Keyham Lodge & Millgate School e-Safety Project – Staff, Parents & Carers

Keyham Lodge and Millgate School are currently working together on an ambitious project which will establish the school federation as a national e-safety centre of excellence for schools that support learners with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH). The project aims to increase student, staff and parental awareness. The project will create and share a range of high quality cross-curricular resources that can be used to support SEMD learners. A bespoke training package for staff and learners is being created with the help of experts, specifically focusing on e-safety in relation to mobile technologies. An e-safety questionnaire is also being designed to find out what pupils, parents, carers and staff know, and identify areas where more support may be needed. Survey findings will inform the direction of the project and the resources created. You can read the initial project post as well as the results of the student survey.

Project lead Darren John (Learning Technology Lead for the two schools) updates on the findings so far from the project e-safety survey:

Keyham Lodge and Millgate are federated schools supporting children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. We deal with some of the most vulnerable children in Leicester City and see e-safety as a vital educational area for keeping them safe.

We teamed up with James Diamond to produce e-safety materials for SEMH because of his role as Safeguarding Officer for Leicester City Council, as well as his interest in e-safety and the recognised contacts he has made in this field, including Ken Corish and Professor Andy Phippen of South West Grid for Learning (who agreed to provide advice on the student survey). James is currently employed as the Leader of Digital Learning at Abbotsholme School in Staffordshire, but continues to provide online safety guidance to schools and organisations.

Producing the initial questionnaires to give to stakeholders

Before creating materials, we decided to ask pupils, staff and parents to complete a confidential online survey in order to get a clear idea as to how they perceive online safety. All pupils were given the opportunity to fill in the questionnaire, from Year 5 – 11, with a c.60% return rate. The report from pupils is documented here. This post looks at the survey results from staff, parents and carers.

We used the pupil survey as a starting point, which was devised by Andy Phippen at the University of Plymouth but then further developed.The survey was designed to elicit honest opinions from parents and staff, to gather as true a reflection as possible about their online experiences and how they translate those into helping the young people they are responsible for.

Once implemented, the questionnaires went out to all parents, carers and teachers on SurveyMonkey. The results were then reviewed in meetings between James Diamond and myself, and the findings, along with the pupil results, have been used to design the programme of training now being produced.

The survey & its results – Parents & Carers

Across both schools, there are 151 pupils on roll. 90 at Keyham (78 boys, 12 girls), 61 at Millgate (all boys). Very few parents and carers responded – 16 in total. The questions are listed below:

  1. Which school does your child go to?
  2. What Year group is your child in?
  3. How old are you? (select from age ranges)
  4. Which of the following devices do you have in your house? (tick as many as apply)
  • Mobile/smart phone/other mobile device eg iPod touch
  • Laptop/netbook
  • Tablet (eg iPad)
  • Home gaming devices eg Xbox360, Wii, Playstation etc.
  • Mobile gaming devices, PSP, Nintendo DS, etc.
  • Desktop computer
  • Television
  • Other (please specify)

5. From the list above (Q4), which device do you primarily use?

6. How much time do you spend online on an average day? (circle the answer)

  • Less than an hour
  • One to three hours
  • Between 3 and 6 hours
  • More than 6 hours

7. How much time do your children spend online on an average evening? (circle the answer)

  • Less than an hour
  • One to three hours
  • Between 3 and 6 hours
  • More than 6 hours

8. What do you use the internet for? (circle the answer)

  • Social networks, eg Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat
  • Instant messaging, e.g. Whatsapp, BBM, Skype.
  • Gaming
  • Shopping
  • News
  • Browsing/general entertainment
  • Listening to music
  • Uploading/content creation e.g. YouTube
  • Other (please specify)
  1. If you use social networks to talk to your friends, please list the ones you use regularly
  2. Do you know how to protect your digital life online? (yes, no, don’t know)
  3. If you play video games, do you play online?
  4. If you play video games, please list the ones you play regularly
  5. If you do use the internet to download music/films/software, do you do this legally? (yes, no, don’t know)
  6. Do you know if your children illegally download Music, Movies or Software? (yes, no, don’t know)
  7. Have your children ever seen/told you that they’ve seen something online that has made them feel upset? (yes,no)
  8. If yes, would you like to explain what this was?
  9. Have your children ever received nasty comments/content online? (yes, no, don’t know)
  10. To your knowledge, have your children ever said anything nasty to anyone online? (yes, no)
  11. Do you strongly agree/agree/have no opinion/disagree or strongly disagree with the following statements: (circle as appropriate)
  • My children know more about the internet than I do
  • It is none of my business what my children do online
  • In the last 12 months, I have spoken to my children about protecting themselves online, including using privacy settings and reporting functions.

20. Are there any rules at home for using the internet?

21. If yes, what sort of rules are there (please circle all that apply)?

  • Parents/carers control access to sites children can visit
  • Ages restrictions on internet access
  • Parents can see what children look at online
  • Only allowed online for a certain amount of time
  • Not allowed online after a certain time in the evening
  • Only allowed to go online in family rooms eg living room/kitchen
  • Other (please specify)
  1. If you answered yes to rules at home, can your children get around these restrictions? (yes, no, Some of them)

23. Who do you think your children would you turn to if they were upset by something that happened online (please tick all that apply)?

  • Friends
  • Parents/carers
  • Other family member
  • School/teacher
  • Police
  • Other (please specify)

Question analysis

Q1-3.

Of the 16 parents or carers who answered, 11 have children at Keyham, 5 have children at Millgate. No year 11’s were represented. 44% of parents/carers (7) are between the ages of 35-44.

Year No of children
5 1
6 3
7 4
8 4
9 2
10 3
11 0

Q4 & 5.

As with current national trends, most houses have quite a few devices with internet access. Only 18% have desktop PC’s in the house, with 94% having TV’s. Stationary home gaming devices came in at 84%. The vast majority of internet-enabled devices are mobile (laptops, tablets and phones etc.). The primary internet access device is the smart phone, at 82%, followed by the TV at 12%, then the tablet at 5%. No adults connect via a home gaming device, which is a surprise.

Q6 & 7.

37.5% spend less than one hour online every day. 37.5% spend 1-3 hours online. 25% spend upwards of 3 hours. Considering the primary internet device is the smart phone, this is no surprise, with the ability to surf the net on the move. 53% believe their children spend 1 – 3 hours online every day, with nearly 6% believing it is over 6 hours. A future questionnaire may ask where this takes place and on what devices. Are they aware how much time young people spend on smart phones whilst out and about?

Q8.

What parents and guardians use the internet for is roughly an even spread – with social media services leading slightly (88%). The lowest three responses were uploading/content creation (6%), listening to music (35%) and gaming (35%).

Q9.

13 out of 14 answers were Facebook. This fits in with the adult demographic range who have been part of the Facebook generation.

Q10.

62.5% said they know how to protect their digital life online, with 12.5% saying no and 25% unsure. We feel if you’re unsure, the answer is probably no! Digital safety education needs to come from both home and school, so this clearly shows we have more to do to help adults support the children.

Q11.

Only 7% say they play video games online, whereas the majority of young people do. Understanding the potential, as well as the possible risks of online gaming needs to be focused on as a priority for parent/guardian training.

Q12.

With so few answers for this (50% of a small sample) most answers actually showed family orientated games, based on mobile devices, rather than big blockbuster gaming device titles, showing the differences between adults and children highlighted by Q5.

Q13 & 14.

64% say they are legal downloaders, with 14% not sure and 21% admitted to illegal downloading. A whopping 73% were unsure if the children in their care illegally downloaded music, movies or software. Illegal downloading clearly needs to be targeted across the board.

Q15 & 16.

87% say their children have never told them they’d seen something upsetting online, leaving 13% who had. This included sexual images and animal cruelty. This suggests a high number of children won’t talk about their experiences online to parents. Do they talk to their peer group? Or another trusted adult? Some more questioning is required here.

Q17 & 18.

A straight 50/50 split on whether their children have received nasty comments online, with 73% stating their child has never been nasty to someone online. This seems a little high, but may be skewed by the small sample group. This needs to be further clarified by the training.

Q19.

Most adults believe they should be aware what their child is up to online (7% disagreed). 87% have talked to their charge about personal digital security over the past 12 months. This is obviously very positive, but are they up to date with the current issues? Training will be used to highlight this.

Q20 & 21.

81% have rules at home for using the internet, with a broad sweep across all the answer choices. The most common is that children are time-limited (64%). Only 28% say access is only allowed in a common area, such as the living room. Does this reflect on the fact that devices have become more mobile, so any room is now accessible?

Q22.

