The phrase I've used is something we often say in Special Education- we are constantly an afterthought in mainstream educational thought so we often have to adapt new projects and governmental orders to our context- e.g. Curriculum orders, Assessment for Learning etc- hence the round pegs and square holes comment.
I appreciate this whole project can't be SEN focused and it is tricky to translate some of the digital leaders content to my special school environment as our pupils are far from being independent learners or being able to access computers in the traditional sense of the word.
We are also as a school already involved in many focused and specialised projects - which I suppose in context and principle are giving pupils better access to the digital world- we are pushing the use of Eyegaze technology to our most severely physically disabled pupils to enable them to access content independently for example.
Most of the emerging technologies we are also trialling have at their core a focus on increasing pupils' independent access to the outside world and enabling them to affect their physical environment- this is true of the Kinect, iPad, Leap Motion and Eyetracking work.
I see a large part of this as coming under the umbrella of 'positive use of technology and pupil created content'. This fits in with our current focus in school on Rights Respecting Schools and pupil voice.
My plan is therefore to continue this work- although I am going to add two new elements:
I am going to encourage teachers to get pupils to create their own video content- first off our link class in Cwm Ifor Primary is going to make a video guide to Trinity Fields to share with the link school. Also our head boy and girl are going to make a video themselves to put on the school website- this will be only gently guided by a member of staff. The staff member will help with the technology but the content will be primarily pupil driven and created.
I would also aim to increase the breadth of information that the school shares with it's community partners and parents- so I would like to increase the use we make in school of online media such as videos and also Twitter. I would like the SLT to be able to tweet about the school day- but also the school council, the school choir, the head boy and girl, the cafe staff etc. The first step in this is getting leadership approval, which is almost in place, the second is getting parental consent- which is the next step. I have liaised with another SEN school in the UK that has already created a social media permission slip for parents to sign- so I will adapt this. Then hopefully we can have more pupil created content.
Trinity Fields School and Resource Centre