to pursue an identified project which aimed to improve teaching and learning in their area through the use of technology.
We invited applications from our staff team through a competitive process, and agreed to support six individual innovation projects across the College. The six agreed projects and their main objectives were:

1. Technology – Develop the use of the Laser Cutter
To develop the use of the Laser Cutter for use with Key Stage 4 & 5 students, including:
• Learn how to use Coral Draw software.
• Learn how to use the Laser Cutter & experiment with a variety of materials including leather and denim.
• Support learning of Key Stage 4 & 5 students to incorporate the use of new technologies in their coursework, and to develop knowledge and understanding of industrial practice.

2. Art & Design – Video Resource Bank
To develop a ‘Video Resources Bank’ which can be used to:
• Support progression for different abilities in lessons.
• Demonstrate health and safety with machinery/tools.
• Recap practical tasks – (play on loop as a visual aid).
• Support learning during cover lessons when the class teacher cannot be present.

3. Business – Content for the Learning Platform
To increase awareness, and then use of the new learning platform that the college is developing – SharePoint- for the business education area, with a view to expanding this to the Business/Art Design & Technology Hub.

4. English/Modern Foreign Languages – Developing use of ShowMe app
Develop the use of audio/visual feedback/marking – the use of Show Me app to produce marking that students can respond to:
• A trial of using Show Me to mark books in a way where students then respond to feedback in English and Modern Foreign Languages.
• Developing an area where students can access their feedback through the school network.
• Evaluating use of Show Me and whether it could be used more widely in the school.

5. Social Sciences – Use of Interactive Whiteboard
To develop the use of eBeam so that all teachers are confident with all its features and capabilities so that they can save lesson plans, annotated and voice recorded power points and email them out to students.

6. Inclusion – Using New Technology to support students with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
As we are working towards dyslexia friendly school status, one of the recommendations for dyslexic students is the use of a laptop or similar device in the classroom. Many of these students have difficulties with handwriting and spelling skills that affect the speed of hand written work. Pupils can become frustrated and behaviour can become an issue. This can also slow progress, especially in subject with heavy coursework workloads. In particular:
• A number of dyslexic students were provided with a personal iPad mini which included the Dragon Dictation App. They used it very successfully to take notes in the classroom and to produce independent work. Dragon dictation has now been added to the list of recommended apps for all students on our 1:1 scheme, and the use of iPads to support dyslexic students has become part of the College offer.
• 2 students were provided with a laptop. This was less successful due to the long bootup times, short battery life and less portable than the iPad mini.
• Paid software was explored, including WordShark and CVC Word Builder, but we were disappointed with these and found that the additional functionality did not warrant the cost.
Information around the use of technology to support dyslexia was reviewed and updated on the College website.

Staff have been working on these projects over the past year and have been provided up to 10 hours release time on request to help develop their projects and prepare resources for their classes.
Overall I think that the small innovation projects has been a positive initiative. All staff made some progress on their projects, and there have been some very effective results for individual staff concerned. However, a minority projects produced less results than hoped, due to the staff concerned not taking sufficient time out of teaching to devote to developing their project over the course of the year. This is partly their own reluctance to leave exam classes, and partly constraints made by the College due to the large amount of cover already taken across the school this year.

Developing a whole school 1-to-1 Model

The College had previously run a very successful “Bring your own Device” (BYOD) trial and were looking to build on the ideas and successes generated by this to create a whole school 1-to-1 scheme based around the iPad mini.

The TCOLC 1-to-1 iPad mini Scheme commenced in November 2014. It costs £170 to join, which parents can pay all at once or as a £50 deposit followed by 6 monthly payments of £20. Students who join the scheme receive an iPad-mini pre-installed with all the apps required for the classroom, a case and one year’s insurance against accidental damage and theft. It has proved extremely popular with our Year 9 parents and we will be inviting other year groups to join the scheme over the coming months.

