Menston Digital Leaders off to a flying start!

I had the great pleasure of visiting Digital Leaders at Menston Primary recently and discussing what activities they had been engaged with since attending day one of the Bradford Digital Leader Academy programme. Oscar, Ellie, Sam, James, Alfie and Imogen were all excited to share their experiences and had clearly been very busy in the few weeks since the training.

They had decided E-safety was an area they wanted to focus on and had split into three subgroups looking to research and provide information to KS1, years 3 & 4 and years 5 & 6.


The year 5 & 6 focus is around use of social media and they had identified Snapchat and Facebook as specific content they wanted to research further. They were keen to help children manage and protect their personal information and understand the importance of talking to a trusted before sharing information online.

The year 3 and 4 emphasis was on playing online games safely and the importance of using nicknames and avatars to protect their real world identity.

In year 1 they were investigating simple tips to help children use the Internet safely and access appropriate content.

Once they have finished their research and development they will create resources and presentations to share with each of their target audiences through a face to face activity directly with the classes in each target group. I look forward to finding out how these activities went through Edmodo.

The Digital Leaders have been giving the responsibility of being the school ‘blogging team’. They will work with teachers and pupils across the school creating blog posts showcasing the activities the children are engaged with at school aimed at parents. They will also support this information sharing agenda by creating content for a regular year 4 newsletter.

The children meet on a weekly basis to share ideas and work on their planned activities and have shared with their year group their roles and responsibilities. They are also in the process of developing Digital Leader badges and Lanyards that will identify them throughout schools as Digital Leaders.

I was very impressed with the quality and the quantity of the work undertaken at Menston Primary school in such a short time period and look forward to regular updates and awarding Digital Leader badges and certificates in Edmodo throughout the year.

Well done Menston Digital Leaders!

Digital Leader Academy 2015

I was very pleased to welcome Menston Primary, Myrtle Park Primary and St Paul’s C.E. Primary to the Innovation Centre yesterday as they began their journey’s to become digital leaders. The children shared their visions of what a digital leader is and we cross-referenced this against the three themes and nine strands we use within our Academy programme as below.

picture of DL poster









Having discussed their roles and responsibilities we looked at a selection of technology and they had to review the technology and describe its potential uses in school. One pair of children from each school then shared their findings to the rest of the group.

After the break we introduced (e)Safeguarding with a focus on protecting their personal data and being aware of what information they share with who on-line and the importance of discussing this with a trusted adult at all times.

Finally we logged on to the wonderful free educational social media platform Edmodo. Here I have a Digital Leader group made up of a number of schools where children can record their progress and successes as digital leaders and share them safely with me, their school mates and other schools. We also have a series of on-line badges linked to the nine themes that children can apply for as they meet the criteria of each of the themes. They can upload evidence and commentary to show they have achieved the on-line badge and then receive the badge on their Edmodo profile and a physical certificate. This encourages the children to develop further skills and knowledge as a digital leader and be acknowledged within Edmodo by others for their achievements.

If you would like to get involved with the Digital Leader Academy please click here.

Bradford Coderdojo is back!

After a long summer break it was great to host Bradford’s 9th Coderdojo at the Innovation Centre. Having been in existence now for a year we are developing a hard core of regular parents and children who come down on a Saturday morning once a month to engage in some personal coding projects or to learn about some new technology. This week I decided to unleash the Lego EV3s. At the centre we have a number of EV3 kits already made up into simple vehicles that the children can begin to control via the software on the laptops. This can then be downloaded onto the EV3 to work without the need of a USB lead. We looked at some very simple coding to control the speed and direction of the vehicle and then set them the challenge of creating some code to drive their vehicle through several green symbols on one of our coding mats. I thought that this would engage the children for about 45 minutes but was surprised with their enthusiasm and desire to complete the task as efficiently as they could. There is something about controlling a real life physical device that engages and motivates children more than doing coding in a virtual on-screen environment. As the pictures show the need and desire to debug their code effectively using physical devices seems more natural than with with on-screen only activities. The next Coderdojo is on the 24th October with full details here come and join us!

