Skype call with Digital Leaders

The Digital Leaders at Keighley St Andrew’s Primary have been engaged with the Curriculum Innovation team’s Digital Leader Academy Plus program. This builds on the work they have previously done through the Digital Leader Academy program. They attended a session earlier in the year where we looked closely on how to design, develop and deliver presentations and a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk to them through Skype to see how they were getting on.

Since the last meeting the children have created a display board in school about Digital Leaders. This includes a simple bio and picture of the children, some of their favourite online activities and some tips about online safety. They have also put some information online about their activities on their school website

The children have been working on their presentation skills and recently created a presentation for children about how to stay safe online during and delivered this during the school’s Online Safety week coinciding with Safer internet Day.

After delivering recent presentations, the children reflected on how well they did. The children stated that they maintained good eye contact with their audience and their body language was relaxed and confident when delivering. When designing the presentation they used a consistent background and theme throughout. The images they chose were very appropriate and they limited the amount of text on the slides to just the bare minimum needed. Digital Leader lead Lauren Mooney was very impressed with the children’s improved presentation skills and confidence of delivery.

Going forward the children have been allocated a year group each to work with around the use of technology and blogging. They also had the idea of creating a box for any technology related queries from children that they could then respond to later.

The children have also decided to look through the Digital Leader badges on Edmodo to see if they have achieved any more of the badges available through the Digital Leader Academy Program.

The children have made great progress with their work around presenting and I look forward to working with them on the second session of the program where we will be creating video tutorials.

Digital Leaders Burley Oaks

In late January I visited Burley Oaks Primary school where I was greeted by the school lead for Digital Leaders Ms Archer who has been successfully involved in the Bradford Digital Leader programme for many years. The Digital Leaders quickly re-introduced themselves after we had met at the Innovation Centre in Bradford where they attended day 1 of the Bradford Digital Leader Academy back in October 2018.

During the first training session the children had been introduced to the Education Platform Edmodo where we discussed Online Safety issues around using a social media platform and explored the nine level one badges available for them to achieve as Digital Leaders. This visit was to find out what activities they had been involved with since the initial training day.

The school has Digital Leaders who attended the training last year in year 6 and these children from year 5 were supporting them.

Since the training the children had been focusing on Safer Internet day and had created 2 movies using this year’s Safer Internet day themes. They had created the films using the Green Screen technologies we explored during day 1 of the training. This builds on the Online Safety work delivered by last year’s Digital Leaders where the children in the school have to finish off the story captured in the two movie clips they have created. This is delivered as a competition across the school where scripts are submitted to complete the films and the Digital Leaders then choose a script to use to complete the film ending. This is a great idea and one that clearly works well across the school.

The children created a video on day 1 of the training and are looking for an assembly slot to share this with the wider school; they have a Digital Leader board displaying information about all the Digital Leaders in school in a prominent corridor so that the rest of the school know who they are and how they can support them. They also want to use the assembly to model good practice with regard to using and charging iPads across the school. The children also discussed talking to other children on Edmodo to share strategies with other schools on such issues and to get further ideas about Digital Leader projects.

The school have a well-established system where children across the school who need help with their technology / computing work can add a slip with details of their request into a Digital Leader help box and the Digital Leaders then find the child and help them during breaks and lunch times.

The Digital Leaders had supported several teachers and other pupils who had accidentally changed the orientation of a monitor through a combination of keys on the keyboard, a very useful skill to have!

The children were very enthusiastic about their roles as Digital Leaders and were looking forward to day 2 training where they will be looking at data security and passwords in particular as well as creating 3D printed Digital Leader badges. Well done Burley Oaks!

Digital Leader visit Myrtle Park

A few days ago I visited Myrtle Park Primary school where I was greeted by Mrs Glennon who is the lead for Digital Leaders at the school. The Digital Leaders all re-introduced themselves after we had met at the Innovation Centre in Bradford where they attended day 1 of the Bradford Digital Leader Academy back in October 2018.

During the first training session the children had been introduced to the Education Platform Edmodo where we discussed Online Safety issues around using a social media platform and explored the nine level one badges available for them to achieve as Digital Leaders. This visit was to find out what activities they had been involved with since the initial training day.

