Leicester BSF ICT School Innovation Awards

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The recent DigiLit Leicester survey results indicate Leicester’s 23 BSF schools have high levels of confidence in the effective and creative use of technology to support learners and learning, as well as significant numbers of staff who are not currently confident in using technology to support their professional practice. The DigiLit Leicester team are responding to the survey findings by hosting a range of activities over the next year, in line with the project recommendations.  We recognise one of the most important ways in which we can support school staff development and progression is by supporting school based and led projects, events and activities, enabling school communities to take Digital Literacy forward in ways that best help them respond to their needs and aspirations.

We have run two previous innovation funding rounds, to trial this approach. The deadline for receipt of applications to our third round closed on the 18th of November 2013.

This round of innovation funding attracted 27 bids. We received 7 individual applications, 17 school applications, and 3 arts and culture applications. We were really pleased with the quality of bids received in this round, and want to thank all staff members who took the time to put bids together. These were marked and deliberated over by panel, who have awarded funding to 4 individual submissions, 6 school submissions, and 1 Technology for Arts and Culture submission.

Congratulations to all of the schools and individual staff members who were successful! The next round of submissions for projects is 28 February 2014.

Individual Awards

These are awards of up to £2000 to support individual staff members in developing their confidence and skills in one of the six strands identified as priority areas through the DigiLit Leicester project: Finding, Evaluating and Organising; Creating and Sharing; Assessment and Feedback; Communication, Collaboration and Participation; E-Safety and Online Identity; and Technology supported Professional Development.

Investigating SharePoint as a Learning Environment

Peter Williams – The City of Leicester College

Peter will be investigating the use of SharePoint (part of the Office 365 package) as an alternative VLE. Primarily his work will focus on the social media elements of the platform, to develop more collaborative and participatory opportunities for both staff and students. He will be trialling the system with students and reflecting on its success.

Improving the teaching of Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Rob Manger – English Martyrs’ Catholic School

Rob will be attending a staff development course to improve his skills in using technology to support learners, and widen the use of technology use across his department. He will be developing a range of teaching resources for use across key stages 3-5. These resources will be shared openly at the end of project for other geography staff across the city to use.

Interactive Maths Resources

Corrina Mauger – St Paul’s Catholic School

As part of this project, Corrina will be attending a CPD workshop around the use of games-based learning techniques in Mathematics teaching – looking specifically at the creation and use of interactive learning activities. The project will also involve Corrina learning more about using the school’s VLE (Moodle) so that the interactive resources she creates can be shared with students.

Flipped Classroom

Mark Ostler – St Paul’s Catholic School

Mark will be using his funding to trial a flipped classroom approach. Videos and resources will be shared with students as homework for them to review prior to lessons, the class time will then be used for discussion and enquiry based tasks. He will be carrying out the trial with one unit of work, collecting data on student attainment and student opinions as part of the evaluation.

School Awards

These are awards of up to £10,000 to support schools in staff development activities that will take their school forward in at least one of the DigiLit Leicester frame work areas (Finding, Evaluating and Organising; Creating and Sharing; Assessment and Feedback; Communication, Collaboration and Participation; E-Safety and Online Identity; and Technology supported Professional Development) and/or supporting staff progression .

Improving Digital Literacy CPD

Martin Corbishley (project lead) – Babington Community College

Having trialled iPads within the school, Babington are turning their investigations towards web-based services and tools in order to support a cross-platform approach. The project aims to raise awareness of the services available through the delivery of a set of 11 workshops for school staff. These workshops will cover a range of topics; from using twitter to extend the classroom, to making use of online collaboration tools. Resources created will be shared openly.

Make Learning LAST

Alex Vann (project lead) – Beaumont Leys School

Beaumont Leys will be using classroom observation technology to deliver three elements of the project: supporting self and peer observation and reflection for NQTs and Year 2 teachers, recording teaching materials for use within a flipped classroom approach and creating a bank of good practice resources, for example, starters, plenaries and experiments. These resources will be shared via the school’s website and YouTube channel.

College Leader (New Technology) Secondment

Tony Tompkins (project lead) – The City of Leicester College

City will be using their innovation funding to focus on the role of College Leader for New Technology. This post holder will have three main areas of activity: trialling and disseminating innovative practice; raising capacity and confidence in ICT and reflecting on the current BYOD project in order to develop a whole school 1-to-1 model. This project will involve training sessions for staff in each of the key areas of digital literacy, as defined within the DigiLit Leicester project.

DigiLittle Acorns Learning Network

Christine Turner – English Martyrs’ Catholic School

The DigiLittle Acorns Learning Network is intended as a (initially) school-wide platform, where staff can share information about innovative projects they are working on. As part of the bid, the school’s science department will be developing a set of science apps for use in lessons and trialling and reviewing those already available. All information regarding these projects will be shared openly through the DigiLittle Acorns network.

Member of Parliament’s 6 (MP6)

Sera Shortland (project lead) – Hamilton Community College

This project will use technology to enhance and further develop an existing project that has been successfully running for three years. The college’s MP6 Political Speaking competition is an annual event open to all learners aged between 11 and 16 across the City. The school will use the funding to develop a website which will host young people speeches, and provide information about the current year’s competition and links to resources for students and staff.  The 2014 competition will also be live streamed.

Quick Key for formative assessment

Simon Renshaw (project lead) Soar Valley College

This project will evaluate the use of the Quick Key app for supporting formative assessment practices. Quick Key uses technology similar to optical mark recognition to speed up the process of capturing formative assessment information. The main focus of this project will be the use of formative assessment strategies for informing and improving instruction. This is a collaborative project between all teachers in the school’s geography department.

Technology for Arts and Culture competition

Mike Preston, Leicester City Council’s BSF Arts and Culture Strategy Lead, will be overseeing our first Technology for Arts and Culture award winning project. This funding is designed to support schools in developing and delivering staff and community development projects, activities and events that make innovative and effective use of technology while taking work in arts and culture forward.

iPad Orchestra

Ellen Croft (project lead) – Ash Field Academy

This project focuses on the use of musical apps and light systems to enable students with special educational needs to create a piece of music. The school will work with creative practitioners to design a scheme of work which will culminate in a performance of the piece developed by the students. Explorations will also be made into the use of visual representation of the music, to provide students with the opportunity to explore and create light sculptures.  The school will make use of the skills they develop during the project to provide other BSF SEN schools with free workshops in using the apps and light equipment purchased.


About Josie Fraser

UK-based Social and Educational Technologist, currently working for Leicester City Council (Local Government) as ICT Strategy Lead (Children's Capital). I support schools across the city in making effective and innovative use of technology to support learning, teaching and whole school development.
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