Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Digital Leaders Progress

Hi I'm Mr Stone and I have been working with and mentoring the Digital Leaders at Cefn Fforest Primary. The Digital Leaders have been in place for near enough a full term now and the progress they have made has been fantastic!

We started off by concentrating on creating photo slide shows and videos for the school Moodle website. We used the Animoto app which meant that the DL's could create their sideshow and upload it instantly to the Animoto website. From there we could get the embed code we needed to embed the sideshow into out website. The whole process can be done in less than 5 minutes hence reaping instant rewards. 

The next step for the DL's was to create a blog site and an Audioboo page. The blog page, which you are currently on, enables the DL's to blog about their ideas, write app reviews and give general news about school and what they've been up. Their Audioboo page ( an audio version of their blog page but with the ability for the DL's to deliver interviews about the matters they feel most important within the school.  Both have been a huge success so far with the DL's making them their own. Both sites are managed by the DL's and all of the content are their own ideas and own work. Already on the Audioboo page are interviews with pupils, staff and each other. Their latest piece, an interview about their visit to Techniquest, has had particularly good feedback with many comments and retweets on Twitter by those not involved with the school. 

In order to develop their role, the DL's have started to act as TA's once a week in infant classrooms helping with the use of iPads. Also, the DL's have started mentoring 'Apprentices' from classes lower down in the school, passing on the knowledge and skills that they themselves have acquired. The training the DL's receive is shared with the Apprentices. As a result, every class within KS2 has their own 'IT experts' to help their peers wherever possible. The aim of having Apprentices is for them to be the 'go to' people within their classroom so that the teacher is free to focus on the main teaching element within their lesson. Ultimately, the aim is to have approximately 6 Apprentices within each classroom so that the workload is shared and each Apprentice does not miss out on their own learning. This will mean each DL will eventually mentor around 3 Apprentices as opposed to the solitary Apprentice they mentor at the moment. 

Going forward, the aim is to give the Digital Leaders more responsibilities and give them the opportunity to have more influence on developing IT within the school. During the summer Term, the DL's will begin to get involved in staff meetings to train the staff on the use of the iPads and certain apps, giving the staff a greater confidence in using the iPads for a wider range of activities and purposes within their lessons. They have also identified that they would like to set up and run an IT club based on the use of the iPads as well as deliver assemblies on important issues such as e-safety. As a group, we aim build strong links with other schools and other groups of Digital Leaders. We are looking to share our practice with other schools by hosting Digital Leader visits and by visiting other schools to see how they incorporate the use of IT. The DL's have identified the use of Skype, email and Twitter as a way of sharing ideas and feel regular communication will be important in creating strong links. The links that we create will be extremely helpful in building on the work the children have already done and will ensure Cefn Fforest Primary will continue to build and grow.  

The Digital Leaders have worked superbly so far, taking to their roles like the proverbial ducks to water. I am extremely excited about this coming term and hope the DL's are looking forward to it too.  Well done Digital Leaders and keep up the great work!!

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