The children have recently created a PowerPoint they were going to show the rest of the school at an assembly and this included some information about Online Safety, a coding club the children were running

The Online Safety aspect included looking at the use of avatars (a topic we explored in our day 1 training) whether you should use your name online and age limits and further information for several social media sites.

The children have also proposed to run code clubs at school that runs on a Monday and a Friday and this was in the process of being agreed by SLT. The plan was for the Digital Leaders to deliver a session aimed at KS1 on a Monday and for KS2 on a Friday. The children had decided to use Scratch and some other online coding sites and were investigating whether Kodu would run on their school PCs. They were also considering Scratch Junior for the KS1 children.

The assembly was also an opportunity for the children to introduce themselves to the whole school and to let them know they were available to help them with anything related to the use of technology and that a notice board with further information about the Digital Leaders would be available shortly.

The children have supported children within their own class but have also been tasked to find a successful system for managing the school chrome books so that they are all put back properly after being used and are charged ready for the next class to use. The children were exploring doing some training for a few children in each class to ensure this issue was simply resolved.

The children were clearly close to achieving several of the Digital Leader level 1 badges and agreed to contact me through Edmodo in the near future to apply for these.

The children were very enthusiastic about their roles as Digital Leaders and were looking forward to day 2 training where they will be looking at data security and passwords in particular as well as creating 3D printed Digital Leader badges. Great work Myrtle Park.

Geek Squad animation session 3

Having created a simple animated sequence last week showing that a plant needed light and water to grow this week’s target was to add a suitable backdrop and show an assortment of flowers all growing at the same time to create the final animation of the three week project.

One of the great things about iPads that is often over looked is the ability to share content between devices using AirDrop. This uses Bluetooth to connect iPads in a reasonably close proximity and allow content to be shared effortlessly (click here for a quick guide to using AirDrop)

I quickly shared a backdrop of a green field with a sky line for our animations. The children then talked to each other and shared their flower animations with each other using AirDrop so that they had a selection of plants to use in their animation.

We then created a new composition in the Animation & Drawing by Do Ink app and added our background. We added the cloud and sun animations we had already created and created a 12 second animation with 2 clouds drifting across the sky for 3 seconds interspersed with 2 suns doing the same. The trick now was to get all three flowers to grow at the same time. Each plant had its own timeline and we  extended the length of the flower animation to 12 seconds by dragging the end of the object on the timeline but this had the effect of repeating the animation over the 12 seconds,  in some cases we had 1 flower growing three times in 12 seconds and another only once. This was not the outcome we wanted. I introduced the children to the Clip Properties function in the app giving us the ability to speed up or slow down the animation.

By carefully reducing the rate (effectively causing slow motion) we managed to get all three flowers to grow at the same time.

Some of the children explored this setting with the cloud and the sun making the sun shine more and the cloud rain more.

After a little exploration of this setting most of the children in the group finished their animations and were very proud of their achievements.

They exported the finished animation as a video and again using the wonders of AirDrop shared their completed work with me so that I could share them with the rest of the group. To do this I used the projection system in the room hooked up to my laptop and connected to my iPad wirelessly using another great app called AirServer. Some examples of their animations can be found below.

The children have been brilliant so far and next week we will be starting a new 3 week project using Scratch to create some simple games.






Geek Squad animation session 2


So this week we had our second Geek Squad session at Shipley C.E. Primary.

Having experimented with the basic tools of Go Ink’s animation app last week, we started to explore using multiple frames to make the animations a little longer and a little smoother. This meant using the copy frame tool a consistent number of times through the animation. We also explored deleting frames and adding more duplicated frames to our animations to make them shorter or longer as necessary.

The focus for today’s session was to create an animation showing that plants need water and sunlight to grow (as well as soil / nutrients). To do this we identified that we needed 3 elements, the sun shining, a cloud raining and a plant growing.

The example below uses 2 images with 5 frames each per image.

This cloud example I did at 1 frame intervals and it was too quick so I went back to the animation and copied each frame three times to get the effect I was after.

Finally, we created a simple animation of a flower growing. The children did some great variations on the flower demonstration I have here.

Once we were happy with all the three elements I introduced the concept of creating a composition within the app rather than the drawings we had worked on so far. This allows the various drawing elements to be dropped onto a timeline. Each element can move across the area of the page by drawing a ‘path’ for it to follow. We looked at how we could use the tracks in the software to layer our separate animated items and the following video was the outcome.