7% can apparently get round the rules in place for access at home, 36% say some rules can be circumvented. 57% are sure all rules are enforced.

Q23.

79% feel the children in their charge would turn to them about something upsetting online. Interestingly, friends came 4th on the list, at 21%. Most children would see friends far higher up that list.

The survey & its results – Staff

1. What of the following devices do you regularly use? (tick as many as apply)

2. Which years do you teach/work with (tick all that apply) (Yrs 5-11)

3. Are you male or female? (radio buttons)

4. How old are you? (select from age ranges)

5. Which school do you work at?

6. Which of the following devices do you regularly use? (tick as many as apply)

  • Television
  • Desktop computer
  • Mobile gaming devices, PSP, Nintendo DS, etc.
  • Home gaming devices e.g. Xbox360, Wii, Playstation etc.
  • Tablet (e.g. iPad)
  • Laptop/netbook
  • Mobile/smart phone/other mobile device e.g. iPod touch
  • Other (please specify)

7. How much time do you spend online on an average evening?

  • Less than an hour
  • One to three hours
  • Between 3 and 6 hours
  • More than 6 hours

8. What do you use the internet for in your spare time?

  • Social networks, e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat
  • Instant Messaging, e.g. Whatsapp, BBM, Skype.
  • Gaming
  • Shopping
  • News
  • Browsing/general entertainment
  • Listening to music
  • Uploading/content creation e.g. YouTube
  • Other (please specify)

9. If you use social networks to talk to your friends, please list the ones you use regularly

10. If you play video games, do you play online? (yes, no)

11. If you play video games, please list the ones you play regularly

12. If you do use the internet to download music/films, do you do this legally?

13. Have any of your students ever seen/told you that they’ve seen something online that has made them feel upset?

14. If yes, would you like to explain what this was?

15. Have any of your students ever told you they have received nasty comments/content online? (yes, no)

16. In the last 12 months, have you spoken to students about protecting themselves online, including using privacy settings, reporting functions, password protection etc? (yes, no)

17. Have you ever received nasty comments/content online? (yes, no)

18. Do you strongly agree/agree/have no opinion/disagree or strongly disagree with the following statements:

  • Most children know more about the Internet than I do
  • It is none of my business what my students do online

19. Are you aware that there are any rules at school for using the Internet/digital technology (e.g. mobile phones, tablets etc)? (yes, no don’t know)

20. If yes, what sort of rules are there (please tick all that apply)?

  • School controls access to sites children can visit
  • Only allowed online for a certain amount of time
  • Not allowed to use devices at certain times of the day
  • Not allowed to use devices in certain areas of the school
  • Other (please specify)

21. Who do you think your students would turn to if they were upset by something that happened online (please tick all that apply)?

  • Friends
  • Parents/carers
  • Other family member
  • School/teacher
  • Police
  • Other (please specify)

22. Have you talked to any parents/carers of pupils about child online usage at home in the past 12 months? (yes or no?)

Question analysis

Q1-3.

49 staff answered the questionnaire. 21 from Millgate, 14 from Keyham, as well as 14 who didn’t answer Q1. The majority of staff respondents were aged between 25 and 34. With a fairly young demographic, we would expect knowledge of e-safety to be quite reasonable. 60% of responders are female, 40% male.

Age range %
18-24 2.04
25-34 40.82
35-44 24.49
45-54 22.45
55+ 10.20

Q4.

The majority of answers show staff evenly working across Key Stage 3 (Year 7-11), with a small number working across Key Stage 2.

Q5.

Smart phones, laptops, TV’s and Tablets are the most used devices. 81% use laptops, which is up on national trends, but misleading, as the schools supply laptops to many. Interestingly, only 10% have home gaming devices. We expected more because of the age range of this group of staff.

Q6.

55% spend 1-3 hours online in the evening, with 15% between 3 – more than 6. Once again, with the demographic, we were surprised 31% spent less than an hour online.

Q7.

The leading use for the internet was shopping, at 88%, closely followed by social networking services (71%) and news (67%). Only 20% of staff listed uploading and content creation, so as with parents and guardians, this seems not particularly common place. More children are starting to do this, perhaps because of the perceived success of YouTubers, so this needs to be covered in a little more depth.

Q8.

Facebook is listed as the main social network, by some considerable distance. WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram also got a mention in dispatches, but Facebook was the overwhelming favourite.

Q9 & 10.

80% don’t play video games online, which was a big surprise, as we thought more of the younger staff would. With results from both of the adult surveys, it appears necessary to do some real focus work on this. Do staff and parents/guardians really understand the advantages and risks of online gaming? The games listed as played are the normal blockbusters, such as Halo, Forza and FIFA, so no surprises.

Q11.

69% say they download music and games illegally. This suggests people aren’t really aware of the consequences, which is a fairly normal trend. We therefore have to ensure the correct message is put across to the children, with a clear understanding of ethics and consequences. Interestingly, only 5% were unsure if they were being illegal.

Q12.

81% of staff say students haven’t talked to them about online risks, with 19% saying children had talked to them. We need to ensure there are lines open to an adult, either at home or at school and that they have the necessary tools to deal with the issues. We also thought that the percentage would be higher, particularly in the SEMH environment, because we have so much more one to one contact time than mainstream schools, and have opportunities to build very productive, close relationships. Those pupils that had discussed things they had seen online talked about terrorism, bullying and animals being hurt.

Q14.

51% of staff say pupils have told them about nasty comments online. A higher percentage than have been told about things that have upset pupils, which is interesting. Pupils therefore differentiate between content they have seen online, as opposed to specific bullying on the internet.

Q15.

83% say they have talked about online safety with pupils over the past 12 months, which is good, particularly in light of child protection and e-safety being an all staff issue. Training should embed it further in to the whole curriculum.

Q16.

The majority of staff haven’t received nasty comments online(85%), but a far higher percentage of pupils have, more so in SEMH than mainstream schools.

Q17.

50% of staff agreed or strongly agreed that children know more about the internet than they do. This came as a shock to us, because most of the younger staff are internet-savvy. However, although a very small percentage, we were more surprised that 2% feel it is none of their business what children do online. We need to ensure responsibility for such things is very clear.

Q18 & 19.

98% are aware there are rules at school for using the internet and digital technology. 2% aren’t sure. A clear understanding that the school is filtered and controls access to sites children can visit came out in Q19, with 100% saying they understand this.

Q20.

90% of staff think pupils would turn to them for online support, which isn’t supported by evidence from the pupil questionnaire. However, 83% said pupils would turn to their friends, which is a better match to pupil beliefs. This suggests staff may need to work harder on pupil confidence with regards to e-safety, which can be worked in to the training as well.

Q21.

25% have talked to parents/carers about child online usage in the past 12 months. Maybe the federation should look at building this type of conversation in to all home visits?

Plan for training sessions

We have decided to organise the training in the following way:

Three one hour lesson plans which can be split in to 20 minute segments for short, sharp sessions designed to help students, staff and parents examine how the internet and their online behaviour impacts on different relationships, with focus highlighted on the areas shown in the three questionnaires.

Each session will include a video and exercise, or discussion, facilitated by staff. The theme follows relationships between an individual and the internet.

  1. Relationship with YOU

  • Screen time (sleep, anxiety, health)
  • Inappropriate content (pornography, age-restricted entertainment)
  • Digital Literacy (online resilience, assessing reliability of online information)
  1. Relationship with THOSE AROUND YOU

  • Cyberbullying
  • Sexting
  • ‘Nettiquette’
  • Screen time (relationship with others)
  1. Relationship with THE WORLD

  • What the law says (sexting/revenge porn, trolling, libel/contempt of court, hacking)
  • Digital Footprint (how the world sees you, diminished opportunities)
  • Privacy/anonymity (advantages and disadvantages of online anonymity, when not to share information)

The first three videos are near completion. Unfortunately, a joint testing opportunity between Abbotsholme and Millgate had to be cancelled recently, but we are hopeful it will be re-scheduled soon. If not, it will be trialled at Millgate in the very near future.

 

 

 

 

Keyham Lodge & Millgate School E-safety Project – Progress Update

Keyham Lodge and Millgate School are currently working together on an ambitious project which will establish the school federation as a national e-safety centre of excellence for schools that support learners with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH). The project aims to increase student, staff and parental awareness. The project will create and share a range of high quality cross-curricular resources that can be used to support SEMD learners. A bespoke training package for staff and learners is being created with the help of experts, specifically focusing on e-safety in relation to mobile technologies. An e-safety questionnaire is also being designed to find out what pupils, parents, carers and staff know, and identify areas where more support may be needed. Survey findings will inform the direction of the project and the resources created. You can read the initial project post here.

