Sandfields Comprehensive School
School name: Sandfields Comprehensive School
County: Port Talbot
Headteacher: Mr M R Gibbon
Number of pupils: 650
A Port Talbot Secondary school believed they were “doing a good job” of educating pupils on the importance of e-safety - until they took part in the pilot of the Digital Literacy Resource and 360o E-Safety tool.
Head of ICT at Sandfields Comprehensive School, Paul Watkins, said participating in the pilot was an ideal opportunity to grasp better understanding of Digital Literacy.
The resource was piloted across KS3 and KS4 ICT classes. “I didn’t know what to expect from using the Digital Literacy Resource, nor could I have imagined the outcomes,” said Paul.
“As a department we put great emphasis on the importance of E-Safety, teaching about the dangers that can be found on line and believed that we did a good job of educating pupils in this area.
“However, through using this resource we found ourselves lacking. Where the approach had been a focus on the dangers found on line, we had not been focusing on the importance of citizenship within the global community that the internet makes up part of.
“Those lessons focusing on digital citizenship and the importance of how to conduct yourself in the online community encouraged profitable discussion, where pupils who may have previously remained silent in lessons spoke up providing the class with their views and opinions.”
Classes started to discuss the deeper issues that are affected by online behaviour and many pupils stated they needed to change the way they behave on line. The thought of a digital footprint certainly got them thinking.
“As a school we encourage our pupils to be good citizens within the community that they live in, now we encourage that in the online and offline world,” said Paul.
“Have all the problems gone away? No. Will all the problems go away? No. Are we making a difference? I like to think so.
“There has certainly been a decline in the number of incidents reported in school of issues that have arisen through technology – mobile communication and social media.
“We strive to continue the work that has started.”
The schools has been involved in the production of the UK Safer Internet Day video for 2015 for UK Safer Internet Centre.
It has also established a Digital Leaders Pupil Group – whose role it is to promote Digital Literacy across the school and with the aim of within the local community as well as supporting Senior Management in the school (when required) on how pupils use ICT and the areas of potential safe guarding issues they need to be aware of.
The Digital leaders took part in the national launch of Safer Internet Day 2015 where they presented aspects of social media, how it can be misused, and advice for parents but also educational uses of the products and led small group discussions on E-Safety with primary school pupils.
The school is also looking to support parents, by educating them and encouraging them to take an active role in promoting digital literacy and citizenship within the home by working with The Parent Zone in providing a free information resource via the school website.
“It was a real privilege for me to be invited by SWGFL to speak at the Welsh launch of the Digital Literacy Resource and at a recent Hwbmeet in Swansea, where I was able to share my experiences of teaching Digital literacy, using the resource and the impact it has visibly had,” said Paul.
“If you haven’t already, I encourage you to look at these free resources that are available and embed them into your teaching.
“We are currently developing an electronic Digital Competency Workbook that will be used to direct learning of aspects of digital literacy and citizenship for all pupils through KS3 ICT as well as opportunities to further embed in areas such as PSHE.”