My PhD study needs you…

Recruitment Flyer

Do you work in a Leicester school that caters to 11-16 year olds?

I am looking to work with school staff who engage with Secondary age learners, though the school itself may also cater to other age ranges (e.g. 4-19).

Do you work in a role that directly supports learning?

I am looking to work with senior leadership with a teaching role, teachers, classroom assistants, specialist provision and library staff.

Have you, at some point in your career, had an experience of professional learning that related to your use of technology?

Then please consider participating in my PhD research – which aims to investigate how current professional development strategies impact on the development of staff digital literacy.

What is digital literacy?

“Digital Literacy refers to the skills, attitudes and knowledge required by educators to support learning in a digitally-rich world.

To be digitally literate, educators must be able to utilise technology to enhance and transform classroom practices, and to enrich their own professional development and identity. The digitally literate educator will be able to think critically about why, how and when technology supplements learning and teaching.”

(Hall et al 2014)

 

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DigiLit Leicester: 2014 Survey Results

The DigiLit Leicester project is a two year collaboration between Leicester City Council, De Montfort University and 23 secondary and SEN schools. Leicester’s secondary schools collectively support approximately 20,270 learners each year, the majority of which are between 11 and 16 years old. The project focuses on supporting secondary school teaching and teaching support staff in developing their digital literacy knowledge, skills and practice, and their effective use of digital tools, environments and approaches in their work with learners.

In consultation with participating schools, a Digital Literacy Framework was developed, linking digital literacy with secondary school practice. An online survey was developed, linked to the framework, designed to support staff in reflecting on their use of technology to support teaching and learning, and to provide individual staff members, schools and the Council with information to inform future planning around professional development.

This year’s findings!

The survey was opened for a second time between March and May 2014, seeing an increase in engagement from schools. 701 members of staff completed the survey in 2014, or 39 per cent of all eligible staff, with 209 returning from 2013. The headlines for the 2014 survey findings are:

  • Fifty six per cent of staff across the city who participated in the survey classified their skills and confidence at the highest level – Pioneer – in one or more of the six key digital literacy areas.
  • Twenty three per cent of all those who participated in the survey placed themselves at Entry level in one or more of the six key areas.
  • Staff rate their skills and confidence highest in the area of E-Safety and Online Identity, with 43.5 per cent of respondents scoring at Pioneer level.
  • Staff feel least confident in the area of Communication, Collaboration and Participation, with 9 per cent of staff rating themselves as Entry level and 38.7 per cent falling within the lower levels of the framework (at either Entry or Core level).
  • In Creating and Sharing , 42.1 per cent of staff rated their skills and confidence in the lower levels of the framework (Entry and Core levels).
  • Analysis comparing the survey data from 2013 and 2014 shows that a statistically significant change in staff confidence has occurred, with 21 per cent of participants noting an increase in their skills and confidence. Levels achieved increased in five of the six key areas (excluding E-Safety and Online Identity where levels were already high).

You can find out more by downloading a copy of the report here:

DigiLit Leicester 2014 Survey Report (Word)

DigiLit Leicester 2014 Survey Report (PDF)

Recommendations

Share and promote Pioneer practice

1. Ensure that the work being done by city Pioneers is promoted and shared more widely. Promote and support the use of open licences to enable wider discovery, use and reuse of educational resources produced by city staff.

2. Provide encouragement, opportunity and recognition to Pioneers who support Entry level colleagues.

Supporting entry-level staff

3. Provide supported opportunities and resources specifically designed for and accessible to Entry level staff, particularly in relation to Assessment and Feedback andCommunication, Collaboration and Participation.

Supporting self-directed staff development

4. Continue to provide support for self-directed staff development projects and activities. This approach is supported by the research literature, which has shown that professional development programmes that support staff in focusing on developing their own knowledge ‘are most likely to lead to transformative change’ (Fraser et al. 2007, p.167).

Encouraging contextual e-safety guidance

5. Continue to support work which supports schools in expanding the safe and effective use of social and collaborative technologies.

Increasing knowledge and use of Open Educational Resources (OERs)

6. Complete work on the project’s current Open Education schools project, and evaluate the benefit of continued focus on and additional work in this area.