Project lead Darren John (Learning Technology Lead for the two schools) comments on the findings so far from the project e-safety survey:

Keyham Lodge and Millgate are federated schools supporting children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. We deal with some of the most vulnerable children in Leicester City and see e-safety as a vital educational area for keeping them safe.

We teamed up with James Diamond to produce e-safety materials for SEMH because of his role as Safeguarding Officer for Leicester City Council, as well as his interest in e-safety and the recognised contacts he has made in this field, including Ken Corish and Professor Andy Phippen of South West Grid for Learning (who agreed to provide advice on the student survey). James is currently employed as the Leader of Digital Learning at Abbotsholme School in Staffordshire, but continues to provide online safety guidance to schools and organisations.

Producing the initial questionnaires

Before creating materials, we decided to ask pupils, staff and parents to complete a confidential online survey in order to get a clear idea as to how they perceive online safety. All pupils were given the opportunity to fill in the questionnaire, from Year 5 – 11 (ages 9 to 15), with a c.60% return rate. We are currently analysing the results from staff and parents/carers, but the pupil answers are shared below.

The survey is based on previous student online experience surveys produced by Andy Phippen at the University of Plymouth, and is designed to elicit honest opinions from the young people completing it. The aim is to gather as true a reflection as possible about their online experiences.

Our discussion focused on how easy the questionnaire would be to complete, based on literacy levels of the young people across the two schools. We decided the questionnaire should be completed with careful help from staff on each point, whilst ensuring the answers aren’t elicited through poor guidance.

Once implemented, the questionnaires went out to all pupils on SurveyMonkey, hosted by Andy Phippen at Plymouth University. The results were then reviewed in meetings and the questionnaire for parents and staff was modified slightly through discussion between James Diamond and Darren John, prior to being sent out electronically to all staff and parents before Christmas. This allowed for any changes that become highlighted by the pupil answers, particularly by those about getting round rules and who pupils are prepared to go to with issues that concern them. The results are now being used as the foundation for the training program, to be implemented later in the academic year.

Download the survey questions

You can see the questions (and all options) here. They are shared under an open licence, so please do use them to create your own surveys – remember to give credit!

SEMH School e-Safety Project Survey Questions 2016 (Word)

SEMH School e-Safety Project Survey Questions 2016 (PDF)

What young people told us

Across both schools, there are 151 pupils on roll. 90 at Keyham (78 boys, 12 girls), 61 at Millgate (all boys). 49% of all pupils responded to the survey at Keyham (within this figure, 33% of all girls responded, 51% of all boys – 44 pupils in total). 52% of Millgate pupils responded (32 pupils in total).

1. Which school do you go to?

2. What Year are you in?

3. How old are you?

4. Are you male or female?

Q 1-4. Because the project is across two schools in a Federation, we wanted to be able to see who came from which school. Keyham Lodge goes from Year 5 to 11 and also has some girls, whereas Millgate is all boys from Year 7 to 11, so there may be a requirement for differing needs to be addressed. It will also be necessary to address helping boys try to understand the different kinds of issues that are associated specifically with girls online, rather than just splitting the sexes educationally and focusing solely on their individual needs.

5. What do you use to go online?

Q5. Access to the internet was primarily through Smartphones and Tablets, which didn’t pose any surprises, or buck national trends. What did seem unusual was that 20% of those surveyed didn’t connect through their Mobile phones. Is this perhaps due to cost of contract for data? Over 30% now connect through their TV, which shows the speed of the rise of the Smart TV, even amongst families with less disposable income.

6. How much time do you spend online in an average day?

Q6. 50% spend over 3 hours online every day. Most of this is either at home, or on their mobile phone. 32% over 6 hours a day, which therefore suggests students are going online late into the night on devices such as gaming consoles, and also fits in with anecdotal evidence from discussions in lessons. One possible way of opening up discussion could be to get them to analyse their own use of the internet, through discussion. When do they access the internet? What are they looking at? Adult content? Games? Once again, national trends and anecdotal evidence suggests this.

7. What do you use the internet for?

Q7. The majority of the answers centred around social networks, instant messaging, gaming and listening to music, followed closely by content creation and browsing/general entertainment. 30% said shopping, even though all are too young to have credit cards, so they must have access to parent/carer accounts and cards.

8. If you use social networks to talk to your friends, please list the ones you use regularly.

Q8. There were no great surprises over the answers for the most used social networks, with Facebook coming out on top. There were some answers showing gaming networks, such as Playstation, but very few for Twitter. This does show that individual schools create their own trends for communication, which makes sense. For example, one prominent secondary school primarily uses Twitter.

9. If you play video games, do you play online?

Q9. Only 2.7% don’t play video games online. All the rest do. As the majority of games are set up for online play, this is no surprise, although it does suggest a huge percentages of homes across both schools have internet access.

10. If you play video games, please list the ones you play regularly

Q10. As with National trends, the majority of games listed are for 16’s and over, with the notable exception to the rule being Minecraft. This means most of the pupils in our Federation are playing games rated as unsuitable for their age.

11. Do you use the Internet to download films or music?

12. If you do use the Internet to download music/films, do you do this legally?

Q11 & 12. Just over 71% use the internet to download movies and music. Of these, nearly 39% download illegally, with another 17% unsure, so there needs to be some education done here. This also helped shape one of the questions for the parent/carer and staff questionnaire, in order to find out whether adults are also aware of the legal position.

13. Have you ever seen anything on line that has made you feel upset?

14. If you have been upset by something you’ve seen online, would you like to explain what this was?

Q13 & 14. Nearly 28% said they’d been upset by something online. Examples given were animal cruelty, personal family comments, beheadings and sexual comments. We were a little concerned that 72% hadn’t been disturbed by something! Is this because they’re sensible online, or desensitised to comments and inappropriate content?

15. Have you ever said anything nasty to someone on line?

16. Have you ever received nasty comments/content online?

Q15 & 16. 59% admitted to saying nasty things online, which is above national trends. Our debate centred round whether this was because they were being more honest than many on the questionnaire, or because some don’t understand the social norms as well as others who have answered similar questionnaires. 48% admitted to receiving nasty comments, which also seems high, so clearly some work required here.

17. Do you strongly agree/agree/have no opinion/disagree or strongly disagree with the following statements:

  • I know more about the Internet than my parents and teachers
  • It is none of my parents’ business what I do on line.
  • I can protect the things I have put online (e.g. photos, status updates, tweets etc.) from people I don’t want to share them with.

Q17. 56% believe they know more about the internet than their parents or teachers. Just under 40% believe it is none of their parents’/carers business what they do online and a whopping 75% believe they can protect their personal information online, which is a worry which needs addressing, but apparently isn’t any different to the national average.

18. Are there any rules at home for using the Internet?

19. If yes, what sort of rules are there?

20. If you answered yes to rules at home, do you know how to get around these restrictions?

Q18 – 20. 65% say there are no rules for going on the internet at home. Of the 35% with rules, 55% said their parents or carers can see what they do online, but others said they delete their online history, so this needs investigating further in training, possibly through 1:1 interviews. Interestingly, as trends move towards tablets and other mobile devices, only 19% say they’re only allowed online in family rooms, where they can be observed. 41% said they could get round all the rules imposed at home anyway, with a further 22% being able to get round some rules, which suggests some work in this area needs to be done with parents and carers. 

21. Who would you turn to if you were upset by something that happened online?

Q21. If something happened online, 71% said parents/carers would be the first person to turn to, with friends being next. Police were the lowest, at 22%, with teachers next at 29%. These results further highlight the need to support parents and carers further.

Eye Gaze for Assessment – Project Evaluation

Eye Tracker

Netherhall School have been exploring how eye tracking systems can be used to support and provide accurate assessments of learners with disabilities and creating support materials for staff wanting to use eye tracker technology with learners. You can read the initial project post here, and the interim project update here

In this post, the school shares an executive summary of the project evaluation carried out by Nether Hall, De Montfort University’s Education Futures Centre. A full report can also be downloaded (included in the resources section at the end of this post).

Executive Summary

This project was an investigation into the use of eye-tracking technology to aid assessment of pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and severe learning difficulties (SLD) at Nether Hall Special School. The research was funded by Leicester City Council. The research was a collaboration between Nether Hall School and De Montfort University, Education Futures Centre. The methodology utilised a ‘participatory action research’ approach in which the teachers acted as co-researchers with university staff to conduct an innovative case study.