(e)Safeguarding Digital Leaders

We have been running our Primary Digital Leader Academy for many years now and within that program we have a strand on (e)Safeguarding ensuring the Digital Leaders have a good knowledge of the E-safety relevant to the Primary curriculum.

I recently carried out an E-Safety Mark assessment at Titus Salt school and they were successful in achieving the E-Safety Mark. Amongst the good practice at the school was their excellent use of E-Safety Digital Leaders. They not only supported children at the school, but have created and delivered materials and sessions to parents and feeder primary schools.

childnet dig leader programmeChildnet have been investigating the use of Digital Leaders in a similar way to Titus Salt and recently launched their Digital Leader Programme aimed at Secondary schools to champion digital citizenship and digital creativity. The Programme launches in September 2015  with the key benefits to students and schools detailed below.

  • Empower youth voice
  • Make e-safety learning fun and effective
  • Pupils report a positive impact including safer on-line behaviours and increased
    e-safety knowledge
  • Digital Leaders gain key skills such as leadership, communication and team work
  • Engage and empower parents and staff
  • Stay up to date with the latest e-safety news and resources
  • Evidence of impact so you are ready for inspections
  • Helping you embed e-safety throughout the school and work towards outstanding
    e-safety practice

If you are interested in the Digital Leader Programme please let us know as we would like to capture the impact of the programme on this blog.

The game’s afoot!

This week saw the launch of our new interactive multimedia detective adventure based on our detective hero ‘Sherkey Flatts’ and his challenge of solving ‘the mystery of the disappearing iPad.’ This is a web based interactive adventure allowing children to access ‘clues’ from a variety of digital media and using a lot of inference and deduction to attempt to solve the mystery. This adventure is aimed at Y5 and Y6 children and will be run for the next four weeks.

Sherkey Flatts and his brilliant assistant Javeira Voltson need your help!

sherkey voltson







They have been asked to solve the mystery of the disappearing iPad and are looking for volunteers to help them.

Glenn Thompson has contacted the police to report having his iPad stolen. He was at the dentists and left it by the side of the chair in the waiting room. There were four other people in the waiting room and the receptionist Sandra Rhodes. Your task, should you have the courage to help our detective duo, is to work with Sherkey and Javeria to solve the case and get the iPad back to Glenn as quickly as possible.

Sherkey believes this could be one of his biggest challenges yet, bigger even than the mystery of the dog that spoke Spanish and the case of the baby who sang like Elvis. He is very keen to enrol the help of schools across the region to help him as associate detectives but he wants to make sure that the detectives have good mental agility and excellent logical reasoning skills. This week’s activities are a test to see if you have what it takes to become an associate detective to help solve the crime.

Further details are available here.

Build your Raspberry Pi and get Coding!

Physical Computing at the Innovation Centre Bradford on PhotoPeach

Last week existing and prospective Digital Leaders from St John’s CE Primary School attended the Innovation Centre Bradford with their teacher Mr Burton. The school has a well deserved reputation for innovative use of technology and pupils play a big part in teaching their peers and teachers how to use new and emerging technology safely and purposefully. With this in mind the children attended the Innovation Centre to take part in a day of Physical Computing. At the heart of this is the Raspberry Pi. Each small group had to identify the parts in the Pi and work out what their function was as well as classify them as input or output devices. When it came to assembling it all the children had their Raspberry Pi up and running in less than ten minutes, the fastest group managed this in two!

The operating system we used on the Raspberry Pi s was called Kano this is a free, open source operating system created by the people who make the Kano, a child friendly way of buying the Raspberry Pi with almost everything you need to operate it. The great thing about the Kano OS is that once you have built it you can customise your avatar and unlock points and costumes by completing challenges. These can involve coding using Python or Python blocks in Pong, Minecraft or Snake to name three. The children thoroughly enjoyed working through the challenges to create the algorithms to meet the challenges.

Later in the day we used Picoboards and Makey Makeys with laptops, although we could have run these through the Raspberry Pi too. One of the highlights was using the electrical current sensotrs to generate different music loops when different fruits were touched. The chiuldren showed amazing skills during the day and worked through the challenges in a logical and patient way. They constantly exhibited the skills of teamwork and resilience when met with problems and showed what superb skills they had which explains why the Digital Leaders at St John’s Primary are of such a high standard.

