Digital Leader Academy – Day 2

I’m writing this the day after our first every Digital Leader Academy ended and am reflecting on something I heard today, which has stuck with me and rings true. Today, I had the privilege today to be invited to an Apple Leadership day, where I got the opportunity to listen to many inspirational speakers. One of these was Abdul Chohan, from ESSEA Academy in Bolton; Abdul is an award-winning Learning Technology consultant based in the UK who has pioneered the embedded use of learning technologies for students and teachers alike. Abdul discussed the six most expensive words in Education ‘We’ve always done it that way’, something I’ve not heard once from teachers or children over the last two days, which surprised me.  Instead I have seen and heard children igniting teacher’s enthusiasm with how they can support staff with technology to enhance learning, regardless of how much or how little technology they have.

Day 2 of the Digital Leader Academy was amazing! But what made it so amazing? The enthusiastic children! It was one of those days where I felt extremely proud and privileged to be a teacher, observing children working collaboratively with each other, and taking a risk, was just fantastic to see.

Six Primary and one secondary school attended, with children who were excited to start their journey as a Digital Leader. By lunch every school had a vision, arranged roles and responsibilities for each leader, designed a digital leader logo and set up a blog. My proudest moment had to be when I saw primary pupils showing secondary how to code the Spheros with Tickle App on the iPads; this highlights how we need to look at transition and middle schools.

Lunch was just as tasty as day one with all adults ready for a sleep afterwards! Our chef did work at Buckingham Palace after all! Again, it was great for teachers to network and form new contacts to share good practice. After lunch children had a quick ‘Kahoot’ and then looked at using ‘Shadow Puppets’, ‘MSQRD’ and ‘PicsArt’ to screencast for their blog. By the end of the day, it was great to so many enthusiastic Digital Leader’s heads buzzing with ideas of everything they want to start once back at school, so much for starting small and keeping it simple!

The 2 days could not have been better and I cannot thank all staff and children enough for coming; I know this now sounds like an Oscar speech now but… For us as at Layton Primary School, it was great to have other schools through our door to see what we are all about. For me, I wanted to share my passion of how Digital Leaders can support reluctant staff and enhance learning, which I think came across. The power of Twitter ran through the day sharing with staff how imperative it is for FREE CPD and also highlighted that without Twitter I would never have met Mark Anderson and had the opportunity to work with him. Thank you Mark, you are a legend!

Steve Jobs said ‘“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” So, what’s next… TeachMeets for Digital Leaders to share what has worked well, teachers collaborating (John Hattie’s new No.1), more Digital Leader Academies with other LEAs and to keep beginning…

Mrs Jones 🙂

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Digital Leader Academy – Day 1

After several months of planning, today saw ‘Day 1’ of our Digital Leader Academy, which was hosted by the one and only (drum roll please)… Mr Mark Anderson (ICTEvangelist). Having successfully established the role of Digital Leaders at Layton, I’m passionate about sharing their success with other schools and the impact they have on using technology in school to support learning and staff! The aim of the Digital Leader Academy is to support other schools in setting up Digital Leaders and start a support network for the leaders and staff to meet regularly to share ideas.

Today we had five schools attend: Revoe, Claremont, Boundary, St Kentigern’s and Haweside. The day started by discussing roles and responsibilities of Digital Leaders, children were given time to discuss roles they wish to take on, and boy did they want to do every job going! I wish you could bottle children’s enthusiasm!

By 10.15am adults were in need of coffee, wondering how they will find time for all the clubs etc their new leader’s want to run! After break children were given time to design a logo for their new Digital Leader’s group, there were some amazing designs, which were used using PicsArt and Typorama. Next, was the challenge of setting up a Digital Leader blog for each school. Mark showed everyone SeeSaw, which empowers pupils of any age to independently document what they are learning at school. Pupils capture learning with photos and videos of their work, or by adding digital creations. Everything gets organized in one place and is accessible to teachers from any device. Pupil’s work can then be shared with classmates, parents, or published to a class blog. School’s then used WordPress to set up their blogs – St Kentigern’s have never had a blog and were super proud of theirs

A quick Kahoot quiz then followed, as schools hadn’t heard of it! Children were again buzzing with ideas of how it could be used in lessons. If teachers want to know what to teach then involve children and ask them for ideas… I shared how we used Minecraft for genres in literacy and Maths, every school was then pleading with their teachers to use it.

Lunch saw the largest amount of food, Layton certainly know how to put on a good spread! It was great to sit with other teachers to discuss and share ideas and also how we’re going to continue working together after today. Enthusiasm continued all afternoon with the Digital Leaders using the Shadow Puppet App to create screen casts and put on their new blogs. The Gazette photographer popped in too, to share with everyone the fantastic work children are (and will be) carrying out within our schools. By 2.45pm the Digital Leaders were exploding with ideas and raring to get back to school to: lead clubs, run staff meetings and blog! Staff didn’t get away lightly and were set the challenge of setting up Twitter accounts for the best, free CPD they can have. If staff took just one thing away it would be to set up a Twitter account!

I cannot wait for tomorrow and Day 2 where we have another six Primary schools and one Secondary school attending the Digital Leader Academy. I’m so excited to be on the Digital Leader journey and see where it goes next; through Twitter I have come across many inspirational Digital Leader advocates such as: Sheli Blackburn, Simon Johnson, Louise Stone, Alan Frame, Chris Sharples, Rebecca Layton, James Gibbons, to name just a few, and today would not have happened without meeting Mark Anderson, through Twitter. I feel today has been the start of a new partnership with other schools and look forward to our first #KidsMeet and who knows what the future holds for our inspirational Digital Leaders.

I will add all photos tomorrow…

Mrs Jones 🙂



Digital Leader Academy Day One

Today Layton School hosted their first Digital Leader Academy with Mark Anderson. We were really excited to meet so many digital leaders from local schools who are all relatively new to the role and are keen to establish themselves. Today we were joined by Claremont, St. Kentigern’s, Revoe, Boundary and Hawes Side. We have created a “DL Academy Links” button at the top of this page where you can visit the blogs for each of these schools and share ideas. Today’s visitors covered everything from the role of a digital leader to creating a free wordpress blog, along with trying our lots of Apps including Typorama and Shadow Puppet Edu, to be creative and then share their learning journey.

Blackpool Gazette even popped in for a quick photo session!

We can’t wait for the second round with new faces tomorrow.

Mrs Maddocks


dl academy tues picsart