London CLC podcast episode 6: what makes a critical learner in the digital age?

Presented by:

Julia Lawrence (Host)
Sarah Horrocks, co-director, London Connected Learning Centre
Peter Lillington, teaching and learning consultant, London Connected Learning Centre
Caitlin McMillan, teaching and learning consultant, London Connected Learning Centre

Show notes

What’s a critical learner? What are the skills children and young people need to develop in order to question and safely engage with information they come across online? How can educators support them to develop these critical skills?

In this podcast experts from the award-winning London Connected Learning Centre look at the latest research to explore what’s different about criticality when it comes to digital, discuss the tools educators need to feel confident teaching information and media literacy in a digital sphere, and share how to help children to become more aware of the collection and monetisation of their data – all the while taking care not to raise the level of mistrust and disengagement in our current age of information crisis!

It’s a fine line to tread but in the podcast we hear about specific activities teachers can do with children of all ages to help them to understand how web pages are produced, how photos and videos can be manipulated and how easy it is for anyone to put anything online – and that with publication come responsibilities. The take away message of the activity is that people exist behind the web pages we browse. For every piece of text we read and every image that we see, someone has made a decision about putting it there and so, inevitably, there are choices, biases and personal opinions involved that need to be recognised.

The podcast draws on the acclaimed talk the London CLC team gave in the main arena of the Bett Show earlier this year, as well as the work of the News Literacy Network, of which London CLC is a member. The News Literacy Network brings together research organisations and those on the ground, such as educators and journalists, in a shared mission to empower and equip news consumers of all ages with the critical skills they need in the digital age.

Find links to all the resources and organisations covered in the podcast in the show notes below.

Links to resources mentioned in the podcast

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions. 

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

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

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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