Once the £170 has been paid, there will be no further payments required, other than a renewal fee of around £10 if parents would like to extend the insurance policy for a further year. The devices remain school property whilst the student remains at the College. However, when they graduate or leave to join another school, they can purchase the device for £1, and full ownership will be transferred from the College to the parents/guardians. Our Mobile Device Mangement (MDM) software will be removed and students are free to use the device as they wish.
The scheme is currently optional and only devices purchased through this scheme will be allowed in school. The devices have Lightspeed MDM software pre-installed, and all traffic will pass through our College web-filtering.

Parents are offered the choice to either restrict their child’s device to our pre-selected apps for learning, or opt for a more open setup where students are able to install their own age-appropriate apps, allowing both educational and leisure use. Currently, only one set of parents have asked us to place restrictions on the device, due to concerns that their child was on the device too often at home playing games.

All students joining the scheme need to sign an Acceptable Use Policy, along with their parents. This policy only applies to devices provided through the 1-to-1 scheme, and the College retains its existing mobile device policy, which covers all other devices. We have created some specific codes in our behaviour system to track iPad misuse. The College reserves the right to remove certain apps, features or content or to restrict devices in the case of inappropriate use within the College. So far we have had a few issues with inappropriate use of iMessage, and this feature has been temporarily withdrawn for 5 students, initially for two weeks.

The College is very pleased with the initial take-up. Over 110 of our year 9 signed up on the first offer, which is around two-thirds of the year group. Students in this year group will have a second opportunity to join the scheme. We are looking to push membership levels of existing students up from the initial 70% take-up rate to above 90%.

We do have a backup plan for parents who do not wish to join the scheme. The College currently has around 200 iPad-minis in class sets distributed around the building, and once all year groups have had the opportunity to join the scheme, these devices will be repurposed for these students. Students who are unable to or do not want to join the scheme, but who require a device for lessons, will be able to borrow a device on a per-lesson or per-day basis. As long as take up is reasonably high, then this should be manageable.

Additionally, the College has employed an additional technician, whose role is specifically to help with device rollout and to support the students. This is initially on a temporary contract whilst we evaluate this role. Successfully setting up and managing so many devices requires time and considerable expertise. The College has also invested in a local internet filtering solution. This means that no matter where the students iPads are, their internet traffic always routes through the College filtering system. It is difficult to apply parental controls to tablets, and we felt that this, along with the age restrictions enforced through our MDM, would provide a level of safety for our students that parents would find it difficult to achieve themselves.I am confident that the current scheme will continue to grow in popularity as it is rolled out across the school. We are proud to be one of the first schools in the area to be offering this exciting opportunity to our students.

Resources

• Creating and sharing (handout) SharePoint How To Guides 10-10-2015 (Word) SharePoint How To Guides 10-10-2015 (PDF)
•  Creating and sharing (presentation) Creating and Sharing with SharePoint presentation 10-10-2015 (PowerPoint)
• Technology Supported Professional Development (handout) Signing up for your Twitter account 10-10-2015 (Word) Signing up for your Twitter account 10-10-2015
• Technology Supported Professional Development (presentation) Twitter for school staff CPD 10-10-2015 (PowerPoint)
• DigiLit – Communication Collaboration Participation (presentation) Communication Collaboration Participation 10-10-2015 PowerPoint
• 1-to-1 Scheme – Acceptable Use Policy 1-to-1 Scheme – Acceptable Use Policy 10-10-2015 (Word) 1-to-1 Scheme – Acceptable Use Policy 10-10-2015 (PDF)
• 1-to-1 Scheme – Loan Agreement 1-to-1 Scheme – Loan Agreement 10-10-2015 (Word) 1-to-1 Scheme – Loan Agreement 10-10-2015

 

 

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Keyham Lodge & Millgate School e-Safety Project – first thoughts

Keyham Lodge and Millgate School are currently working together on an ambitious project which will establish the school federation as a national e-safety centre of excellence for  schools that support learners with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). The project aims to increase student, staff and parental awareness. The project will create and share a range of high quality cross-curricular resources that can be used to support SEBD learners. A bespoke training package for staff and learners is being created with the help of experts, specifically focusing on e-safety in relation to mobile technologies. An e-safety questionnaire is also being designed to find out what pupils, parents, carers and staff know, and identify areas where more support may be needed. Survey findings will inform the direction of the project and the resources created.

