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 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 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.

Digital Leader visit Burley Oaks Primary

I recently visited Burley Oaks Primary school to talk to their Digital Leaders. I was enthusiastically met by Daniel, Gracie, Zach, Megan S, Megan R and Ms Archer.

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 have been helping the Year 1 and Year 2 children with their computing curriculum work, they have created a help box where any children can request support from the Digital Leaders about a specific subject or technology and the Digital Leaders meet them at lunch times to help them. This is a great idea and one I have not heard before but will be sharing with my other Digital Leader schools.

The children have been trained to use the photocopier / printer and they help teachers with their printing and photocopying needs on a daily basis.

One of the big tasks the children have been set is to manage the photos on the iPads and this has involved going through them all and deleting old photos from the iPads.

At the Innovation Centre, we recently tested an app for sharing content, including photos, from one device to another called ZAPYA, this uses Bluetooth and seemed to work really well. It looks an ideal App for schools to use to move content from their iPads to laptops, PCs or other devices quickly and simply.

The children enjoyed the first day’s training at the Innovation Centre and particularly enjoyed learning how to use Green Screen technology; we used the wonderful Green Screen app by Do Ink.  The school has just had some big Green Screen curtains made and the Digital Leaders have been working on scripts for some Green Screen filming to make a film for Safer Internet Day on the 6th February ).

We talked about using Edmodo  a bit more to share the work they had successfully delivered in school with the other Digital Leaders across Bradford. We also looked the Online Badges we use and decided the children were ready for three of four of the badges already.

The children have already created a Digital Leader notice board including details of themselves created with Pic Collage and this is where the younger children post their requests for help. The children are also training ‘Digital Deputies’ who are used to help manage ICT equipment across school making sure it is ready and charged for use in school.

The Digital Leaders at Burley Oaks have been very busy and I look forward to receiving further updates on their progress over the year and talking to them in further detail during day 2 training.

Digital Leader visit St William’s Catholic Primary

Last week I visited St William’s Catholic Primary school to talk to their digital leaders. I was warmly met by Nicholas, Musa, Hannah, Harry, Wiki, Reece and Mrs Battersby.

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 learning how to use Green Screen technology; we used the wonderful Green Screen app by Do Ink.

The school has a Green Screen wall ready to go and the children are still discussing how they might utilise this technology throughout school in the future.

Some of the Digital Leaders were finalising plans to run a computer club after school on a Friday for children in KS2. They were going to help children utilise some of the skills based software used in school and deliver some sessions around Online Safety.

The children are involved in a Minecraft Club where they are given themes and then they have to create worlds based on the theme. This is a competition for the best three worlds each week. This sounds very interesting and I am hoping to attend one of the clubs to see this first hand.

The Innovation Centre is running Minecraft session during half term week in February 2018 and you can book tickets here

The children talked about Online Safety and putting together some resources for Safer Internet Day on the 6th February 

In the year 5 and 6 base there is going to be an Internet café, this is where all the ICT equipment is stored and the children have responsibility for managing laptops and iPads across school and making sure they are suitably charged and in the correct places for use. The children are also in the process of creating a display board to highlight details of the Digital Leaders for the rest of the school to see. The children are to deliver a presentation to the rest of the school in the coming weeks introducing themselves as Digital Leaders.  They were a little nervous about this and presenting to the rest of the Digital Leaders on the second day of training at the Innovation Centre and they have been practicing for this over recent weeks.

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

Digital Leaders: What makes a good presentation?

As part of our Digital Leader Academy we have online badges accredited to Digital Leaders for effective presenting. In order to achieve the Presenter Level 1 Badge the children need to be able to plan, create, deliver and review an effective presentation(s). In order to achieve this they need to be able to identify good /bad elements of presenting and presentations.

This is often perceived as one of the easier badges to achieve as children are often given opportunities to create and present through their regular curriculum activities but teachers need to be aware that the standard of presentation creation and delivery to achieve this badge is high. Presentations should have a consistent design / theme and any effects or music need to be suitably used to enhance the presentation. Often using less effects is more effective. It is key to remember that a good presentation will engage and educate the audience relevant to the aims / objectives of the presentation.  I often see children presenting where they have a decent presentation and then read slides from the presentation to the audience and this is received with warm applause and positive comments. Reading a set of slides to an audience who can already read is not good presenting! The expectations of this badge are higher than that and the children should understand small amounts of well chosen text and interesting images are often the best means to capture the attention of the audience. The true skill of a good presenter is to have strong dialogue with the audience using the presentation content to support or model what they are saying whilst maintaining strong eye contact where possible. It also takes lots of practice rehearsing and delivering presentations to reach the standard expected.

Peer and staff evaluation of their presentations and delivery is crucial to achieve this badge and in the schools who have worked on this effectively the standard of the presentations and presenting is of a significantly high standard and this builds confidence and self-esteem in the Digital Leaders.

The following video clip is useful to help the children identify and evaluate elements of a poor presentation. They can then reflect on these to create criteria for a good presentation by suggesting how it could be done better.