TITLE OF DEVELOPING PRACTICE EXAMPLE
West Lothian Digital Approach
West Lothian Digital Approach
Moving our schools to the digital world has been a challenging and disruptive experience, it has invigorated some, whilst challenging others. We have strived to meet the needs of our young people and as an authority we have broadly met the challenges presented.
The steps we have taken demonstrate the clear capability that already exists within our schools to adapt and innovate. It is, with this in mind, that we are providing guidance on the approaches that have amplified the learning experience and has led to positive outcomes. It is essential that we continue innovating, developing capability, and providing the levels of support and challenge that our young people have come to expect.
Our approach focuses on the following:
CLPL: Staff and Pupils
Staff capability has improved since we entered lockdown and with that came a need to understand staff confidence and skill with the glow environment and O365 tools. The previous offerings of CLPL have now evolved to reflect the capability with a model of targeted support now delivered via the WLC courses for pupils and learners. The community support model being utilised in the DigiKen MS team is one of the most effective models of support for educators, with quicker response times and a real sense of collaboration between educators across all establishments being demonstrated. This process was implemented and developed from clear communication and a needs-based analysis, provided by the profession, enabled us to identify and support the continued expansion and development of our Learning, Teaching and Assessment approaches.
This was not only limited to staff. Pupils also had access to courses that would reflect the core programmes utilised in WLC secondary schools. These courses enabled the building of skills in learners, consistently across WLC and gave staff the kind of support needed to prevent this becoming a barrier.
Parents were also supported, extensively in a direct approach from the secondary schools, with guidance on consistent and core messages needing to be shared so parents could support learners to access their learning anytime, anywhere. One example of this was from Inveralmond Community High School, who regularly updated parents through the use of sway (link shared). This quick and easy approach was both engaging for the user but supported a range of media rich processes that ensured accurate information was delivered and families could manage the process themselves.
West Lothian Academy (WLA)
The WLA has been a central strand of our digital approach now for 5 years and has continued to grow year on year during that time. With over 21 courses, 40 plus staff and over 150 learners, this year, the WLA accounts for over 20% of all the L7 learning now taking place in our secondary schools.
The growth and strength of the Academy has been impressive and because it follows an asynchronous model also provides the flexibility that learners, teachers and timetablers need to access learning that is not always available in their own school, within the traditional 50 min box.
In order to support the range of needs in our learning community the WLA is now providing SCQF short courses, built on OneNote, that all learners and schools can access at any stage of the year, for any group of learners. This model is also driving our approach to the use of OneNote to bring together all the media that goes into delivering a learning experience into one digital course, easily distributable and shareable.
Learning, teaching and assessment
To ensure the focus was completely on Learning, Teaching and Assessment, we had to take some significant steps:
1. All learners, in all classes must have access to a Microsoft Team, linked to that class, with no other programme used.
2. All school servers must be switched off and OneDrive becomes the storage programme for all.
3. All material shared must be done in a way that learners can at least access the immersive reader, change the background colour, translation tool and dictation tool for all learning experiences.
To ensure consistency we produced guidance for Senior Leaders, Middle Leaders and Teachers that helps the development of the analytical eye, brings a focus on the approaches that work best as a position for teachers' confidence to grow from and provided a position for us to both engage with schools and measure their own progress.
It is from this position that we could support learners, effectively, to make use of the support tools built into O365 to support themselves now and into their lives beyond school. This approach is not only relevant for learning but has been successfully applied to assessments as well because learners and staff now see as an integrated part of the learning and assessment process and not an addition. Click link below to view advice and guidance that has been shared with pupils and click here for staff.
Further to the approaches we utilise in WLC we have also worked closely with our National Partners to ensure that all of our learners had access to an Easter School Provision both online via the National E-Sgoil offer and in smaller targeted groups within schools that had been identified by middle leaders and class teachers. Utilising this model allowed us to support a broader spectrum of learners. Such is the confidence of West Lothian Learners, that they signed up in record numbers and lead the way nationally for accessing this resource and indirectly reflecting the confidence our year-on-year approach to online learning has given them the confidence to access learning opportunities in this way in this manner.
Further to this, our approach to evaluation and support identified the following key strengths from our learners and their families.