Project lead Darren John (Learning Technology Lead for the two schools) writes:

Keyham Lodge and Millgate are Federated schools supporting children with Social, emotional and Mental Health needs. We deal with some of the most vulnerable children in Leicester City and see e-safety education and work as vital in terms of supporting their personal safety.

We have teamed up with James Diamond,  because of his role as Safeguarding Officer for Leicester City Council, as well as his interest in e-safety and the recognised contacts he has made in this field, including Ken Corish and Professor Andy Phippen of South West Grid for Learning (who agreed to provide advice on the student survey). James is currently employed as the Leader of Digital Learning at Abbotsholme School in Staffordshire, but continues to provide online safety guidance to schools and organisations.

James Diamond and I met in order to lay down our plans.

The three main initial areas were:

  1. Laying out a road map to see how we could complete the project.
  2. Producing the initial questionnaire to give to stakeholders.
  3. Buying and setting up the equipment requested under the bid.

Laying out a road map to see how we could complete the project

James and I have now had five meetings and a number of conversations by phone and email, focusing primarily on the initial questionnaire and the planning for what we will do with the gathered data. We have also visited Warning Zone in Frog Island, to see if their new e-learning zone can be utilised for the training programme.

Producing the initial questionnaire to give to stakeholders

The survey is based on previous student online experience surveys produced by Andy Phippen at the University of Plymouth, and is designed to elicit honest opinions from the young people completing it. The aim is to gather as true a reflection as possible about their online experiences.

Our discussion focused on how easy the questionnaire would be to complete, based on literacy levels of the young people across the two schools. We decided the questionnaire should be completed with careful help from staff on each point, whilst ensuring the answers aren’t elicited through poor guidance.

Once implemented, the questionnaires went out to all pupils in September. The questionnaire for parents and staff have been delayed slightly in order to allow for any changes that become highlighted by the pupil answers, particularly by those about getting round rules and who pupils are prepared to go to with issues that concern them. The results will then be used as the foundation for the training program, to be implemented later in the academic year.

Buying and setting up the equipment requested under the bid

We have invested in 32 tablets (16 at each site). This was in order to move away from the traditional PC/Laptop approach and give the staff and pupils more of an opportunity to use ICT flexibly. We also have plans to change the wireless SSIDs to allow for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for pupils in the future. We had never used Apple Configurator or any form of MDM before, so some research has been required. Due to cost, we’ve opted for Configurator, as it is free, and we don’t as yet have more than 35 Apple devices.

Planning for the training will be completed when all the questionnaires are returned, the analysis done, and the staff/parent questionnaires have gone out.

Posted in CPD & Innovation, E-Safety & Cyberbullying, Innovation Projects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resources for French Phonics – project round up

Jane Bland is Assistant Headteacher at Rushey Mead School, and has lead on a DigiLit Leicester innovation project. Her project has developed guidance to support Modern Foreign Language (MFL) staff in the use of technology to support the teaching of French phonics. You can read Jane’s initial project post, creating and sharing resources to teach French phonics and here interim project post – both c0me with ideas and resources. Here, Jane reflects on the experience of the project:

It is almost 12 months since I learned that my DigiLit Leicester project bid had been successful and this blog post is an account of my journey; creating the phonics schemes of work, sharing the resources and using tablets to enhance my teaching.

The phonics schemes of work came from an idea in how to support our primary colleagues in transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3. I wanted our feeder schools to focus on phonics and pronunciation, rather than a variety of vocabulary at a superficial level. The idea for the ‘Phonic Friends’ came from Jane Somerville who created them initially as part of a LinkedUp project:

http://www.linksintolanguages.ac.uk/sites/default/files/resources/2558/06%20LinkedUp%20case%20study%20French%20Phonics.pdf

I wanted to create a scheme of work that was progressive and cumulative, adding in one new phonic at a time, ensuring that the words learned only included phonemes that had already been introduced.