The children left with a couple of Picoboards to borrow for a few weeks to build on the skills they gained during the day. If you’d like your children to take part in a day like this please contact the Innovation Centre or email me.

Digital Leaders go from Strength to Strength!

The Innovation Centre held its second training day for Cohort 2 of the Digital Leader Programming on 10 June. This was an opportunity for our newest Digital Leaders (DLs) to share what they had been doing in schools since the last training day and learn some new skills that they could pass on out school.

The Digital Leaders prepared a short presentation which they then shared with the rest of the group. The work that the DLs had been doing since the last training day was very varied. Some DLs had been working with specific year group while others had been teaching teachers in staff meetings!

The thing that all the DLs had in common was their confidence and also their ability to talk about all aspects of Computing. In fact one thing that most DLs agreed upon is that the most important attributes that a Digital Leader should possess was confidence.

Some of the areas that they been involved with included working with individual teachers, running staff meetings, auditing teacher’s skills and passing on information and training  to other children. Most of the DLs had regular meeting, usually at lunchtime where they planned their next pieces of work. One group was reviewing educational websites and adding this to the schools newsletter.

Some of the DLs who are currently in Y6 were interviewing their successors in a rigorous interview process.

As part of their training the DLs learned about cloud storage and its uses and potential pitfalls and we finished the day with a session on password security which the DLs will be taking back to their respective schools.

It was a great pleasure to welcome so many keen and dedicated DLs to the centre and we look forward to the program progressing!


Digital Leaders at Savile Park

I had the great pleasure of visiting Savile Park primary school in Halifax recently to meet with the children and staff involved with our Digital Leader Academy programme.  It was a wet and windy miserable morning but I quickly warmed up due to the enthusiastic welcome I received at the school. The children are part of our 2nd cohort for this year and this visit was a follow up to the initial training they had received in March.

The 5 digital leaders (DLs) present were from year 4 and appeared a little shy to start with but soon relaxed to explain all the wonderful activities they had been engaged with. Each DL had become a mentor for a year 1 child to help teach them how to use specific technologies relevant to their needs, each week they worked with the child in an after-school club. Each year 1 child chosen works with their mentor over a set time period after which the DL is given a new pupil to mentor. The children were very excited about having this responsibility and explained that besides the obvious technology skills they had developed they had also learnt to be more patient, become better listeners and clearer communicators.

The DLs had also delivered bespoke ICT CPD to teachers; each member of staff had completed an ICT skills audit and they had then been assigned a DL to support the delivery of appropriate CPD to meet their needs. This had proved popular with staff and the DLs and included training on email and Scratch.

The children are presently in the process of preparing a presentation to deliver to over 200 pupils in an assembly and I look forward to hearing and feeding back on that assembly. Presently the work they undertake is showcased via a display board in school but they are also looking to utilise the school class blogs to share their work digitally.

Looking further forward the teacher DL lead (Jayne Oldridge) explained that this year’s DL would engage with a recruitment process using existing DLs to advertise, short list, interview and appoint a second school cohort of DLs in September with the vision that there would be DLs available in years 4, 5 and 6 in the near future.

I would like to thank the school, Jayne and the DLs for a very enjoyable morning and hope to have the opportunity to catch up with them in the future to see how their recruitment drive progresses. We are also in discussion with the school to allow a few of their DLs to present at our bMobLe14 conference so that they can share their DL journey with others.

For further information about DLs at Savile Park please contact –

Digital Leaders at NAACE

Tomorrow the Curriculum Innovation consultants make our annual pilgrimage to the NAAACE conference this year held in Nottingham. This year is particularly interesting as we have been short listed for another NAACE Impact Award and we are also presenting a session on the very successful Digital Leader Academy we have been running for the past 3 years. The session will allow us to showcase the fantastic Digital Leader work being undertaken by schools across the Bradford area. We have helped train and accredit over 350 Digital Leaders and 100 plus Media Literacy Digital Leaders in the past 3 years. Below is the presentation we are showing. I will post a blog update after the conference.