Project aims:

• To research whether the application of eye-tracking technology can be used to carry out accurate assessments of the pupil to inform and guide the school, families and other professionals practice;
• To confirm whether judgements and observations being made previously by teachers, parents and other professionals from outside agencies were an accurate assessment of the pupil’s abilities;
• To improve understanding between teachers and pupils through eye-tracking technology to identify the interests of pupils with complex learning needs.
This research project targeted pupils making limited progress with respect to their speech and language targets. The school wanted to improve their techniques in producing accurate assessments in accordance with the statutory guidance on performance (P scale) for pupils with special educational needs (SEN). The findings were expected to provide information for teachers, parents and other professionals about what pupils were processing in their learning experiences when looking at the computer, as the eye-tracking technology enabled more accurate assessment about what the pupils were attending to on the screen.

Technology:

The technology deployed for the research investigation was supplied by Smartbox assistive technology. This eye-tracking technology allowed the recording of pupil’s eye movements to produce heat maps and gaze plotting that showed precisely where the pupils had been looking.
The camera (hardware) is called ‘Tobii PCEye Go’ and that recognises the eye gaze and allows the pupil’s gaze to interact with the PC software. The software is called ‘Gaze Viewer’ and that allows the recording of eye movements in heat maps and gaze plotting. This is the element needed by teachers for assessment purposes.
It is the combination of hardware (camera) and software (Gaze Viewer) that is important as this allows the capture of data for assessment purposes.

Findings:

• The project found that the eye-tracking technology provided an independent data source on the pupil’s cognitive abilities, which in turn:
• increased teachers trust in their judgements about what individual pupils were attending to on the computer screen and the pupils understanding when asked questions about what was on the screen. This in turn:
• enhanced teachers confidence in their assessment of the pupil’s performance levels.
The research findings suggest that the use of eye-tracking technology as an assessment tool helped teachers to gather more information on individual pupils who are difficult to assess. Key findings were that the eye-tracking technology was effective as an assessment tool in;
• providing more information on individual learner’s interests, likes, dislikes and engagement levels on particular topics; thereby
• enabling teachers to be able to provide different styles of visual images, such as photos or cartoons, to aid pupil’s learning;
• the heat maps provided data that demonstrated the abilities of pupils not observed before by teachers or parents;
• the data gathered provided accurate assessments that could be recorded and then monitored;
• this gave teachers another tool to make informed judgments of how the pupils were performing with respect to their P levels.

Key outcomes

From the findings of the action research project, teachers reported the following key outcomes:
• Eye-tracking technology can be an effective assessment tool to assess the understanding of pupils working at low P levels who have profound and multiple learning difficulties;
• Eye-tracking technology provided evidence about pupils’ demonstrable abilities to understand different concepts that altered the teachers views about what the pupils were seeing and processing, when looking at the computer screen;
• When working with pupils with complex needs, the eye-tracking technology has more impact when personalised activities, which are simpler, are used with the pupils instead of the standard learning activities;
• Pupils with severe learning difficulties respond better to uncluttered background images that avoid confusion and distraction;
• Heat maps and second camera observations provided the most accurate assessment results;
• Though the P levels of pupils did not change after their assessment with eye-tracking technology, the information gathered on what the pupils liked/disliked, what they were interested in, their cognitive understanding and what motivates them, was valuable in informing teachers’ practice;
• The eye-tracking technology data enhanced the teachers confidence in the performance level assigned to the pupil, as it provided additional data to inform teachers judgements and to thereby make the teacher’s judgements more robust;
• Most importantly, in cases where previously only assumptions could be made regarding pupil’s cognitive abilities, eye-tracking technology provided data which could confirm the teachers’ judgements, as well providing additional information on pupils’ likes and dislikes, which could then help teachers to prepare more personalised learning activities in the future.

Recommendations

It is recommended that teachers receive training before the use of eye-tracking technology. Also it is suggested that a designated staff member is given responsibility to oversee the whole process and they ensure that appropriate materials are created for pupils. With appropriate materials, reliable data can be gathered and personalised learning can be enhanced. If other schools wish to use eye-tracking technology, it is recommended that they create they own materials, as the generic learning activities and pictures that came with the software need to be adapted for pupils with complex needs.

Resources

Nether Hall School Eye Gaze for Assessment research reports:

Executive Summary

Investigating the Use of Eye-Tracking Technology for Assessment Executive Summary 2016 (Word)

Investigating the Use of Eye-Tracking Technology for Assessment Executive Summary 2016 (PDF)

Full Research Report

Investigating the Use of Eye Tracking Technology for Assessment Full Report 2016 (Word)

Investigating the Use of Eye Tracking Technology for Assessment Full Report 2016 (PDF)

City-wide school staff digital literacy network

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DigiLit Network 6Just before Christmas 2015, we launched a call to secondary and special education schools across the city to participate in a new peer led network, designed to focus supporting school staff digital literacy and CPD. The network builds on the DigiLit Leicester project, which successfully established a process for identifying strengths and gaps in digital literacy, and improving skills and confidence school and city-wide.

ICT investment in Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme has provided all city mainstream secondary and special education secondary schools in the city with world-class technology designed to support effective teaching and learning, connect communities and provide opportunities for teachers and learners to collaborate across the city and beyond. Over the last 5 years we have rebuilt and refurbished 19 schools, completing a programme which benefits over 20,000 young people.

Peer-led digital literacy networkDigiLit network 3

Peer network leads will ensure that staff at all levels continue to be supported in improving skills and developing their practice. The new network represents 10 city schools:

Mahala Active-Nemaura, Head of Computer Science, The Lancaster School

Antoinette Bouwens,Business Manager, St Paul’s Catholic School

Will Carter, Director of Music, English Martyrs’ Catholic School

Natalie Coley and Julie Eden, Nether Hall School

Josie Franklin, ICT/Computing/Computer Science Teacher, Moat Community College

Kitesh Mistry, Lead Teacher: Digital Learning, Rushey Mead Academy

Fabienne Preston, Head of Modern Foreign Languages, Crown Hills Community College

James Rolfe, ICT Lead and Head of Science, Judgemeadow Community College

Tony Tompkins, College Leader – New Technology, The City of Leicester College

Elsbeth Woodgate, Educational Technologist, Ellesmere College

Mahala Active-Nemaura and Tony Tompkins will be taking responsibility for co-ordination the network, which will run until July 2017. Members will also be working with Leicester’s Open Schools Network, to ensure all schools take advantage of the city councils work in relation to open educational licensing and support for open practice.

DigiLit Network 7Digital literacy in focus

Each school has selected a strand of the DigiLit Leicester framework to focus on during the lifetime of the project, and will be focusing on raising confidence and competence levels in this area. Schools were free to select their prefered area from the six framework strands –

  • Assessment and Feedback
  • Communication, Collaboration and Participation
  • Creating and Sharing
  • E-Safety and Online Identity
  • Finding, Evaluating and Organising
  • Technology supported Professional Development

Interestingly, all participating schools selected one of three strands: Assessment and Feedback, Communication, Collaboration and Participation, or Technology supported professional Development – giving us three working groups.

You can find out more about the framework strands and levels here.

The work of the networkDigiLit Network 4

The Peer Network Leads will:

  • Work in partnership with the Open Schools Network, to ensure work completed compliments and supports the development, implementation and identification of good practice in open education.
  • Commit to developing their own specialist knowledge of the chosen digital literacy strand area, as well as complimentary knowledge relating to open education, open educational resources and open licences.
  • Support staff at their school in relation to the development of practice supported by the chosen digital literacy strand, ensuring progression amongst all staff but particularly in relation to staff currently working at Entry level.
  • Ensure that activities undertaken support the school improvement plan and in particular, learner outcomes and quality of teaching.
  • Be an active member of the DigiLit Leicester Network in Leicester – supporting other members, encouraging primary school participation, sharing approaches and ideas, and promoting your work and the work of the other network members.
  • Document and share practice and any high quality resources created in the context of the project under open licence, in line with Leicester City Council recommendations.

 Congratulations to all participating schools and good luck for the year ahead!

 DigiLit network 2

 

 

College Leader project – Final Report

Tony Tompkins, ICT Strategy Coordinator, has lead on the DigiLit Leicester supported College Leader project for The City of Leicester College. The project makes use of the DigiLit Leicester framework to support staff development and embed digital literacy across the college. The project established a new educational technologist post (College Leader – New Technology), and provided training sessions focusing on the digital literacy strands to develop the use of technology to support practice. Tony provides a final project report, outlining the approach he has taken to supporting digital literacy across the college (project resources are shared at the end of the post):

The College Leader project consists of four distinct strands:
• Continuation of the post for College Leader – New Technology for two further terms.
• Delivery of six x two hour training sessions on each of the Digilit Leicester strands.
• Support for a number of staff to run small innovation projects, making better use of existing technology.
• The development of a viable whole school 1-to-1 scheme.