Introducing French Phonics – Scheme of Work (word)

For each of the 25 phonemes we created a Phonic Friend, a French person with the phoneme in their name, and we made posters to accompany each sound which are displayed in all classrooms:

phonics classroom display

 

Click here for a copy of all the posters: Phonics Posters (PowerPoint)

I then made a powerpoint for each sound that introduced words containing that individual phoneme (or others that had already been introduced so they were cumulative).

phoneme picturesClip art images used available under public domain via https://openclipart.org/

phoneme words

Each slidedeck also contains a variety of activities; a song, a rhyme, a tongue twister, a story, a dictation. I wanted this to fit in with the new programmes of study so that a primary school could meet all the new criteria by using this scheme of work.

Cache-Cashe CochonsCover image of Cache-cache cochons, copyright Arlene Dubanevich, 1984

Polisson pour attaper les sons!

 

Click here for example of a slide deck: 4 ch LeTS introduce phonics (PowerPoint)

As we had never taught French phonics in our secondary school before I decided we should trial it with our year 7 students. I hadn’t anticipated quite how successful this would be, and we have now rolled this out to all year groups throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

The impact on students’ speaking skills has been huge, and we continue to see an increase in their confidence and their French accents. We have embedded the phonics into our year 7 scheme of work, and we have now created more resources to reinforce the phonics throughout year 8 and year 9. We revise the phonics on a regular basis with all year groups, they have access to phonics place mats in class, and they now read new words with accuracy and ease.

phonics placematPhonics placemat

Click here for an example PowerPoint to revise the first 12 sounds: Can you remember sounds 1-12 (PowerPoint)

All year groups have benefited from the phonics, and also from the ipads. These are used on a very regular basis throughout the faculty, for French, Spanish and Italian. To read about the key apps we use with students please refer to my previous blog:

http://www.digilitleic.com/?p=865

Whilst we still have our old favourites we continue to develop our own knowledge and skills and discover new teaching and learning strategies all the time. This week one of the year 11 groups have been practising for their oral assessment using ‘Notes’ to write an example sentence and listen to the correct pronunciation. By the end of one lesson I had begun to see an improvement in their pronunciation and intonation, and they remained engaged and on task for the whole hour.

Year 11

I have been delighted with the positive impact we have seen in our faculty with our students, but it has also been great to hear from colleagues in other schools who have contacted me to say they are using these resources in their classroom and starting to see an impact on their children.

If you would like more information about our phonics scheme of work, or other MFL support that is available, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Blog 2! Using voice activated software

Ruth Fairley is a Special Education Needs (SEN) teacher at The Lancaster School – an all boys secondary (ages 11-16) school in Leicester. Ruth’s innovation project explores the use of iPad accessibility features and apps to support students with learning disabilities, and you can read her initial post here. The project enables her to develop her own skills, and represents a new approach to working with SEN learners in the school. Ruth updates us with her progress to date:

As writers often say, ‘many months passed reader!’ (no I didn’t marry him!)

My project to use tablets (iPads) with voice activated software for my six dyslexic and disaffected students has gathered momentum and speed! My participants were identified, my iPads set up and we were good to go.

I had done some preliminary research on the boys taking part and for this update I am going to focus on three boys who were very responsive to the project.

Firstly I reviewed staff comments on the boys’ behaviour which the school records on our Learning Management System. This provided a rough and ready bench mark to check any positive impact of the new approach against. I also took record of the boys working at levels at the beginning of the project to see if it could help them improve their grades.

The training for the boys to use the technology was very simple and straightforward, so much so that I could do it in less than a minute and that’s amazing considering my luddite ways!

I also informed the boys’ class teachers and in particular in any subjects that had a strong literacy based focus. The response from staff was generally positive, in particular from Heads of Year who often had to sort out the fallout from the boys’ lack of engagement.

I also made it clear to the boys that if they abused the usage of the devices in class then they would be withdrawn for a two week period. I had spoken to all parents involved and all were very keen to support their sons’ use of the iPads.

I started small!! As I taught a lot of the boys either for English or on one to one support basis for their learning disabilities, it was easy to find a starting point to roll out the devices. The boys, who were previously reluctant to start work in English and write, took to them like ducks to water.

