In this second opinion piece, NDLF member Fearghal Kelly shares his views on how he is working towards implementing the goals of the Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy and using Glow blogs to deliver professional learning for teachers.
Fearghal Kelly works for SCEL (Scottish College for Educational Leadership). He leads an extensive engagement process across the profession on teacher leadership and is responsible for putting activities in place to support the development of teacher leadership which are informed by this engagement work.
Fearghal has previous experience beings a Biology Teacher in an East Lothian Secondary School. He also has experience as a Principal Teacher, a Local Authority Development Officer and as an advisory teacher in Namibia on behalf of Voluntary Services Overseas.
Digital Leadership Professional Learning
As a teacher, I’ve long been a keen supporter of the effective use of digital tools to enhance learning and teaching. As a result, I’m delighted to see the recent publication of the digital learning and teaching strategy for Scotland – – Enhancing Learning and Teaching Through The Use of Digital Technology. However, as I’m not currently in the classroom, what might my role be in supporting the implementation of the strategy? I will obviously have a role to play in the specific mentions of the actions for the Scottish College for Educational Leadership, but I also see a role for me in the following quote from the strategy:
“Ensure that a range of formal and informal professional learning opportunities are available to educators at all stages to equip them with the skills and confidence to utilise digital technology appropriately and effectively, in line with GTCS Standards for Career Long Professional Learning.”
In addition to providing explicit professional learning on the use of digital technology in learning and teaching, I’m a big believer in the use of digital tools to deliver professional learning for teachers. In my experience, when teachers have used digital technology in our own learning we are often more confident to use these tools with our learners and see the value in their use.
With this in mind, I am currently leading our prototype teacher leadership programme which is being facilitated entirely through Glow. Each week the participating teachers have a series of tasks which are shared with them through a Glow Blog. Every week, one of the tasks includes them posting their thoughts onto their own reflective journal, again created through Glow Blogs. They then comment on each other’s posts and are supported and challenged by a team of Critical Friends and SCEL Associates. In addition, the teachers are offered supportive tutorials with me through Glow Meet and all of this is taking place with a group of just under 50 teachers across Scotland. We also have a teacher leadership Yammer community which is open to the programme participants, and any other teachers who are interested in joining;
In addition to the leadership professional learning which is occurring through the programme, a number of the participants have commented on the fact that they have enjoyed being challenged to engage with digital professional learning in general, and Glow Blogs in particular. Many have also appreciated the opportunity to share and discuss their practice with teachers throughout Scotland. As this is a prototype programme, I was particularly interested to see the extent to which this form of leadership professional learning could be facilitated online and I have been astounded by the engagement thus far. This suggests to me that we could be making even greater use of digital tools to facilitate professional learning for teachers as a route to supporting the implementation of the strategy.
If you are interested in being involved in the next iteration of our Teacher Leadership Programme, check out our website as applications are now open for supporters of the programme and will open soon for participants: http://www.scelscotland.org.uk/whats-happening/
We hope you enjoyed this piece, share your comments below or on the Digital Learning & Teaching Yammer group through Glow