Member News | 16.05.2017
Next week is National Digital Learning week: five days focused on the positive impact of digital in classrooms across Scotland – that #DigitalDifference changing the experience of learning.
You can see this in Middleton Park School in Aberdeen. The school uses digital as a core theme in its curriculum and each week young people make videos about their learning and share them on their Vimeo channel.
Creativity is at the heart of this digital experience and the school has been rightly recognised with several national awards.
Northfield Academy, like many schools in Scotland, is using digital tools to share, collaborate and manage learning.
You can see that #DigitalDifference in the confidence of the young people as they navigate Google Classroom and other G:Suite tools as part of their learning.
In a recent visit I spoke with young people in the school who said they wanted all their teachers to use Google Classroom.
Why? Because all their resources for learning, their assignments/homework would all be in the same digital space, giving them the reassurance that they had all their resources in a digital format, accessible from any device.
These young people also raised the issue of equity – although many of our learners have access to digital hardware and the internet at home, not all do.
We have a challenge to ensure that every young person is included in our digital future. OECD research indicates that where we provide access to IT in our schools, digital skills increase but there isn’t necessarily a significant impact on young people's attainment.
It is when that technology can also be accessed at home that we see the benefits in the attainment of our young people.
Low cost 1-2-1 devices, such as Chromebooks, are the pen and paper for the 21st century – our challenge is to provide this to all our young people. That will make a truly #DigitalDifference.
Too many of our children spend far too much time consuming digital media. We need a society of creators and not consumers – the creative coders for the future.
Which brings me to another digital innovator in Aberdeen: Stoneywood School and their marvellous Code Club, part of a national initiative to make coding accessible to young people and foster the creative digital skills we need to shape the economy of tomorrow.
This club, operated by technology enthusiast Eilidh McKay is over-subscribed with a waiting list of young people hoping for a place.
Each week they meet to take on a new coding challenge from the curriculum developed by CodeClub: building games, digital drum kits and much more. The club is inspiring young people to consider careers in the digital industries, and most importantly, it’s fun.
Young people are at the heart of our drive for digital transformation across all aspects of learning. We don’t know what the jobs of the future will be, but we do know that we need digital leaders with a wide range of skills to do them.
Our digital learning must be accessible, inclusive and equitable, able to establish the culture of digital learning as well as the activity.
National Digital Learning week offers a brief window into our schools and their work with digital technology, but the #DigitalDifference is much more than a hashtag.
How we inspire, support and prepare our young people for our nation’s digital future is the real #DigitalDifference that we can all make.
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