The potential of digital innovation in learning and teaching
The Silver Winners of the 2022 Pearson National Teaching Awards, from Muirtown Primary School, shared their experiences with digital innovation in learning and teaching with Education Committee Members.
Head Teacher at the school, Janice MacRae said: “The last 4 years has seen a transformation in the ways in which we have utilised digital technology with Muirtown Primary School. The allocation of Chromebooks, along with the unprecedented lockdown in 2020, provided us with the means and impetus to broaden our digital skills as a school, in order to provide a rounded and meaningful home learning experience for our pupils, in exceptional and often turbulent circumstances.
“Not only did staff dedicate time to undertaking an intensive program of online training sessions throughout the lockdown period, but we also sought to use digital technology to streamline administrative processes so that pupils could participate in the life and culture of the school, even from a distance.”
One of the ways the school utilised digital tools to maintain the sense of community at school during lockdown was by encouraging pupils to share their out of school achievements through submitting a digital form with videos and photo attachments. These achievements were then shown and celebrated by all at virtual assemblies. The school’s annual ‘Muirtown’s Got Talent Competition’ also made the move to digital during this time as pupils again submitted their entries and then voted for their favourite act. This digital initiative was recently recognised by Google during their World Teacher’s Day announcement.
Miss MacRae continued: “We quickly recognised the potential of this means of data collection and have used Google Forms as means of parental engagement, staff feedback and pupil voice throughout the lockdown period and beyond.
“In the absence of shows and concerts, Muirtown Primary endeavoured to provide entertainment using digital platforms. We designed and created an interactive advent calendar using Google Sites. Each class prepared 2 performances and the remaining slots were filled by pupils submitting auditions entries, via a Google Form. Again, this provided a sense of community, particularly for pupils and classes who were isolating intermittently throughout the term.”
Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson welcomed the presentation, he said: “Muirtown Primary School is a great example of the potential that digital innovation has to enhance learning and teaching in schools when used creatively. As we have heard today, the embedding of digital technology into the classroom has been particularly beneficial for all children and young people, and in particular ASN pupils. I would like to thank the staff and pupils of Muirtown Primary School for sharing their experiences with us this afternoon, it is not surprising that they have received national recognition for their innovation of these tools and are the deserving recipients of several national awards.”
Muirtown Primary School has received a number of national awards in recognition of their work to promote Digital Learning. These include the Digital Schools Scotland Award, the Digital Wellbeing Award, the Cyber Resilience and Internet Safety Award and they have been appointed as a Mentor School for Digital Schools Scotland, supporting other schools across the country on their digital journey.
Beth Fuller, Principal Teacher at the school, has been awarded the Scottish Education Award for Digital Innovation and went on to win a Silver UK Pearsons Award for Digital Innovation. She is also a finalist for ‘Teacher of the Year’ in the Highland Hero Awards, which the school is also a finalist for in the ‘School of the Year’ category.