Digital Leaders in Education ProgrammeWISE KIDS are delighted to be short-listed for this year’s ISPA Awards – we have been nominated as one of the top 5 entries in the UK under the Safety category – for our Digital Leader in Education Teacher Award Programme which was trialled with secondary teachers from Caerphilly County Borough Council.

The programme aims to develop teacher’s digital competence, leadership to create a whole-school culture of digital citizenship, digital literacy and wellbeing. This innovative programme involves 5 core training days (split as 3+2 days with teachers developing ‘projects’ in their schools in between) as well as ongoing online support.  Teachers attain their ‘award’ by developing projects and effective practices in their school (with pupils and staff) which promote digital competence and digital citizenship.

The award programme promotes:

  • digital skills and digital literacy (knowledge and skills to use digital platforms effectively, creatively and safely, as well as a balanced understanding of youth culture and practice in relation to digital platforms, social media and gaming)
  • youth engagement and digital citizenship (which is defined as creative, empowered, safe and responsible use of technology)
  • wellbeing (self-awareness, self-confidence and values like respect, responsibility and kindness) across the school

All attendees undertake group and individual reflective tasks exploring new pedagogies and documenting their own learning and expertise, using multi-media (text, graphical, audio, video materials) and ‘live blogging’ on a collaborative, public-facing Digital Leader in Education programme blog: See: http://digleadersinedu.blogspot.com .

Dr Sangeet Bhullar, Executive Director, WISE KIDS, says: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for this award. Our Digital Leaders in Education award programme recognises the importance of both developing teacher’s digital competence in a quickly evolving digital landscape – as well as engaging pupils to develop their digital citizenship, and teachers have told us how this programme has helped them immensely in these areas.

Mr Stuart Sheen, head of IT and Computing at Rhymney Comprehensive School, and one of the teachers who participated in the programme said, “Being part of this programme has helped us achieve many things in our school – we have won a national film competition on online safety, created brochures, undertaken and up-scaled Safer Internet Day activities, developed teacher confidence in effective use of iPads across departments, cascaded staff training resulting in more staff using social media effectively; trialled effective use of Iris Connect in  performance management and peer-buddy systems.” He said, these ‘small but often steps’ have been inspired in large part from his participation in the ‘Digital Leader in Education’ award programme.

Mrs Sarah Ellis, Principal Education Psychologist from Caerphilly County Borough Council who organised the pilot programme said, “We recognise the need for teachers to have up-to-date knowledge on digital technologies and wellbeing, and how best to promote safe and effective use of digital technologies, so we have been delighted to see teachers using the knowledge gained in schools.”

The programme, now in its second year with a new round of Digital Leaders being trained, continues to attract interest from other regions.

The other organisations in the ISPA shortlist for the ‘safety category’ are the UK Safer Internet centre, the Internet Watch Foundation, Exa Networks, F-Secure and Talk Straight / Schools Broadband.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on the 7th of July 2016.