Digital Leaders

Creating Yearbook Pages with Canva

Simple to use with amazing results. This is what I love about Canva! This web based graphic design tool allows you to easily use templates and frames to create appealing creative content. There are a wide variety of template sizes from A4 pages to sizes perfect for your social media page.

With its drag and drop features it is so easy to add content to your page. Upload some pics, drag and drop them in a frame and voilà! You have a masterpiece!

Last year was our first time creating a school yearbook. Many teachers did not know where to start. Once I showed them how easy it is to create with Canva, they were hooked! I’m looking forward to seeing more creations this year.

Our Digital Leaders yearbook pages from 2016

Good Practice, Online Safety

Safer Internet Day 2017

Each year I always look forward to the release of Safer Internet Day resources from the UK Safer Internet Center. For this annual event they provide activities to engage the students and promote discussions about online safety. This year the theme was:

Be the change: Unite for a better internet!

Our students and teachers loved taking pictures in our photo booth to convey different online safety messages. See some examples below:

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School Radio

Developing a school radio station

They say ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and now I really feel the impact of those words. Developing Dwight Radio has been a long and rewarding journey; many hours were sacrificed but so many inspiring moments were gained. Seeing the enthusiasm and delight of the students as they walk into the radio booth never grows old.

I’ll never forget the moment when a child with very little English decided to follow his classmates up to the radio booth, just to see what all the fuss was about. He had no initial intentions of speaking but as the session progressed, we slowly encouraged him to join in. First he put on headphones to hear the others speak. Then we showed him how to control the mic faders. Before we knew it, he was recording himself on the radio! With pride and certainty, he introduced himself and his friends. I’m trying not to sound corny but it really was one of those moments that melted your heart.

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Our school radio journey started over 12 months ago when we purchased radio equipment from School Radio. This company provides ongoing support which has been wonderful for those moments when I have forgotten how to customise a certain feature or simply when I needed advice. Available on their website are teaching resources which focus on using the radio to support the curriculum. This was a big selling point for us as we wanted a radio station to showcase learning.

Once our radio booth was set up, it came time to play. After receiving training, many hours were spent familiarising myself with the features and planning how to organise radio content. Thankfully before purchasing the equipment, my Headteacher and I had visited Anson Primary School who have a well established and successful school radio station. They had given us advice on how to organise and develop a system of recording and curating radio content. With that advice in mind, I took time to plan this before training the masses.

To allow the most efficient use of the radio station, I began by training our Learning Support Assistants (LSAs). Their role is to support students which gives them a bit more flexibility when it comes to leaving the classroom. Whilst the teacher works with most of the class, LSAs are able to take small groups of children out to the radio booth.

My student Digital Leaders also became important ambassadors for promoting the radio. They quickly picked up the skills to use the radio independently and planned ways that we could encourage others to join in the fun.  They have recorded promotional videos for assemblies, created online safety messages and recorded stories for younger students.

After enough people were using the radio, we began creating termly radio shows. These shows included content from Kindergarten to Year 6 and showcased a range of creativity and learning. Check out our Dwight Radio page for our Autumn radio show.

We are now about to embark on weekly radio shows to further promote the radio. With the support of the Lower School ICT Committee we have planned ways to encourage involvement across the school with regular segments assigned to different areas and other exciting initiatives. Stay tuned to read more about our Dwight Radio updates.

Digital Leaders, Uncategorized

Coding Week

Coding week in the Lower School was a big success! The purpose of this week was to spark an interest in computer programming across the school. To kick off the celebrations our student Digital Leaders ran an assembly to spread the excitement. One of our Digital Leaders dressed up as a robot and his peers created an algorithm for him to follow. Two competitions were also launched for Lower and Upper Primary. Students had to use problem solving skills to identify what would happen when the algorithms were run.

Throughout the week, each class completed an Hour of Code. Students were introduced to key coding terminology such as algorithm (step by step instructions to solve a problem) and debug (find and fix mistakes in a computer program).  As they wrote, ran and debugged algorithms, students were encouraged to use the computing vocabulary with their peers. It was wonderful to hear some of our youngest students talk about how computers work.

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Practicing coding is an excellent opportunity for students to work collaboratively and use problem solving skills. When students were paired together on a device, we found that rich discussion followed as they shared strategies and clarified steps whilst adding them to the algorithm. Students also developed their spatial awareness skills as they determined which way they should turn their character to reach the target.

Overall it was a successful week and feedback from staff and students was positive. We look forward to including more coding into the curriculum and exploring more resources.

Digital Leaders

Digital Leaders

This year we introduced an exciting new opportunity for students in Year 5 and 6 to become Digital Leaders. These students are passionate about IT and applied to be a part of this exciting lunch time club.

The club meets every Tuesday and students have the opportunity to experiment with new technologies and tools, develop skills to teach others and help improve IT at our school.

In the first week of our club, the students worked together to complete a SWOT analysis of how IT is used in our school. They considered the Strengths, Weakness’, Opportunities and Threats and the impact they have on our school. The discussion was very rich and our young leaders had valuable insights into the direction they would like their learning to take. Interestingly the students identified that there needs to be a balance of IT use within school. The children were aware that prolonged screen time can have a negative impact on their daily lives.

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One area that the students felt passionately about was learning to code. The students agreed that they would like to see an increase in the teaching of coding at school. In response to their discussions, we decided that participating in Hour of Code would be a great way to kick start the enthusiasm for coding across the Lower School. In the following weeks, the Digital Leaders took action and split into teams to research resources for an Hour of Code week. The students put themselves in the shoes of different aged students and reflected on which resources would be suitable for each year group.

The Digital Leaders and teachers are looking forward to an exciting Hour of Code week early in the new year!