Infographic

To celebrate the release of the 2014 Survey Results, the DigiLit Leicester team worked with Infogr8 in order to create a simple and easy to read visual representation of the 2014 Headline data.

Leicester Gov

Further information and resources to support staff and schools in all framework strand areas can be found at: www.digilitleic.com under ‘Digital Literacy Resources’

DigiLit Leicester: Project Activities Report

 

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The DigiLit Leicester project is a two year collaboration between Leicester City Council, De Montfort University and 23 of the city’s secondary schools. The project focuses on supporting secondary school teaching and teaching support staff in developing their digital literacy knowledge, skills and practice, and their effective use of digital tools, environments and approaches in their work with learners.

Using recommendations generated from the 2013 Survey Results, a wide range of activities, projects and events have taken place across the city – designed to support and develop staff confidence in the use of technology to support learning. In keeping with the project team’s commitment both to working in partnership with schools, and to supporting access to opportunity as widely as possible, we organised activities in two key ways:

DigiLit Leicester team managed activities

Centrally supported activities provided opportunities across all schools, allowing individual staff members to participate. Activities were either promoted openly to all BSF school staff members, or targeted at specific groups – either to staff role (for example, school leadership) or to survey area or area and level (for example, entry level staff in Technology supported Professional Development). The majority of activities took place within BSF Programme schools, allowing colleagues from across the city to visit other – often newly built – teaching spaces, and increasing accessibility for staff working at the host school.

This category includes our digital literacy focused TeachMeet, our e-Safety Pioneers Event and our Autism and Online Safety project – a collaboration between Childnet International and three of our SEN schools.

School led activities

These projects were supported through calls that were open to individuals and schools. Individual projects were designed to support members of staff in carrying out small scale projects which help them to take their practice forward in one or more of the DigiLit Framework strands. School level projects may have been led by an individual or team of staff, e.g. a department, and focused on developing practice across the school in one or more of the DigiLit Framework strands.

This category of activities includes projects such as Hamilton Community College’s Siyabonga project, which involved learners collaborating via Skype on a live concert with children from South Africa and The City of Leicester College’s Bring Your Own Device trial, the first of its kind in the city, using iPad minis with a Y8 tutor group.

To date, we have carried out six projects centrally and supported 21 school based projects. We’ve rounded up all of the DigiLit Leicester project activities, and provided links to further information and related resources. These can be downloaded here. The short version provides brief summaries of all of the projects – the longer version provides more detail.

DigiLit Leicester: Project Activities Report – May 2014                (PDF) (Word)

DigiLit Leicester: Project Activities Short Report – May 2014     (PDF) (Word)

Next Steps

Feedback from schools has been very positive in relation to all of the approaches taken to support staff development this year. However, several issues have emerged that will be taken in to account for planning for the next year:

  • Staff ambition relating to project opportunities is high and this has sometimes resulted in over commitment to project activity and outputs. The team have worked with some school staff to help reduce project scope in order to better focus on the quality of their outputs and the manageability of their project schedules.
  • Schools often need or would welcome additional support in the production of outputs, particularly relating to framing projects in research terms and having capacity to provide very high quality outputs.
  • Pressures on staff time remains one of the key reasons staff cannot engage with opportunities and activities. The flexible approach taken to by the project team, supporting a range of ways that staff can engage with project opportunities, has helped address this to some extent.
  • Significant activities relating to the project focus have taken place across the schools. Communications relating to work not directly carried out or supported by the project team have, however, been limited. This is an area that needs improving.

The approach taken for the Autism and Online Safety project recognised issues relating to capacity and the schools’ need for external support for larger projects – particularly in relation to brokering external partnerships and connecting projects to external expertise and organisations. It allowed us to trial a hybridised approach to support for staff development. The DigiLit team took responsibility for preparing the project scope in consultation with the schools who proposed the project, and managing the appointment process through public tender. This approach has proven to be very effective, and we will be looking to implement and manage further projects in this way.

The 2014 DigiLit Leicester survey was open between 17 March and 16 May 2014. Once collected and analysed, these data will be used to review current recommendations and their related action priorities, in the context of this year’s successes and identified issues.