The children worked really hard this week and it is clear they are now confident with the basic tools and have a basic understanding of how to combine various individual drawing animations within a composition. We will build on this next week.

Geek Squad animation session 1

On Wednesday, I delivered my first two hour Geek Squad session at Shipley CE Bradford. The squad consisted of fourteen year 5 and 6 children with one year 4 child. After brief introductions, we discussed the theme for the day animation. The children were quite knowledgeable about how animations were made and the concept of stop frame animation.

We allocated each child an iPad and opened up the Animation & Drawing by Do Ink app . We looked and explored a few of the basic tools in the app.

We experimented with these tools and created some shapes we also wrote our names in two colours as below.

The children were pretty good drawing with the simple tools we had discussed but it was clear if the line size was quite small it was difficult to draw accurately with their fingers.

Over the summer I spent some time researching the use of a stylus / tablet pen on the devices and found a cost effective solution for this in the form of the Ciscle Disc Stylus.


This is a strange looking pen and looks a little cumbersome to use because of the plastic disc on the end of the nib. It has this disc to ensure a big enough surface area to register on the touch screen of the iPad. Because it is clear, you can see the exact drawing point of the brush tool on screen and draw / paint with much more accuracy. These pens cost about £6 each on Amazon and include a couple of spare nibs, they are designed so that the pen nib screws back in to the handle of the pen when not in use to protect it. Other solutions are available but I felt these offered the best value for money for the Geek Squad activities we are undertaking. The children loved them and found them very easy to use.

We used the pens to repeat the task of writing our names with much greater clarity and ease.

Once I was happy the children had mastered the basic tools we discussed animation and how the app creates an animation. We discussed animation being a series of images shown one after the other with a minor change from image to image and discussed the concept of onion skinning. The video below shows a very quick introduction to onion skinning.



The children experimented with the onion skinning tool and the copy frame tool to create some animations of their names as in the example below.


Finally, I asked the children to use the tools they had mastered to create some animated faces. Below are some of their animations.

Digital Leader Academy 2018 Dates now launched!

As usual, the Curriculum Innovation team will be delivering their Digital Leader Academy programme, aimed at Primary schools in the Bradford area, from September 2017. Over the past 7 years we have successfully trained more than 400 Digital Leaders.

Digital Leader Academy programme enables children to:

  • Describe and model the safe and responsible use of a range of technologies.
  • Demonstrate appropriate knowledge and understanding of specific technologies relevant to each school context.
  • Exhibit good communication skills and collaborate effectively with staff and students.
  • Understand the concept of ‘Student Voice’ and become a conduit for this across the school with reference to the use of innovative digital and mobile technology

The academy runs 3 cohorts over the year where a member of staff and 6 children attend 2 half day training sessions, a celebration event and receive a school visit. Included is full support for staff and children for a year through the online Edmodo platform and the award of Digital Leader virtual badges and certificates for achievements completed by the pupils.

Full details and registration are available here

Digital Leaders at Keighley St Andrew’s C of E Primary

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the Digital Leaders at Keighley St Andrew’s C of E Primary school. The Digital Leaders are Arisha, Arif, Laibah, Ibraheem and Saima and their lead teacher is the year 5 teacher Lauren Mooney.

The children had visited the Innovation Centre a few months earlier as part of their Digital Leader Academy training and this was my chance to see how they had been getting on.

All the children spoke about the green screen training they had received, how they had enjoyed it and intend to make use of it at school. They were also very excited that they would get the chance to do some 3D printing during the second session of training in a few weeks’ time. During session two, the children get the chance to create their own Digital Leader badges using Tinkercad that are then printed and sent out to them to wear around school.

The children have been busy looking at various aspects of Online Safety and have completed their level 1 (e)Safeguarder badge and sent me an excellent presentation to evidence the work and understanding they had achieved in this area. The children had clear strategies for dealing with any online comments and interactions they felt uncomfortable with and new how to report or block these within the systems they were using and report them to a trusted adult.