I ran the project for a full term then looked at a quick assessment of impact, at this point I will focus on the three boys who have taken part in the project from the start. Two other boys who were selected to take part weren’t keen originally, but have subsequently joined in.

So, some small case studies:

Boy 1

By the end of term 2 his effort grades have improved, they have gone from 3 and 4 to 2 and 3.
His behaviour points in term 1 were 213, in term 2 they reduced to 86.
His NC levels for literacy based subjects where he has used the tablet made expected progress, one sub level per term. Whilst this may not seem much this was from a boy who had made little or no progress since he had started at the school.
On a purely selfish note, he now wants to come to English!

 Boy 2

His level of engagement in English has improved dramatically. His achievement in literacy based subjects improved by one sub level in one term and his effort grades improved in all areas.

Boy 3

His behaviour points were 112 in term 1 and this reduced to 55 in term 2. His SEN review was very positive and it noted improvement in his willingness to engage.
His NC levels had gone up in all subjects.

Based on this quick measure of improvement the initial introduction of the tablets has been positive for the three learners. There were and are some issues to be resolved, such as the boys using the tablets to access games and occasionally being off task playing them.

I wish I had a tablet with voice activated software for every boy who needed it!

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Getting Started with GIS in the Geography Curriculum

Post by Rob Manger – English Martyrs’ Catholic School, Leicester

Rob Manger is a Geography teacher at English Martyrs Catholic School in Leicester, which supports learners between age 11 and 18. Rob’s ICT innovation project focused on developing his own skills in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), with the aim of increasing the effective use of technology use across his department. You can read about the projects initial phase here: Incorporating GIS into the Geography Curriculum. In the course of the project, he has also developed and shared a range of teaching resources for use across key stages 3-5. The final project report which follows, along with resources, can be downloaded here:

Getting Started with GIS in the Geography Curriculum (Word)

Getting Started with GIS in the Geography Curriculum (PDF)

Are there any land use patterns in Leicester? (PowerPoint)

Planning a coastal walk using Digimaps (PowerPoint)

This work was supported by Leicester City Council’s DigiLit Leicester project.

At the beginning of my BSF ICT Innovation project I identified the key reasons I wasn’t using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in my teaching as:

  • I didn’t have time to learn how to use and implement GIS.
  • I didn’t have access to reliable computers.
  • I didn’t know what the best software for me to use with my learners might be.
  • I didn’t know if I would have to pay for subscriptions to sites, or if it would be possible to use GIS for free.
  • I didn’t know which data I could use and where it could be sourced from.
  • I didn’t know what support might be is available should it all go wrong!

I feel I am now in a much better position in which to comment on these barriers and perhaps remove a few.

I didn’t have time to learn how to use and implement GIS

Time is always the enemy and there are never enough hours in the day. I have been lucky enough to have been allowed to attend two courses. The first of which was useful in widening my experience of Google Earth, the second was an introduction to using the ESRI ArcGIS Online mapping platform. This inspired me to take the time to experiment and learn. The time invested has been worth it and I’m pleased with my progress and the outcomes.

There is no denying learning to use GIS requires a significant amount of time. It is important to feel confident in the concepts underpinning the GIS, it’s applications and confident to cope with any problems and misconceptions that may arise. A lot of these only become obvious through taking the risk to try things out both personally and with a class. The time and risk will only benefit the students in being able to analyse, question and interpret large amounts of spatial data, quickly. Therefore, the initial time learning to use the GIS is time well spent in order to deliver a high quality geography curriculum, with less time spent on lower order skills of creating the presentations and more time spent on the high order thinking skills of interpretation, analysis, and evaluation.

I didn’t have access to reliable computers

We now have improved access to computer rooms and devices, thanks to the investment made in the school by BSF. These are working well and our IT support work incredibly hard to fix any problems we encounter.

I didn’t know the best software to use.