College Leader post

In 2012, The City of Leicester College (TCOLC) created a four term secondment role to the College Leadership Team. The post of “College Leader – New Technology” was tasked with developing the strategic vision for the college within new technologies, and to help deliver on this vision as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) process.

The role has been critical in helping the college further develop its long term vision, devising a sustainable approach to 1-to-1 ICT provision, and to lead on staff development in digital literacy. The extra time to focus on staff development in relation to technology has meant the college has been better able to support the bedding-in process of the new build and new ICT solution.
During the extra two terms, the college took the decision to create a new permanent post of “ICT Strategy Coordinator” at leadership level, and have now successfully appointed to this role. The post directly derives from the College Leader role supported by this project, and holds overall responsibility for the strategic direction and development of new technologies within the college and also leads on Continual Professional Development (CPD) aimed at boosting the skills of our staff team.
Since appointment, the ICT Strategy Coordinator has overseen the introduction of fortnightly whole school CPD sessions developing staff competency and confidence in using new technologies in the classroom. The Coordinator has also developed and delivered the first stage of the TCOLC 1-to-1 iPad scheme for year 9 students and will continue rolling this out to the rest of the school over the next 18 months.

Raising Capacity & Confidence in ICT

Part of the College Leader – New Technology project was to develop staff capability and confidence in using new technologies. As part of this drive, the college developed a number training sessions based around the DigiLit Leicester strands, aiming to develop skills in using the new systems and software delivered through BSF to better support teaching and learning.
We have delivered three out of the six training sessions aimed at moving staff on to the next level of competency within each DigiLit Leicester strand. Twilight sessions proved extremely popular, and were fully booked. We gave priority to staff who identified as currently working at the lower levels of the framework, at “entry” or “core”, in order to raise the baseline of staff confidence in their professional use of technology across the college.

The sessions were created and delivered by our own Pioneer (advanced) level staff, and tailored to suit the technology and software available within school. In terms of technologies, we focused predominantly on SharePoint and the use of iPads, as these are key components of our ICT provision, and as newly introduced technologies, least familiar to our staff.

The three sessions run were on the following DigiLit Leicester strands:
• Creating and Sharing
• Communication, Collaboration and Participation
• Technology supported Professional Development
Below is a synopsis of the three sessions and the main objectives:

Session 1 – Creating & Sharing
Synopsis: An overview of how to use SharePoint to quickly and easily create, edit and share documents with students using OneDrive, and how to use the very powerful Sites tool to create a central bank of resources for staff and students to use for years to come. This includes looking at basic word, PowerPoint and Excel documents, as well as sharing rich media content such as images and videos with students. We will also spend some time looking at different approaches to sharing, and how to effectively draw students’ attention to important documents and information easily.
Objectives:
• Be confident in creating documents within OneDrive
• Be able to share documents in OneDrive with other members of the college
• Be able to add resources to a SharePoint Site
• Understand how to use Newsfeed to draw attention to SharePoint content

Session 2 – Communication, Collaboration and Participation
Synopsis: A look at collaborative learning tools on the laptops and iPads. During this session staff learnt how to create a documents and presentations via SharePoint that groups of students can work on simultaneously. On the iPads, Socrative was introduced for whole class polling, and Evernote create shared notebooks. Work was displayed to the rest of the group via Apple TV.
Objectives:
• Create documents and presentations for groups of students to work on at the same time.
• Use Sharepoint Newsfeed to guide students to your content.
• Learn how to create a quiz in Socrative and play along with one that someone else has made.
• Understand how Evernote can be used by students to share their work with you.
• Know how to use Padlet for a quick evaluation, feedback or brain-storm.

Session 3 – Technology supported Professional Development
Synopsis: A practical training session using TES Resources and Twitter to make, develop and share teaching and learning resources including lesson plans, presentations, assemblies, and games, to save time and enhance the effectiveness of planning and teaching time, as well as providing opportunities to build personal learning networks (PLNs).
Objectives:
• Create/develop a twitter account to source, share and promote teaching resources.
• Use hashtags to join or start discussions about education, training or CPD.
• Create/develop a Times Educational Supplement (TES) account to source and share teaching resources online.
• Start to look at teacher/educational blogs to follow and/or make your own.

Evaluation of all 3 sessions was extremely positive, with most staff rating the sessions as outstanding and all staff rating them good or better. Where sessions were criticised, it was mainly around the fast pace and the desire to fit a lot into each session! I have appended all the resources created for the three sessions are accessible from this post. We intend to run a further three sessions (covering additional DigiLit Leicester strands), and re-run the existing three sessions to allow more staff the opportunity of improving their skills.

Trialling and Disseminating Innovative Practice

The Digilit surveys had revealed that there is a pool of pioneer (advanced) level staff within the college whom we could draw on to share their digital literacy skills and help move the college practice forward. We felt it was important to harness the skills of these staff to ensure we made proper use of and got good value from the new ICT equipment made available to the College through BSF investment.

The idea behind the small innovation projects was to allow staff to pursue an identified project which aimed to improve teaching and learning in their area through the use of technology.
We invited applications from our staff team through a competitive process, and agreed to support six individual innovation projects across the College. The six agreed projects and their main objectives were:

1. Technology – Develop the use of the Laser Cutter
To develop the use of the Laser Cutter for use with Key Stage 4 & 5 students, including:
• Learn how to use Coral Draw software.
• Learn how to use the Laser Cutter & experiment with a variety of materials including leather and denim.
• Support learning of Key Stage 4 & 5 students to incorporate the use of new technologies in their coursework, and to develop knowledge and understanding of industrial practice.

2. Art & Design – Video Resource Bank
To develop a ‘Video Resources Bank’ which can be used to:
• Support progression for different abilities in lessons.
• Demonstrate health and safety with machinery/tools.
• Recap practical tasks – (play on loop as a visual aid).
• Support learning during cover lessons when the class teacher cannot be present.

3. Business – Content for the Learning Platform
To increase awareness, and then use of the new learning platform that the college is developing – SharePoint- for the business education area, with a view to expanding this to the Business/Art Design & Technology Hub.

4. English/Modern Foreign Languages – Developing use of ShowMe app
Develop the use of audio/visual feedback/marking – the use of Show Me app to produce marking that students can respond to:
• A trial of using Show Me to mark books in a way where students then respond to feedback in English and Modern Foreign Languages.
• Developing an area where students can access their feedback through the school network.
• Evaluating use of Show Me and whether it could be used more widely in the school.

5. Social Sciences – Use of Interactive Whiteboard
To develop the use of eBeam so that all teachers are confident with all its features and capabilities so that they can save lesson plans, annotated and voice recorded power points and email them out to students.

6. Inclusion – Using New Technology to support students with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
As we are working towards dyslexia friendly school status, one of the recommendations for dyslexic students is the use of a laptop or similar device in the classroom. Many of these students have difficulties with handwriting and spelling skills that affect the speed of hand written work. Pupils can become frustrated and behaviour can become an issue. This can also slow progress, especially in subject with heavy coursework workloads. In particular:
• A number of dyslexic students were provided with a personal iPad mini which included the Dragon Dictation App. They used it very successfully to take notes in the classroom and to produce independent work. Dragon dictation has now been added to the list of recommended apps for all students on our 1:1 scheme, and the use of iPads to support dyslexic students has become part of the College offer.
• 2 students were provided with a laptop. This was less successful due to the long bootup times, short battery life and less portable than the iPad mini.
• Paid software was explored, including WordShark and CVC Word Builder, but we were disappointed with these and found that the additional functionality did not warrant the cost.
Information around the use of technology to support dyslexia was reviewed and updated on the College website.

Staff have been working on these projects over the past year and have been provided up to 10 hours release time on request to help develop their projects and prepare resources for their classes.
Overall I think that the small innovation projects has been a positive initiative. All staff made some progress on their projects, and there have been some very effective results for individual staff concerned. However, a minority projects produced less results than hoped, due to the staff concerned not taking sufficient time out of teaching to devote to developing their project over the course of the year. This is partly their own reluctance to leave exam classes, and partly constraints made by the College due to the large amount of cover already taken across the school this year.

Developing a whole school 1-to-1 Model

The College had previously run a very successful “Bring your own Device” (BYOD) trial and were looking to build on the ideas and successes generated by this to create a whole school 1-to-1 scheme based around the iPad mini.

The TCOLC 1-to-1 iPad mini Scheme commenced in November 2014. It costs £170 to join, which parents can pay all at once or as a £50 deposit followed by 6 monthly payments of £20. Students who join the scheme receive an iPad-mini pre-installed with all the apps required for the classroom, a case and one year’s insurance against accidental damage and theft. It has proved extremely popular with our Year 9 parents and we will be inviting other year groups to join the scheme over the coming months.

