End of term roundup: media literacy, online safety and Bett awards

In last week’s blog post we mentioned some bigger picture considerations and context as schools plan for the next academic year, and we’ll revisit some of these themes in the autumn. But now, in this final week of term for many schools, and with some already closed,  it only seems right that the focus should be on the more immediate change of pace. We wish rest and relaxation for all, at least for a while, and it’s a chance for us at the CLC to reflect on our experiences of the past few months.

From robots to Scratch

We’ve been working quite intensively with schools this week and this month, running our final batch of schools workshops for the academic year and this has ranged from our physical presence in the classroom running our robot challenges, to mention one popular choice, where the value of hands-on physical experience, collaboration and opportunity for creativity and problem solving has been reaffirmed, to remote delivery of our Scratch and Scratch Jr coding challenges, successfully working with children as young as Y1 in partnership with their class teachers. This calls for a very specific blended approach that requires bite-sized presentation of learning and adapting to ongoing feedback about how the activities are proceeding, moment by moment. 

From the restricted vantage of the webcam perched on the teacher’s desk it’s been possible for us to see how some of the class has settled to the tasks, how well students are collaborating with each other, and use some check-ins such as hands up, thumbs up and partner talk. On the other hand, the audio element of the video calling is not designed for picking up children speaking at the back of the classroom so close collaboration with the teacher in the room has been vital. Seeing children come up to the camera near the end of the session to demonstrate by holding up their ipads what they have done through focussed application (sometimes in hot and sticky rooms) is a particular reward for us as presenters.

Meanwhile the flow of new initiatives and things that will have an impact on our ever-evolving programme of work with schools and for schools to consider themselves has not ceased.

DCMS Online media literacy strategy launch

Last week saw the launch of the DCMS Online media literacy strategy, which we broadly welcome, and which makes for interesting reading. Its scope is England and all ages, not just school-aged students. However, there is much that is relevant to the wider blended education environment, in the context of the online harms legislation, knowing who and what to trust online. This includes the ever present issue of misinformation and disinformation, and moves around safety by design, and the Age Appropriate Design Code with which companies in scope will have to comply from September. Commonly known as the Children’s Code, the latter sets out 15 standards of age appropriate design.

This National Literacy Trust blog from Fay Lant is really helpful in identifying some key points from the DCMS strategy for headteachers and schools to consider. We’ve been delighted to work with Fay as part of the News Literacy Network over the last three years, and more recently presenting and on the panel in the online National Literacy Trust conference Literacy by Stealth day 3.

Risky digital design

In the same domain with a clear online safety slant Revealing Reality has just published a report for 5Rights Foundation, How digital design puts children at risk. This will repay close reading for anyone involved with educating children and young people about the digital world and indeed through digital media, and as schools plan future blended and remote learning and online safety promotion they may wish to take account of which behaviours we want to promote in an educational context. We’ll look at some of the findings in more detail in a future blog.

Scratch conference

Returning to Scratch and its eminent suitability as a tool (safe by design) for teaching computer science and computational thinking in a face to face, blended as well as remote context the latest official international Scratch Conference took place virtually on Thursday 22 July afternoon and evening, not ideal timing for UK teachers. We plan to report on some of the highlights after the summer break.

Bett awards

There was a rare summer appearance for the Bett awards ceremony and, as proud finalists in the support and service to schools category (having won it the previous two years running), we are pleased to congratulate the winners, Plum Innovations.

And finally…

This year we directly or indirectly reached a staggering two million learners globally. Thank you to all the children, teachers and educators we’ve worked with this academic year, virtually and in person and in the UK, Europe and Jordan. All your efforts and achievements in the face of such adversity have been inspiring.

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Upcoming CPD

Maths and digital technology forum for primary teachers
Maths and digital technology forum for primary teachers

The maths forum provides an opportunity for maths subject leaders to share their expertise and investigate new opportunities for digital technologies to support maths teaching and learning in class and online at home. The forum combines discussion with colleagues about school-wide progress in mathematics, with hands-on activities led by a CLC teacher, demonstrating how technology can be used to support maths. Activities will include programming in Scratch 3, which offers a practical way to illustrate and explore key mathematical concepts such as shape, space, position and direction.

03/11/21,
09:30
- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...
Using technology to enhance assessment and feedback in primary schools
Using technology to enhance assessment and feedback in primary schools

Discover how digital technology can change the way we assess pupils’ work. We will demonstrate how teachers can use technology to monitor, evidence and respond to pupils’ progress in school and learning online remotely, and how pupils can use technology to present and reflect on their learning. We will outline a range of approaches to help assess and evidence learning across the curriculum.

16/11/21,
09:30
- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
25/11/21,
09:30
- 14:25
KS2

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum
21/02/22,
-
KS1

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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