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5 top tips for embedding digital skills in the curriculum

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5 top tips for embedding digital skills in the curriculum

By Scott Hayden, Digital Innovation Specialist, BCoT

Be led by the pedagogy – Speak to the teachers and co-design alongside them (not at them). The teachers are the subject experts and the specification is the guide – to embed digital skills in their curriculum it has to be done organically and relate to outcomes. Tokenistic crow-barring in great apps or VR will distract rather than augment what we are all in service to – the learning. Defer to for their expertise and show that you will support them consistently.

Refer to industry examples – If a particular course means that learners will be expected to use effective verbal communications in their professions as a large part of their role, ask the staff to try vlogs, podcasts, live streams, or screencasts to demonstrate their learning. It might be more appropriate than another Word document. Tying the tech into what students will be expected to do in their jobs, while gaining criteria, and engaging the students is the aim.

Go into staff-rooms and classrooms – everyone in education is busy… so go to them instead to help. Bring them a tea and some biscuits, hot desk in their space, become their Teaching Assistant, shadow their day, and begin to understand their workflow and identify ways to streamline and improve the way they work. This will help you to give them quick wins like showing them canned email responses, how to reference neatly and effectively to save time, or creating a self-marking quiz that gives them back an evening with their family. Being their ally is crucial.

Listen to staff – Ask them how they feel about using technology and create Empathy Maps based on their responses, to help you shift your own perspective / bias so you can truly learn what they need. For example – what do they think and feel about using the tools you show them? How do they think tech is used by teens? What are their opinions/ views on tech? Are they worried, embarrassed about getting it wrong? This will help you start the conversation and continue to build a relationship where you can be of value and always led by them. Defer to their expertise, make them feel in charge, and clarify that as a team you will make their job easier.

Listen to students – Go in to classes, sit in lessons, chat with the students, join in the activities, and create Empathy Maps of them to help you realise what they are worried, anxious or interested about. Ask them how they like to learn using technology, what they are watching on YouTube, what they are listening to, who they admire, what they want to do more of in lessons. This will help you build a picture of what the ‘user’ needs and how to meet it with staff.

It all starts with empathising with the staff – showing you care and collaborating with them to create great lessons that use whatever tool is needed.

I’m a teaching geek – not a technology geek.

Learning is all that matters.

Hear more from Scott at the AoC Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference on Thursday 5 December

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