Developing Digital Competency


Today I worked with the Year 1 students on the BA Primary Studies course.  They are due to go out on their first teaching placement and we took the opportunity to give them some additional training around the use of technology in the classroom.

I am a firm believer that technology should always be used for the single purpose of developing learning and teaching and today I demonstrated some applications to the students to support just that.

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First of all we looked at Seesaw.  this has long been a favoured app of mine as it offers so much to the learner and the teacher.

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I introduced the app in my usual way by getting the students to take the role of the learners they would have in the class.  I recalled a learning session that they had recently had on knowledge and understanding of the world where they had been on a learning walk and then returned to make 3d models of the walk, creating a map.

My task to the students was to access the drawing part of Seesaw and to draw the map.  This was nothing new to them and could have been completed on paper with pencils, the part that started to show the students the benefit of the app was the fact that they could also record their voice, this gave an extra dimension to the work and captured the thought process and also offered up ways to develop speaking skills at the same time.

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The next development that made this process stand out was the fact that in a couple of taps they could share the work to me, tag themselves in the work, all to be stored neatly on my iPad, from where I was able to simply show off their work and engage the class in feedback, both from myself and peer assessment from the class.

We then took a look at how easy it was to offer up feedback back to the students.  You can either leave a written comment under the work or, and for me more importantly, you can leave verbal feedback.

In just a 20 minute showing the students had already discovered for themselves the impact this could have on the learning process.  The ability to share, document, store and give feedback all  through one application, made the learning process deeper.  Students were able to see that they could assess so much more than just a picture by allowing the students to actually discuss their work and communicate their thought process.

The Early Years Foundation Phase in Wales states that learner profiles should be kept on children

Learner profile

A learner profile can be defined as: all available evidence from an individual learner that demonstrates their understanding and independent use of skills across a range of contexts. This can include:

  • the learner’s work
  • tablet recordings (including those made by the learner)
  • observation notes
  • reading records
  • videos
  • annotated photographs
  • evidence recorded on software packages
  • assessment data.
    Marking should provide contextual information, such as the amount of support given or resources used, to enable someone other than just the class teacher to make a secure judgement of the learner’s outcome/level.

Statutory assessment arrangements for the Foundation Phase and end of Key Stages 2 and 3. (November 2015)

You can see that Seesaw lends itself ideally to this.  Alongside the ability to draw images you can also take pictures, video, add notes and links to work that may be stored in other places.  All of the work can then be tagged into different folders which makes it simple to organise and therefore track progress.

The other added benefit here is the ability to then share this work beyond the teacher.  We didn’t have time to go into this in detail but you can share work home through the Parent app.  Parents get access to their own child’s work and get updated pieces of work when the teacher authorises it.  You can also create a blog based on the work and share specific pieces of work out to the internet for a wider audience.  Again the teacher has full control over what gets shared.

The next app we looked at was Book Creator.

I shared an example that I had quickly put together that looked at how you could use the app to document the progress in a particular topic.  I continued oin the knowledge and understanding route and had images of work that had been made but then added in a voiceover to support the work, giving more information about why I had done the work and how I felt about it, The next page then showed a different piece of work with a video embedded.  Students were able to see how the book could be developed and that students would end up with a great document of their learning taht they could share home.  We discussed the idea of actually publishing students work to create student authors as a way of encouraging them to want to write more.  It was clear to see that by giving an audience to children they would want to really show off their vest work.

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Similar to above it is also a great way to create a Learner profile and the students started to discuss the ease of use and the interactive and multimedia approach to generating the evidence.

Its clear to see that these students are excited by the changes coming into Wales and can really see how the Digital Competency will underpin and support other areas of learning.

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