Improving Digital Literacy at Babington Community College

Having trialled iPads within the school, Babington are now turning their investigations towards web-based services and tools in order to support a cross-platform approach – through a BSF ICT Innovation Award. Martin Corbishley, the school’s Computing Subject Leader, aims to raise awareness of the services available through the delivery of a set of 8 workshops for school staff. These workshops will cover a range of topics and resources created will be shared openly.

Here Martin provides an update on the project:

Introduction

This project has consisted of a series of CPD sessions with an aim to improving digital literacy across the College.  Staff were invited to take part and twenty were selected from different faculties.  Each member of staff taking part in the course was provided with a Google Nexus 10 to allow them to access and create a variety of online resources.  The reason for providing staff with an Android device was to illustrate how online resources are available on any device and can be delivered across different platforms, this is intended to improve the use of iPads we already have in school, make use of the increased availability of technology in the new school and also have a view to BYOD in the future.

Training

The main focus for the sessions has been assessment and feedback, as well as collaboration. This was influenced by our school data report from the 2013 DigiLit Leicester Survey, which identified these as key areas for further support.

The sessions for the course have been:

  • Using Socrative
  • Creating a Google form
  • Online collaboration tools
  • Creating an online community for your subject
  • Using Edmodo to create a virtual classroom
  • Using wikis in the curriculum
  • Cloud based computing
  • Sharing good practice

The sessions have been a mixture of school-based and online sessions with staff asked to contribute to a wiki with feedback on how they have found using the various tools in their lessons.

Staff Response/Feedback

Twenty staff have been involved in the project and are now ‘Digital Champions’  they are encouraged to share the things they are learning on this course with the rest of their faculty and promote digital literacy across the College.  Some staff have dropped out during the course as they felt they could not commit to the expectations required for participation and have been replaced by other staff who have shown interest in taking part.

Staff response to the sessions has been very enthusiastic with many now regularly using online tools in lessons that they were previously unaware of.  Edmodo is now being used across the College and teachers are using ipads and computer rooms to allow students to collaborate with padlet boards and google documents amongst other things.  Staff are also using Socrative and Google forms to assess students and provide feedback.  Below are a selction of comments from the wiki that have been posted after sessions.

“I like the pirate pad page. Could be great for creating collaborative script writing and other things. I will give them a go.”  Performing Arts Teacher

“these are great tools for collaboration.” Business Studies Teacher

“Really interesting manner to share ideas with students and receive feedback in real time” Music Teacher

“Love these online collaboration tools! I think that they will be incredibly useful and I look forward to using them. The fact that we can then generate things like wordles makes me really excited about discussions in lessons. “  English Teacher

Most of the staff involved have contributed to the wiki but not everyone and not all the time.  As staff start to feel more confident with the process of using a wiki the collaboration will hopefully increase.  After the course has finished the wiki will be left open and the Digital Champions will be encouraged to continue to use it as a forum to collaborate and share ideas.  The URL will also be shared with staff across the College to allow them to see the tools we have been using and try them out for themselves.

Reflection

I feel the course has gone really well.  Staff are now comfortably using terms like; ‘collaborate’, ‘wiki’, ‘cloud’ etc that only a term ago they were unfamiliar with.  Allowing staff a chance to see what tools are freely available online has been beneficial to lots of people and staff are moving away from using the tablets, laptops and PCs in school for just surfing the Internet.  Delivering these sessions has made me realise how much people need this training and how responsive they are to the possibilities of using web 2.0 technologies in the classroom.  I feel this training would be beneficial to all staff in the College and this may be something I look into going forward.

Next steps

Once the two remaining sessions have been completed staff will be asked to complete an online questionnaire to feedback their thoughts on the course and how it has benefitted them in the classroom.  The wiki will stay open and the Digital Champions will be encouraged to continue developing their digital literacy and continue to collaborate and share ideas.

You can view the course here: http://babingtondigitalliteracy.pbworks.com

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