Webinar Review: Digital

This webinar took place on Thursday 25 February, 11:00-12:00

Context

Technological advances have soared throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. This webinar discussed ways that technology can be utilised both online and offline, with both presentations expressing a clear objective of enhancing learning experiences for all.

Beatlie Additional Support Needs (ASN) Campus

West Lothian Council (WLC), NORR Architects and Wardell Armstrong Landscape Architects are a few of the bodies and organisations collaborating on the internal and external components of the Beatlie ASN Campus, located in North Livingston. This project is part of the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme and seeks to improve Beatlie’s physical learning environment. As this is a setting for children with severe and complex ASN, creating spaces which offer inclusive and empowering learning experiences, integrating both technology and design, are key objectives.

Advanced Technology and Exciting Learning Experiences

Beatlie’s existing infrastructure is dated with a cluttered interior. This project aims to create sophisticated, yet flexible, multi-sensory and multi-purpose spaces which promote collaboration and independence. Through manipulating walls and the building’s structure and layout, this will enable a stronger visual connection between indoor and outdoor settings, storage space and better acoustics. Although interior design plays a significant role in enhancing learning experiences, so does technology. WLC follow an ‘anytime, anywhere, anyone, learning’ policy which encourages all children to use digital devices to learn anywhere, at any time. Utilising digital resources which generate a two-way interaction, between the technology and the user, is not only stimulating and engaging, but also offers choice, independence and empowerment. Virtual reality devices or backlit panels on walls or ceilings may stimulate all, or most, of our senses. For instance, vision via graphics provoking imagination and fascination, or smell through connection to the building’s ventilation system. Mobile sit/stand desks may additionally offer benefits; they are battery powered, provide charging portals, are adjustable in terms of height so suit whatever activity the child is undertaking.

E-Sgoil’s Lockdown Legacy

This presentation explored how the digital arena can unlock learning opportunities for all. E-Sgoil is an organisation who create online learning environments and were established 4 years ago. They offered a digital solution to address a local problem in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, with an aim to provide equitable access to the school curriculum in turn enhancing learning opportunities. Covid-19 has sparked not only recognition of online learning, but that it could also now be considered a necessity for achieving rich, quality learning experiences which address both achievement and attainment. Students in mainland towns and cities have subsequently registered to partake in e-Sgoil’s learning programmes throughout Covid-19, ranging from pre-school learning to older pupils at S6 level. The academic opportunities that e-Sgoil offer, such as Lockdown Live which is an interactive platform providing a range of lessons to support learners, have proved to be successful over the last year. E-Sgoil have also created an employability skills programme, due to rising levels of youth unemployment throughout Covid-19. In April 2021, they hope to make this programme a formal, certified course. E-Sgoil believe in a learner-centred, flexible approach which promotes accessibility, equity and opportunities for all, especially beyond Covid-19.

Written by Holly Passmore, Thought Leadership Consultant, Step Connect2

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