The best software to use will depend on the task and the age group of learners. Below I’ve included a table of my comparison and evaluation of different Geographical Information Systems. I have reviewed Google Earth, Digimaps for Schools, and the free and subscription versions of ESRI ArcGIS Online,

In my opinion, Google Earth and the subscription version of ArcGIS online offer the most flexibility. ArcGIS online is the only GIS I have reviewed that gives the user the ability to filter, query and perform analysis on geo spatial data within the software, allowing the user to identify more detailed patterns and solve more advanced problems. I found Digimaps to be more useful in terms of introducing younger students to the concept of GIS and digital map skills.

Google Earth

Google Earth is probably the programme that the majority of staff and students are most familiar with. I discussed Google Earth at length in my first project blog post. It remains a main stay of my teaching when describing the location of a place due to the ease of navigation and visual appeal. I have created a piece of virtual fieldwork using Google Earth based on a fieldtrip to the Field Studies Council (FSC) Blencathra Centre. Whilst I think this has been a useful learning experience for me and is a useful teaching tool for revision and those students whom were unable to attend the fieldtrip, the creation of the virtual fieldtrip was time consuming and I think it is a bit clumsy.

 

Google Earth

 

In the future I would use the ArcGIS online Story Map application to create the virtual fieldtrip in half the time with a better outcome, and allowing for greater geographical analysis.

I have also begun to use GE Graph to display data directly on to Google Earth. This requires a free piece of software to be uploaded onto your computer. Points or Polygons can be drawn and saved as a KML file. These are then uploaded to the GE Graph progamme and the data added to the point or polygon. This is then uploaded back onto Google Earth. See below for examples of work by Vicki Johnson of Rushey Mead School and myself. Some experimentation is required to get the desired presentational results, however this is very intuitive and easy.

Bar chart to show the self-reported health as bad or very bad

Enviromental Quality Survey of Bede Island

For me, the most powerful use of Google Earth is to support learners in exploring concepts of place and space – for example, using the platform to create a tour of their local area, England, or beyond.

Edina’s Digimaps for Schools

Digimaps for Schools is very useful for interpreting OS maps in a digital format. The package is much more visually appealing and less daunting than other GIS software packages. My favourite part of Digimaps for Schools is the fact that it uses the same OS maps and symbology that students are expected to use in paper format in examinations thus increasing their familiarity with them. This has been more appealing to many students particularly boys and more practical to many geography departments as they will no longer be required to store many paper copies of OS maps. It offers a different format to interact with OS maps, interpreting relief, symbols and land use, however, students will still need to be able to demonstrate the skills of grid referencing, measuring distance, and area manually for examination purposes.
Digimaps for Schools allows learners to interact with digital mapping with the inclusion of a number of tools to identify points, draw polygons, measure distance and area and create buffers. These could be used in order to explore enquiry questions posed by a teacher, for example, which land uses will be affected should the cliff at X retreat by 10m. (It is possible to develop this enquiry question much further in ArcGISonline by adding further demographic and socioeconomic layers of data to the map.)
Apart from the appeal of digital OS maps and the basic analysis tools, another useful function is the ability to view a historical map layer from 1890. (An update in September 2015 will also include 1950s mapping in full colour which will enable students to further analyse change over time) I have enjoyed using this to illustrate the growth of settlement both with year 7 students and year 13 students. This would be of value to history departments as well and I will be sharing this accordingly.
Alan Parkinson has created a number of free resources for Digimaps to introduce the skills required. I have created two lesson plans to help students to continue to explore the uses of Digimaps. One of these explores a piece of coastline to create an information board for tourists with year 8 learners:

Digimaps for schools

 

An example of a students work using Digimaps for Schools

An example of a students work using Digimaps for Schools

An example of a students work using Digimaps for Schools

An example of a students work using Digimaps for Schools

The second resource I created with Digimaps for schools is designed to for Year 7 learners to investigate land uses with in settlements and urban morphology:

Digimaps - settlements and urban morphology

These have been well received by the students. However, I have identified a number of issues:

  • When using the grid line function of Digimaps the grid lines overlay the photographs. Either deselect the grid line function or suffer poor presentation quality (I wanted to use the work for a grid referencing activity at a later date so chose to keep the grid lines layer).
  • Be aware of issues with numeracy when comparing area as the units change at different scales m2 to km2.
  • Objects cannot be ‘sent to the back’. Choose the order that objects are added to the map carefully.

