Reclaim Open Learning

better online learning for higher ed

DigiLit Leicester

September 20, 2013 by Courtney Santos

Josie Fraser, Leicester City Council
Lucy Atkins, Leicester City Council
Richard Hall, De Montfort University

The DigiLit Leicester initiative is a two year project focusing on improving learner outcomes and raising standards in secondary level (11-16 years) educational provision across the city through the design and implementation of a digital literacy framework for secondary school staff – teachers, teaching assistants and school library staff. CPD opportunities for these groups vary, with the latter two groups being particularly underserved, and included specifically for that reason. None of the partner schools previously provided CPD focusing on digital literacy skills and confidence, so the project represents significant cultural and organisational change.

This innovative and ambitious project has been developed in partnership with 23 secondary Leicester secondary mainstream and SEN schools. Survey results will form the basis of the development of a programme of targeted activity, co-designed and co-delivered by participants. The projects focus on a promoting and fostering connected learning, both as a mechanism and as a priority, specifically within the project strands “Technology Supported Professional Development” and “Communication, Collaboration and Participation.”

The project introduces and seeks to establish connected learning skills across the city. The use, production and sharing of Open Educational Resources to support resilience and capacity building are promoted throughout the project, particularly within the project priorities “Finding, evaluating and organising” and “Creating and Sharing.” Support for schools is conditional on funded outputs being shared under open licence, and the project framework, survey and findings are additionally being released under Open Licence so other organisations can adapt and benefit from the work.

The project exemplifies the spirit of openness in its specific aims to help every learner develop the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to make to most of technology in terms of educational, social, political and economic opportunities. The project focuses on improving learner outcomes and raising standards in secondary level (11-16 years) educational provision across the city through identifying and raising staff digital literacy understanding, skills and confidence.

Openness is at the heart of the project – equipping school staff to critically engage with online content and be able to make to most of the opportunities afforded by technology. The project team have worked in partnership on all aspects of the development of the digital literacy framework and survey, which in turn will form the basis of city wide and school specific work, agreed and developed with the schools. Some activities and opportunities will be delivered centrally; other aspects will be led and delivered by the schools themselves.

The project supports all staff who support learning, not just teaching staff, and is accessible to individual staff members, as well as to school departments and whole schools. The project recognises the economic context of schools budgets and students lives – 1 in 3 learners in Leicester live in comparative poverty. The project focuses on the use and creation of digital resources and tools, particularly free to use and openly licenced resources, as well as project focusing on specific elements of open education and open educational resources – for example our current work on Open Badges. The project is notably accessible in how it addresses digital literacy as situated in practice, and is designed to support staff and schools whatever their current level of confidence develop skills to enhance their work.

One of the key messages to date is that developing good relationships with school communities is critical to the hard work of substantive cultural change. The project runs until September 2014, with data analysis of the survey findings being discussed with schools in September. Findings and discussions will shape the project work for the next year.

Additional Resources:

Initial Project Report

SchoolTech blog site – activities and resources supporting the project

Interview with Anya Kamenetz:


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