Once the £170 has been paid, there will be no further payments required, other than a renewal fee of around £10 if parents would like to extend the insurance policy for a further year. The devices remain school property whilst the student remains at the College. However, when they graduate or leave to join another school, they can purchase the device for £1, and full ownership will be transferred from the College to the parents/guardians. Our Mobile Device Mangement (MDM) software will be removed and students are free to use the device as they wish.
The scheme is currently optional and only devices purchased through this scheme will be allowed in school. The devices have Lightspeed MDM software pre-installed, and all traffic will pass through our College web-filtering.

Parents are offered the choice to either restrict their child’s device to our pre-selected apps for learning, or opt for a more open setup where students are able to install their own age-appropriate apps, allowing both educational and leisure use. Currently, only one set of parents have asked us to place restrictions on the device, due to concerns that their child was on the device too often at home playing games.

All students joining the scheme need to sign an Acceptable Use Policy, along with their parents. This policy only applies to devices provided through the 1-to-1 scheme, and the College retains its existing mobile device policy, which covers all other devices. We have created some specific codes in our behaviour system to track iPad misuse. The College reserves the right to remove certain apps, features or content or to restrict devices in the case of inappropriate use within the College. So far we have had a few issues with inappropriate use of iMessage, and this feature has been temporarily withdrawn for 5 students, initially for two weeks.

The College is very pleased with the initial take-up. Over 110 of our year 9 signed up on the first offer, which is around two-thirds of the year group. Students in this year group will have a second opportunity to join the scheme. We are looking to push membership levels of existing students up from the initial 70% take-up rate to above 90%.

We do have a backup plan for parents who do not wish to join the scheme. The College currently has around 200 iPad-minis in class sets distributed around the building, and once all year groups have had the opportunity to join the scheme, these devices will be repurposed for these students. Students who are unable to or do not want to join the scheme, but who require a device for lessons, will be able to borrow a device on a per-lesson or per-day basis. As long as take up is reasonably high, then this should be manageable.

Additionally, the College has employed an additional technician, whose role is specifically to help with device rollout and to support the students. This is initially on a temporary contract whilst we evaluate this role. Successfully setting up and managing so many devices requires time and considerable expertise. The College has also invested in a local internet filtering solution. This means that no matter where the students iPads are, their internet traffic always routes through the College filtering system. It is difficult to apply parental controls to tablets, and we felt that this, along with the age restrictions enforced through our MDM, would provide a level of safety for our students that parents would find it difficult to achieve themselves.I am confident that the current scheme will continue to grow in popularity as it is rolled out across the school. We are proud to be one of the first schools in the area to be offering this exciting opportunity to our students.

Resources

• Creating and sharing (handout) SharePoint How To Guides 10-10-2015 (Word) SharePoint How To Guides 10-10-2015 (PDF)
•  Creating and sharing (presentation) Creating and Sharing with SharePoint presentation 10-10-2015 (PowerPoint)
• Technology Supported Professional Development (handout) Signing up for your Twitter account 10-10-2015 (Word) Signing up for your Twitter account 10-10-2015
• Technology Supported Professional Development (presentation) Twitter for school staff CPD 10-10-2015 (PowerPoint)
• DigiLit – Communication Collaboration Participation (presentation) Communication Collaboration Participation 10-10-2015 PowerPoint
• 1-to-1 Scheme – Acceptable Use Policy 1-to-1 Scheme – Acceptable Use Policy 10-10-2015 (Word) 1-to-1 Scheme – Acceptable Use Policy 10-10-2015 (PDF)
• 1-to-1 Scheme – Loan Agreement 1-to-1 Scheme – Loan Agreement 10-10-2015 (Word) 1-to-1 Scheme – Loan Agreement 10-10-2015

 

 

Keyham Lodge & Millgate School e-Safety Project – first thoughts

Keyham Lodge and Millgate School are currently working together on an ambitious project which will establish the school federation as a national e-safety centre of excellence for schools that support learners with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH). The project aims to increase student, staff and parental awareness. The project will create and share a range of high quality cross-curricular resources that can be used to support SEMH learners. A bespoke training package for staff and learners is being created with the help of experts, specifically focusing on e-safety in relation to mobile technologies. An e-safety questionnaire is also being designed to find out what pupils, parents, carers and staff know, and identify areas where more support may be needed. Survey findings will inform the direction of the project and the resources created.

Project lead Darren John (Learning Technology Lead for the two schools) writes:

Keyham Lodge and Millgate are Federated schools supporting children with Social, emotional and Mental Health needs. We deal with some of the most vulnerable children in Leicester City and see e-safety education and work as vital in terms of supporting their personal safety.

We have teamed up with James Diamond,  because of his role as Safeguarding Officer for Leicester City Council, as well as his interest in e-safety and the recognised contacts he has made in this field, including Ken Corish and Professor Andy Phippen of South West Grid for Learning (who agreed to provide advice on the student survey). James is currently employed as the Leader of Digital Learning at Abbotsholme School in Staffordshire, but continues to provide online safety guidance to schools and organisations.

James Diamond and I met in order to lay down our plans.

The three main initial areas were:

  1. Laying out a road map to see how we could complete the project.
  2. Producing the initial questionnaire to give to stakeholders.
  3. Buying and setting up the equipment requested under the bid.

Laying out a road map to see how we could complete the project

James and I have now had five meetings and a number of conversations by phone and email, focusing primarily on the initial questionnaire and the planning for what we will do with the gathered data. We have also visited Warning Zone in Frog Island, to see if their new e-learning zone can be utilised for the training programme.

Producing the initial questionnaire to give to stakeholders

The survey is based on previous student online experience surveys produced by Andy Phippen at the University of Plymouth, and is designed to elicit honest opinions from the young people completing it. The aim is to gather as true a reflection as possible about their online experiences.

Our discussion focused on how easy the questionnaire would be to complete, based on literacy levels of the young people across the two schools. We decided the questionnaire should be completed with careful help from staff on each point, whilst ensuring the answers aren’t elicited through poor guidance.

Once implemented, the questionnaires went out to all pupils in September. The questionnaire for parents and staff have been delayed slightly in order to allow for any changes that become highlighted by the pupil answers, particularly by those about getting round rules and who pupils are prepared to go to with issues that concern them. The results will then be used as the foundation for the training program, to be implemented later in the academic year.

Buying and setting up the equipment requested under the bid

We have invested in 32 tablets (16 at each site). This was in order to move away from the traditional PC/Laptop approach and give the staff and pupils more of an opportunity to use ICT flexibly. We also have plans to change the wireless SSIDs to allow for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for pupils in the future. We had never used Apple Configurator or any form of MDM before, so some research has been required. Due to cost, we’ve opted for Configurator, as it is free, and we don’t as yet have more than 35 Apple devices.

Planning for the training will be completed when all the questionnaires are returned, the analysis done, and the staff/parent questionnaires have gone out.

 

 

 

Mapping Achievement at Nether Hall School – project update

Fran Duinker (Head of Primary) and Helen Robinson (Head of Sixth Form), Nether Hall School have been working on a the Mapping Achievement Digilit Leicester project designed to introduce the use of software to log students’ achievements against framework standards, and document achievements through images. You can read their introduction to the project here, and download a short reflective report on the project here.

The school are adopting a new approach in order to share progression and achievement with parents and carers. Here Fran updates us on project progress:

We have been using 2Build a profile software within the school for two terms now. The implementation has raised a number of issues which we now need to address:

Initial Issues June 2015

Teaching assistants cannot always quickly find the appropriate learning objective

A ‘learning objective’ is a brief statement that describe what our pupils will be expected to learn by the end of each unit of work. Pupils often have a number of objectives that they are expected to achieve by the end of the academic year. The vast majority of our pupils are working below the National Curriculum Level 1 and therefore are on P scales. P scale descriptors describe pupils’ performance in a way that indicates the emergence of skills, knowledge and understanding in each subject. Each P scale level is further broken down by PIVATS into 5 sub levels and each of these sub level often has several parts to it. PIVATS is a commercially produced, Government recognised school based assessment scheme based on an extension of the P Scales and National Curriculum level descriptors P1 to NC Level 4.

Using PIVATS we assess pupils in 4 subjects of the National Curriculum, English, Maths, ICT and Personal and Social Development (PSD). Each of those subjects is further broken down into three or four strands. Each of those strands is broken down into the eight P levels. Each pupil has individual targets set based on their own rate of achievement. These targets are linked to a PIVATS sub level.