Overall, the students have reacted well to Digimaps; they enjoy investigating the variety of maps, including historical maps, and have enjoyed the tasks given to them. As a teacher, the software is fairly intuitive and has not been time consuming to get to grips. It is important to become familiar with the software in order to warn the students of some of its limitations. The lack of an undo button (students regularly confused the start again button for an undo button, leading to much frustration) and the limit of 30 characters when labelling features for example. The ability to save and print the students work on high quality OS maps is also a huge bonus. It is now up to me to develop more relevant and useful tasks to engage the students with map work. I plan to use Digimaps for Schools with years 7 and 8 in order to introduce them to GIS and interact with OS maps in a more student friendly and contemporary format.

Digimaps has recently been updated to include a number of different functions, including a limited ability to upload data in the form of a csv file and Grid reference tool. Please see this blog post for the updates.

Digimaps for Schools new upload CSV tool now allows a similar work flow to that of ArcGISonline with regards to the collection of primary data. Students can collect data for identified points using longitude and latitude, eastings and northings or postcodes and add a piece of data to that point. The fact that this is the same workflow as ArcGISonline only with fewer data fields will further differentiate the analysis required nicely for Keystage 2 and 3 by asking them to look for highest and lowest figures only rather than requiring students to analyse lots of different data all at once. I believe it may also be possible to create a Google Document which will allow for the collection of primary data in the same way as the Geoform technique does for ArcGISonline as described below.

This new function makes Digimaps for Schools an excellent starting point for younger students to get to grips with the concepts of GIS before moving on to the more advanced analytical tools in GIS software platforms such as Esri’s ArcGISonline.

ESRI ArcGIS online

ESRI’s ArcGIS online is the best GIS I have used in terms of flexibility and the powerful analytical tools it provides. Whilst it is the software that has required the greatest amount of time from me and definitely caused the most frustration, it has also inspired me to use more geospatial data and introduce this to my students. I can think of many more applications for ArcGIS online in our curriculum than the other programmes I reviewed.

My experience is with the free version and we have recently purchased a subscription for an organisational account. I would still say I was a beginner with using ArcGISonline, however I have been inspired to learn more and I am making good progress in spite of a few tantrums.

One of the main advantages of using ArcGISonline is the function to upload geospatial data either from your own fieldwork, ready-made layers from ArcGISonline and Esri or from geospatial data contained in websites such as Police.uk. This data is automatically plotted for you which allows more time to focus on analysis and problem solving.

My initial questions were: what geospatial data can be uploaded to ArcGIS online? Where can it be sourced? Why isn’t the data being plotted in the way I was expecting it to be?

Any data that has been linked to a specific location can be mapped in ArcGIS; however, some data sets will require more work than others. The easiest data to plot is data that is linked to latitude, longitude and post codes. I’ve had issues when attempting to plot data using place names and country names due to variations in the spellings of place names. These can be overcome with a little effort and investigation.

Student work - data plotting

@RHSB_Geography – Work completed by Raphael Heath demonstrating plotting data using middle layer super output areas (MSOA)

Sourcing the data: primary data or secondary data can be used. I’m excited about the ease with which students will be able to collect their own data in the field, locate that data with a longitude and latitude, and then upload it to the computer to be analysed. This can be done by using ESRI’s ArcGIS Collector or by using predefined data collection points with known longitude and latitude, or by manually identifying the longitude and latitude of the data collection point using a smart phone and entering it onto a piloted data collection sheet or spreadsheet and uploading the data at a later date for analysis. The creation of a Geoform is a further technique with which to collect primary data. I aim to use this in September to collect data about tourist destinations to further analyse in ArcGISonline.

 

Holiday

Link to Geoform

Secondary data can be found all over the internet. The first place to search for information should be ArcGISonline itself. There is a wealth of data already mapped in ready made layers. A further interesting source I have found is the Gapminder website. It has a library of data that it uses for its visualisations and has collated these making it easy to use them.

