Leadership, Community and Innovation
It is essential that members of the wider community have a strong voice in the development of the Centre and its services. All members of the community will have the opportunity to develop their capacity to lead and inspire within the realms of digital.
Pupil Digital Leaders have now been recruited and are working on various aspects of the Centre. The group have created a video to raise the profile of the Centre for the school community. Eight staff Digital Leaders have volunteered and they will work on the digital literacy curriculum as well as develop pedagogy.
All school staff and local partners have been updated on the progress of the Centre during an in-service session in University of Edinburgh. There will ongoing opportunities through further collaborative sessions, face to face and through social media, to share thoughts and ideas on the goals on the Centre. Teachers and faculties are using these opportunities to develop and plan their own contributions to the digital centre in the next session.
The Centre will achieve its goals through investing in its learners, quality career long professional learning for staff and technical support that is appropriate for the enhance technological learning environment. To minimise the impact on Council budgets, the Centre will look to develop Enterprise as a means of long term sustainability and for future growth as a digital hub.
The Midlothian Digital Learning Team is offering enhanced support to the school and has moved into the new Centre to provide adhoc support to learners and teachers. Moray House, University of Edinburgh are delivering a range of opportunities to enhance teachers’ knowledge and skills of digital in learning. Education Scotland will provide enhanced support to learners and teachers during this and next session. Microsoft has delivered an innovation day to pupils and staff and arrangements are progressing with Apple and Google to also deliver opportunities for staff and pupils.
Work has begun on the development of an in-house Digital Learning Team, comprising of pupils, staff, parents/carers, technical support staff and apprentices. It will be responsible for the leadership of the transition towards digital and support for people and technology. The work of this team will be supported by a range of other services across Midlothian and beyond and will include academic and industry experts from partner organisations.
Working with a range of partners the Centre will research the use of digital technologies in learning, seeking to identify and develop innovative ways of improving learning and teaching in school and beyond.
Work has begun internally and with Professors Judy Robertson and Do Coyle, Moray House, University of Edinburgh on researching the pedagogy surrounding virtually connected classrooms. The project aims to create shared learning spaces through the innovative use of digital technology. The project will focus on what grows out of collaborative learning and how it can be used to connect communities of learning. The role of learners and teachers will be explored and the project will build a network of learners and professionals creating an environment for shared learning and provide a learning opportunity for student teachers through Moray House.
The research may well have an impact on:
- Transition within learning communities
- Teaching across establishments
- Addressing the teacher shortage in some subject areas
- Supporting student teachers
- Collaborative working between groups of students
Another project is currently being worked up entitled “Everyone Makes a School.” The aim is to introduce pupils to data science and coding and will be one of the first tangible and visible projects to emerge from the Centre. This is the opportunity for pupils to explore a unique area of digital skills and data science.
Pupils will design an interactive environment that gathers data about their feelings in the school environment. The data will be processed by algorithms designed by the pupils and the output will be an effect in the visible world such as lighting, music, bubble machine or an informatic. Pupils will work collaboratively with Newbattle and University of Edinburgh staff.
The Centre will also develop expertise in a wide range of learning technology and its application to learning and teaching. The technical staff in the Digital Learning Team will work in the classroom in close collaboration with academic staff, developing models that can be shared across Midlothian and beyond.
Gib McMillan, the Headteacher has engaged with a wide range of partners looking at how collaborative working can enhance the curriculum, learner journeys and contribute to innovative projects. Detailed agreements will be fleshed out in the coming months. A key aspect of this partnership will be to develop a Business Hub where business, community and education can work alongside each other within the school.
Links have been made with the Library Service, Lifelong Learning and Strategic Services to begin collaborative working over services to the wider community and small businesses.
The school is also working with a range of partners in Midlothian council on the Digital Towns project.
A PHD student from University of Edinburgh has worked with the Science department for three months from on a project entitled Explorable Explanations. This will create innovative web based digital resources to support learning.
Two research project await further technical work before these can begin. A room set up with collaborative pods will examine how groups can work independently then share their work by casting content onto large display screens. Another project will make used of the Promethean Connect devices installed with each interactive LCD screen. These are capable of a range of technologies including casting, running curricular apps and video conferencing.