When a teaching assistant has to ‘find’ the appropriate learning objective on the tablet in 2Build a profile app in English for example, they have to access the English section, access the strand, identify the level the pupil is working on, go to the sub-levels, identify which part they feel the pupil is working on, and add that to the photo. They then have to annotate the photo to say how much help was required for the pupil to achieve that sub level. With experience teaching assistance will become more proficient with quickly identifying the different strands and sub levels of PIVATS.

Staff need further training to capture the learning that they are trying to level and this may include taking a sequence of photos.

This means two things, it means firstly being able to properly capture photographic evidence, which shows the learning taking place and secondly being able to annotate the piece of learning accurately to state exactly why staff believe that learning has taken place at the required standard to meet the learning objective set.

By ‘levelling’ we mean checking against the set of criteria for a given learning objective to say if the requited standard has been met or exceeded, or if further learning needs to take place and the pupil is working at a lower level, e.g. the piece of work might have been set as a P5 piece of work but the pupil has far exceeded expectations, the staff would then look at the criteria for P6 and see if the pupil is working at that level, or still working towards it. If the pupil has not achieved the P5 level standard, we would look at the criteria for P4 to see if the work falls within that level.

Further training is required to provide appropriate narratives that contextualise learning.

Staff sometimes struggle to write precise narratives which demonstrate that the learning has taken place. For example, in order for the learning to have taken place a pupil has to demonstrate that they are able to complete the task with the amount of help stipulated by the criteria set in the learning outcome. Often in PIVATS learning outcomes it will say ‘with support’. Staff have to clarify exactly what support was offered to the pupil, a verbal prompt, a visual prompt, a physical prompt, etc. the size of group and whether the task was demonstrated before being completed by the pupil. As such we are not building templates, but providing staff with training, giving examples of different types of narratives each which describe clearly how learning has taken place.

There were some issues with implementation as some level information was not uploaded correctly.

I feel that the ‘glitch’ was with the set up pf the tablets, and that the information did not load correctly onto them. 2Build a profile is an app which allows you to take photographs and attach the learning objectives to the photo. These learning objectives are loaded onto the iPads separately to the main program. It then allows you to annotate the photo to say how the learning objective was achieved. You can then send the completed report into your class file.

Taking the Project Forward

Including the 6th Form Aim awards in to the software.

2Build a profile is a program which was primarily developed for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). In order to make it suitable for use within other schools, you can add on your own learning objectives using a system called ‘Framework Manager’. This allows you to down load objectives specific to your school.

In the 6th Form additional qualifications are worked towards. These are the AIM awards. AIM Awards is a national Awarding Organization, offering a large number of Ofqual regulated qualifications at different levels and in a wide range of subject areas, they are also licensed by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) to approve and certificate Access to Higher Education Diplomas. The majority of AIM awards we use are Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in areas such as , independent living, exploring work, and developing work skills. Our students would not be able to achieve GCSE’s and we feel this is an appropriate alternative for our pupils to achieve nationally recognized qualifications.

Include more parents into 2Engage parents.

2Engage parents is an optional add-on for 2Build a profile which lets you send activity reports directly to parents. It allows parents to keep up to date with the progress of their child and give feedback to the school from their point of view.We intend to use 2 Engage Parents as a means of sharing photos and information with our parents and inform parents of those important moments when their children have achieved a learning objective at school.

At present, there is no easy way of sending photos home, other than printing them and including them in the diary which can be a costly and time consuming task. 2Engage parents should allow us to send home photos easily. Parents will be able to share those photos at home with their children and celebrate their success. All our pupils arrive by transport so there is no face to face contact at the school gate as you would have in the majority of other school. 2 Engage Parents should provide a solution to maintaining good contact with our parents. As part of 2Engage Parents there is a contact history page shows every report sent to parents and all responses received back from parents, in this way we can track those parents who are still hesitant to engage and find alternative means of engaging them in their child’s learning.

Project Progress

Generally after two terms staff have become more confident in taking appropriate photos, which show pupils learning. While other special schools felt that it would be more appropriate for only teaching staff to use the program and add in the objectives, we felt that we would prefer to empower and up-skill our teaching assistants by each class teacher providing training and information as which objectives each pupils within the class group was working on and where to find the relevant information. This has helped to embed the staff knowledge of the pupil’s learning objectives. Staff are slowly becoming more confident in finding the appropriate objective. Further training is still required to provide the appropriate narrative that contextualise the learning that has been recorded.

We will provide further training in a number of different ways:

  • Teachers will support staff and help to compose the narratives pertinent to the pupils in classes.
  • Training will be provided in each department during stay back time. This will allow staff to share good practice.
  • At the end of this academic year we will evaluate the narratives included as part of the learning and decide if it would be helpful to use part of a training day to provide whole school training on writing narratives.

We have had issues with loading the additional learning outcomes (PIVATS & AIM Awards) onto the iPads. 2Build itself has shown no issues, but additional software we have loaded through ‘Framework Manager’ hasn’t always been straight forward – these have be ironed out quite quickly by updating the iPads however. With PIVATS being quite a large and complex system, not all the parts of each sub level have been explored by staff. It isn’t until each part has been accessed we can tell that there has been a glitch.

A small group of parents were asked to trial 2Engage parents, we found that initially, the proforma was unwieldy for parent use with an unfriendly format. We felt the format was too complex. We are a small Special school of 90 pupils, 18 different languages are spoken by our parents and pupils, a clearer format is required which will enable all our parents to access their email and celebrate their child’s achievements with us.

The same format appeared to apply to all age groups. The program was designed to be used by EYFS pupils and staff, since we are an all age school the language and format is not appropriate to our older students.  Schools can change the language and the format of the proforma to suit their own needs however – as a school we now need to decide on an appropriate format for Primary, Secondary and 6th Form pupils. Each department will meet to design an appropriate template which will satisfy the needs of that department.

The process for inviting parents to join 2Engage often landed in parents spam boxes, and several emails needed to be sent out along with a written letter and often a phone call home to inform parents that the email had been sent. Some parents had incorrectly written down their email address causing further confusion.

The project will take considerably longer to develop that initially expected, primarily because (for the various reasons indicated above) the time between response to initial and confirmation emails. Some parents who use email on a regular basis emailed their address straight into school, which did allow the process to be set up quickly.

Next Steps

  • Additional training time will be required to bring new staff up to speed with 2Build a profile.

Three new teachers have started at school this academic year who will require training from scratch. We also have a number of new teaching assistants who require the same training. Some staff have also asked for a refresher to remind themselves full of all the functions of 2Build a profile. Therefore it’s envisaged that training would be provided for new staff and all those staff who wish to attend. The training will take place in school stay-back time.

  • Provide continual training to improve staff annotation of the learning that has taken place.

The annotation is the precise narrative that staff write which demonstrates that the learning has taken place. Often a picture can only capture a moment and it doesn’t show the majority of the learning that has taken place, or the prompting that staff have had to give in order for the pupil to have achieved the task. The annotation should put into context the learning the pupil has achieved. Annotation also is used when Special Schools moderate pupils work to ensure that there is a consistency of approach to the P scales – very much in the same ways as Primary schools will hold moderation meetings in order to ensure that there is a consistency in marking pupils work against a set of criteria.

  • Develop a system for adding video clips into the pupil files and annotating them.
  • Redesign  proformas to accurately reflect the learning that has taken place in an age appropriate format – primary, secondary & sixth form.
  • Continue to increase the number of parents engaging with 2Engage parents.
  • Create a guide on using photographic evidence to support pupils assessment and feedback process.

You can download a short reflective report on the project here:

Mapping Achievement (2015) Nether Hall School (word)

Mapping Achievement (2015) Nether Hall School (PDF)

Resources for French Phonics – project round up

Jane Bland is Assistant Headteacher at Rushey Mead School, and has lead on a DigiLit Leicester innovation project. Her project has developed guidance to support Modern Foreign Language (MFL) staff in the use of technology to support the teaching of French phonics. You can read Jane’s initial project post, creating and sharing resources to teach French phonics and here interim project post – both come with ideas and resources.  Here, Jane reflects on the experience of the project:

It is almost 12 months since I learned that my DigiLit Leicester project bid had been successful and this blog post is an account of my journey; creating the phonics schemes of work, sharing the resources and using tablets to enhance my teaching.

The phonics schemes of work came from an idea in how to support our primary colleagues in transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3. I wanted our feeder schools to focus on phonics and pronunciation, rather than a variety of vocabulary at a superficial level. The idea for the ‘Phonic Friends’ came from Jane Somerville who created them initially as part of a LinkedUp project:

http://www.linksintolanguages.ac.uk/sites/default/files/resources/2558/06%20LinkedUp%20case%20study%20French%20Phonics.pdf

I wanted to create a scheme of work that was progressive and cumulative, adding in one new phonic at a time, ensuring that the words learned only included phonemes that had already been introduced.