When using secondary data it is very important to make sure that the spreadsheet is saved as a .csv file and is as ‘clean’ as possible. By clean I mean it is highly likely that you will have to spend some time editing the file to ensure the data is unambiguous for ArcGIS online to interpret it accurately. This is easier said than done sometimes!

The work we have completed using ArcGIS online has been as simple as measuring the area and coastlines of continents with year 7 students. We have taken part in Raphael Heaths GIS world record attempt inputting data about quality of life and then analysing the results and year 9 have analysed the location of instances of graffiti using the density mapping function to identify which areas would benefit most from a graffiti wall.

Student work - index of deprivation

Years 12 and 13 have explored the Index of Multiple Deprivation for Leicester.

I have also attempted to create a Story Map of a piece of fieldwork we completed, evaluating the success of the City Challenge in Leicester. I attempted to create the story map as an afterthought and didn’t have the detail or information in a format I required. I now understand that this requires better planning prior to the trip in order to achieve the best results and be of the most use to the students. StoryMaps are an interesting tool provided by Esri that require further investigation on my part.

The EcoMartyrs, our school eco group, have used ArcGISonline to analyse the modes of transport students use to travel to school. From our investigations we have discovered students of English Martyrs’ Catholic School are driven almost 3,000km to and from school each day. That is the same as travelling to Warsaw, Poland and back, every day. The average distance a student is driven to school is just 4.4km. The total amount of time English Martyrs’ students spend travelling in a car each day is over 80 hours. The average car journey lasts just 7.4 minutes. These statistics were calculated using the analysis tools within ArcGISonline. The numeracy required to interpret these statistics begins to highlight the cross curricular links that GIS can open to us. We plan to use this information to inform students and parents, SLT and school governors and possibly the City Council in order to encourage more students to use sustainable modes of transport.

Travel

Since subscribing to ArcGISonline I have really learned to appreciate how to use geospatial data within the classroom. My mind is a buzz with applications and as someone more intelligent than I once said, “the only limit is our imagination.” I have begun to write a list of all of the areas of our existing curriculum I can embed GIS to supplement the learning that takes place and also develop further resources for our ever changing curriculum and geography.

Comparisons

The report includes comparisons of Google Earth, Digimaps for Schools, Esri ArcGISOnline (free version), and Esri ArcGISOnline (paid version). Download the full report here:

Getting Started with GIS in the Geography Curriculum (Word)

Getting Started with GIS in the Geography Curriculum 150813

Project conclusions

The ability to analyse geospatial data is an increasingly important skill. We are exposed to more geospatial data in web applications, smart phone apps and in the media. It is therefore extremely important that we can interpret it, analyse it and evaluate it ourselves. Our students are also expected to have experience of GIS throughout the key stages.

Primary and secondary geospatial data can be collected or downloaded from many different sources. The core issue is the flexibility of the platform used. It is more helpful if the platform is compatible with wide a range of geospatial data, and provides a range of ways to interpret and analyse this data.

When deciding on a subscription to a piece of GIS software, it is important to assess the requirements of your learners and the amount of time in which you are willing to invest in order to learn how the different software packages work and how to use them in order to help your learners achieve your learning intentions and beyond. In my opinion, ArcGIS online offers the most opportunities for teachers to use geospatial data efficiently with students, and to incorporate work with data into the curriculum providing they are willing to invest the time and effort required to become confident in its use. Otherwise Google Earth (free) and Digimaps for Schools both put a tick in the box for using GIS with in the curriculum and allow learners to analyse data spatially with less time commitment required from teachers to learn how to use the software.

Overall, Esri’s ArcGIS online is the one for me. Although, as stated in the subjective comparison above, it does require a substantial amount of time and effort (I’m a bit of a geek like that and my wife is very understanding) – however, the long term gains for the students’ geographical understanding are worth the investment. The fact that it is widely used in business and government is an added bonus which would give students worthwhile experience for their future academic studies and employment.

Getting Started with GIS in the Geography Curriculum by Rob Manger / English Martyrs’ Catholic School

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