The Digital Leaders have met on numerous occasions and have now settled to meeting once a week and one of their priorities is to support the use of technology in their own classes first and then to expand this support into other classes in KS2. They are also working on creating some simple profiles of themselves to add to a Digital Leader display so that everybody in the school knows who they are and to communicate with parents about the safe and appropriate use of technology at home.

The children were all very enthusiastic and I look forward to seeing them for day 2 training.



Digital Leader Academy Plus – creating screen capture video

A few weeks ago I worked with a group of schools from the Catholic School’s Partnership delivering day 2 of the Digital Leader Academy Plus programme.

The first part of the session was given to the children to demonstrate how they had developed their presentation design and delivery skills from the first session and I have to say all presentations were very good. They had taken on board the presentation design tips we discussed and presented with much more confidence and without reading directly from the presentation!

The rest of the session was spent discussing how today we often teach ourselves new skills by watching tutorial videos on sites such as YouTube and we discussed what made a good tutorial video. This included ensuring it was not too long (ideally 2 – 3 minutes), that the instructions were spoken clearly and that the whole pace of the video was suitable for the targeted audience. The children installed Screencastify into Google Chrome and logged in using accounts set up for them. It then took us a few minutes to configure the microphone and video and get the angle of the video correct. An important aspect of creating tutorial videos is to practice exactly what you are going to capture so that when you record it there is less chance of errors. We decided to create a video showing children how they can access images that had been labelled for reuse and discussed the importance of copyright. The children all created videos that were clear and well organised. I then introduced the children to personalising the videos by adding a video of themselves in the corner of the video so the person watching the video could relate to the creator. We also discussed several Online Safety issues around this including getting permission from parents before sharing any videos online and ensuring they did not share any personal information about themselves or others in the video. We recreated the videos using the webcam footage of ourselves and reviewed them with each other.

Creating these video tutorials was fun and enabled the pupils to break down the learning they were modelling into clear steps but the whole purpose of creating these videos is to share them with others. Again we reiterated the Online Safety concerns around this and discussed some of the ways you can use YouTube to do this more safely such as disabling comments.  Screencastify allows the videos created to be uploaded to Google Drive and from here we looked at how these can be shared through a URL and how to change the permissions for access to the videos, we discussed the fact that even through a private link the video could be shared wider than the audience we had intended. Once we had a URL that was accessible to our audience we discussed where we might put it and suggestions include the school website, through school social media and the school blog. We talked about making tutorial videos about curriculum subjects and I modelled using the Screencastify to capture content created on an IWB or touchscreen to help children with maths, English and other subjects. We though the easiest way to give the children access to this content was through a QRcode and so the children create QRcodes linked to there videos and we used them to access each others videos on an iPad.

The children were fantastic throughout the session and I was impressed with their ability to learn some advanced techniques and apply them effectively.

Well done!!

Killinghall Digital Leaders get busy!

Last week I visited Killinghall Primary school to talk to their digital leaders. I was warmly met by Halimah, Elizah, Romaisa, Zara, Zuhayr, Hasnain and Mr Beaumont.

The children attended Day one of the Bradford Digital Leader Academy in October and this was a chance for me to catch up with them before the second training day.

The children enjoyed the first day’s training at the Innovation Centre and particularly enjoyed creating avatars for their Edmodo accounts and learning how to use Green Screen technology; we used the wonderful Green Screen app by Do Ink.

The children have been tasked with ensuring there is appropriate music for assemblies, they are now capable of checking the connections and settings on the music system to ensure it is set up properly. They are considering creating a simple diagram and putting labels on the connections so that if they are not available to fix the problem a member of staff should be able to follow their diagram to do so.

The school has a clavinova and all the music for assemblies and singing had been pre-recorded onto the clavinova so that the Digital Leaders can play the correct music for each song in assembly.

Several of the Digital Leaders have been supporting the teachers in their class with technology including ensuring the IWB is working properly and are helping other children during Computing lessons.

The children are in the process of developing content about themselves for a display board. The children are keen to get some badges on Edmodo and discussed several of the badges they think they might have already achieved.

We discussed creating some 3D Digital Leader badges at the second session of training and they were very excited about this.

The children have been looking at Online Safety and have been examining how they can keep themselves safe online. They will also be supporting activities around Safer Internet day on the 6th February .

The Digital Leaders at Killinghall have been very busy and I look forward to receiving further updates on their progress over the year.