Introducing French Phonics – Scheme of Work (word)

For each of the 25 phonemes we created a Phonic Friend, a French person with the phoneme in their name, and we made posters to accompany each sound which are displayed in all classrooms:

phonics classroom display

 

Click here for a copy of all the posters: Phonics Posters (PowerPoint)

I then made a powerpoint for each sound that introduced words containing that individual phoneme (or others that had already been introduced so they were cumulative).

 phoneme picturesClip art images used available under public domain via https://openclipart.org/

phoneme words

Each slidedeck also contains a variety of activities; a song, a rhyme, a tongue twister, a story, a dictation. I wanted this to fit in with the new programmes of study so that a primary school could meet all the new criteria by using this scheme of work.

 Cache-Cashe CochonsCover image of Cache-cache cochons, copyright Arlene Dubanevich, 1984

Polisson pour attaper les sons!

 

Click here for example of a slide deck: 4 ch LeTS introduce phonics (PowerPoint)

As we had never taught French phonics in our secondary school before I decided we should trial it with our year 7 students. I hadn’t anticipated quite how successful this would be, and we have now rolled this out to all year groups throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

The impact on students’ speaking skills has been huge, and we continue to see an increase in their confidence and their French accents. We have embedded the phonics into our year 7 scheme of work, and we have now created more resources to reinforce the phonics throughout year 8 and year 9. We revise the phonics on a regular basis with all year groups, they have access to phonics place mats in class, and they now read new words with accuracy and ease.

phonics placematPhonics placemat

Click here for an example PowerPoint to revise the first 12 sounds: Can you remember sounds 1-12 (PowerPoint)

All year groups have benefited from the phonics, and also from the ipads. These are used on a very regular basis throughout the faculty, for French, Spanish and Italian. To read about the key apps we use with students please refer to my previous blog:

http://www.digilitleic.com/?p=865

Whilst we still have our old favourites we continue to develop our own knowledge and skills and discover new teaching and learning strategies all the time. This week one of the year 11 groups have been practising for their oral assessment using ‘Notes’ to write an example sentence and listen to the correct pronunciation. By the end of one lesson I had begun to see an improvement in their pronunciation and intonation, and they remained engaged and on task for the whole hour.

Year 11

I have been delighted with the positive impact we have seen in our faculty with our students, but it has also been great to hear from colleagues in other schools who have contacted me to say they are using these resources in their classroom and starting to see an impact on their children.

If you would like more information about our phonics scheme of work, or other MFL support that is available, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Blog 2! Using voice activated software

Ruth Fairley is a Special Education Needs (SEN) teacher at The Lancaster School – an all boys secondary (ages 11-16) school in Leicester. Ruth’s innovation project explores the use of iPad accessibility features and apps to support students with learning disabilities, and you can read her initial post here. The project enables her to develop her own skills, and represents a new approach to working with SEN learners in the school. Ruth updates us with her progress to date:

As writers often say, ‘many months passed reader!’ (no I didn’t marry him!)

My project to use tablets (iPads) with voice activated software for my six dyslexic and disaffected students has gathered momentum and speed! My participants were identified, my iPads set up and we were good to go.

I had done some preliminary research on the boys taking part and for this update I am going to focus on three boys who were very responsive to the project.

Firstly I reviewed staff comments on the boys’ behaviour which the school records on our Learning Management System. This provided a rough and ready bench mark to check any positive impact of the new approach against. I also took record of the boys working at levels at the beginning of the project to see if it could help them improve their grades.

The training for the boys to use the technology was very simple and straightforward, so much so that I could do it in less than a minute and that’s amazing considering my luddite ways!

I also informed the boys’ class teachers and in particular in any subjects that had a strong literacy based focus. The response from staff was generally positive, in particular from Heads of Year who often had to sort out the fallout from the boys’ lack of engagement.

I also made it clear to the boys that if they abused the usage of the devices in class then they would be withdrawn for a two week period. I had spoken to all parents involved and all were very keen to support their sons’ use of the iPads.

I started small!! As I taught a lot of the boys either for English or on one to one support basis for their learning disabilities, it was easy to find a starting point to roll out the devices. The boys, who were previously reluctant to start work in English and write, took to them like ducks to water.

I ran the project for a full term then looked at a quick assessment of impact, at this point I will focus on the three boys who have taken part in the project from the start. Two other boys who were selected to take part weren’t keen originally, but have subsequently joined in.

So, some small case studies:

Boy 1

By the end of term 2 his effort grades have improved, they have gone from 3 and 4 to 2 and 3.
His behaviour points in term 1 were 213, in term 2 they reduced to 86.
His NC levels for literacy based subjects where he has used the tablet made expected progress, one sub level per term. Whilst this may not seem much this was from a boy who had made little or no progress since he had started at the school.
On a purely selfish note, he now wants to come to English!

 Boy 2

His level of engagement in English has improved dramatically. His achievement in literacy based subjects improved by one sub level in one term and his effort grades improved in all areas.

Boy 3

His behaviour points were 112 in term 1 and this reduced to 55 in term 2. His SEN review was very positive and it noted improvement in his willingness to engage.
His NC levels had gone up in all subjects.

Based on this quick measure of improvement the initial introduction of the tablets has been positive for the three learners. There were and are some issues to be resolved, such as the boys using the tablets to access games and occasionally being off task playing them.

I wish I had a tablet with voice activated software for every boy who needed it!

Creating and sharing resources to teach French phonics, and using iPads to enhance the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)

Jane Bland is Assistant Headteacher at Rushey Mead School, and is leading on a DigiLit Leicester innovation project. Her project is developing guidance to support Modern Foreign Language (MFL) staff in the use of technology to support the teaching of French phonics. You can read Jane’s initial post on creating and sharing resources to teach French phonics. Here, Jane shares her work and resources to support key stage 2 teachers in primary schools:

Earlier this year I blogged about the use of iPads to teach French phonics to key stage 3 students. We are continuing to see an impact on students’ spoken French, and increasingly their writing skills, and as a faculty we are unanimous that teaching phonics has increased students’ linguistic skills.

As part of our Digilit Leicester project I wanted to share my resources with key stage 2 teachers and offered a day’s training on teaching French phonics in primary schools.

Download the workshop presentation here:  Teaching French Phonics (2015), by Jane Bland (PowerPoint)

Many of the delegates were not French specialists and I designed the day so that I would teach them the key phonic sounds throughout the day, using activities and resources that could be taken back in to their classrooms.

We started with the common phonemes that cause confusion and looked at the pedagogy behind teaching and reinforcing the sounds, and then played lots of games to consolidate: oh la la!, slam!, lotto, télépathique, noughts and crosses, beat the clock….

sounds

Throughout the day we looked at different ways that the phonics could be introduced into schemes of work. I really like the idea of having a theme each half term, and made a series of resources and activities that could be used to teach phonics with a seaside theme. I had a shopping spree in Poundland and bought a magnetic fish game, buckets and spades, nets etc! On the back of each fish I wrote a sound and we had to use the fishing rod to capture a fish and read the sound correctly to keep it. This proved to be very popular!

Primary workshop

You can just see the fishing rod and bucket bottom right!

Later in the day we had a competition to create a game to consolidate the phonic sounds we had learned using random objects. This activity produced some amazing results and some exciting games. It also proved to be a lot of fun!

Spin the spade

Using the seaside theme this group created a child version of ‘spin the spade’.

 L'escargot phonetique
L’escargot phonétique.

Playdough

I loved this one! Choose a ball from the bag then create the sound using play-dough….

In the afternoon we looked at how iPads could be used to teach phonics, sharing Apps that I wrote about in my previous blog post – Autorap, Quizlet and 30 Hands.

students working

30 Hands

words

Working hard
I asked our two native French teachers in school to record the story of ‘La Chasse à l’ours’, using the iPads, and we all listened and read along to the story. I intend to create more of these recordings next year as everyone agreed that as a non-specialist having the book read by a French native made it much more accessible and everyone felt more comfortable having the accurate pronunciation to read along with. I had intended on playing the first couple of pages to show the example but everyone was so keen to keep reading that we ended up reading the book together the whole way through!

La chasse a l’ours (MP3 file)

I was extremely pleased that the evaluations and feedback from the day were overwhelmingly positive, but what was even more pleasing was receiving emails from colleagues a week or two later to say they had already started to introduce French phonics into their schemes of work and the children were loving it.

If you would like more information on this CPD session or other MFL support that is available please do not hesitate to get in touch!