DigiLin’s real name is Linda Parsons. This is her story.
Make a cup of coffee. It is long!
I am a Science Teacher in a British school in the UAE who has a passion for integrating educational technology to make my life easier and my student’s education easier. I started off as a Google Educator in a leading school in Kuwait, before joining the current school I am in. This passion spilled over to my entire school in 2018, when I became the Digital Lead for the Secondary branch of my school. This year, I even started speaking about our school’s EdTech Journey at the British University and GESS Dubai. Because, sharing is caring 🙂
Back in September 2018, we didn’t have a Digital Strategy and teachers were left to integrate whatever technology they wanted to into their lessons. This is great- but only to an extent! As there were pockets of brilliance, but also some very apprehensive students and teachers that felt the school could do much more to train and use our resources to effectively “supercharge” our learning. Furthermore, although we had a brilliant Microsoft Education package, our teachers and students were taught to use iPads. Which made integration from all the apps we bought into a little tricky.
This was the point when some very influential and inspiring people from my PLN (mostly from twitter!) stepped in.
Twitter is a marvelous place to met and share best practice, especially in the ever changing edtech world. With their guidance, our digital environment was born.
Our EdTech Audit last year was a long, but extremely useful process. On the back of this data, we wrote our 5 year digital strategy, simplifying our vision and creating common themes and platforms that ran throughout the school, and throughout Primary and Secondary. The Strategy built on our foundations and build each year to a long term goal. We needed common ways of using technology to boost schoolwide efficiency, as well as teaching our students skills to enhance their understanding of how technology can aid their learning and future worklife. Our school is very much a device agnostic school. What does this mean? It basically means the students have a range of devices (IoS, Android, Mac and Windows). This is also reflected in the parents and the devices they use too. It was essential to pick platforms and ways of learning that were cross compatible for the whole school.
Fast forward to the present and within one year, my school is now a school that effectively uses Teams as a digital classroom in every subject, for every year. We have started the exciting and sustainable friendly move to OneNote for every subject for next year. This comes with the recommendations of devices for the students. Not just one device…. the world does not work like that. Our device recommendations ensure that our community can pick a device that adheres to our recommended specifications.
What does the future hold for me and my school? Next year, I am very excited about becoming a Common Sense Media recognised school, as all our teachers guide our students on the principles of digital citizenship in every lesson! AI and machine learning will be further integrated into each and every lesson from Year 3 onwards, to help our teachers and students reach even further into their educational potential. I also hope that we will receive the Microsoft Showcase School qualification…. as our teachers would welcome with open arms anyone who is willing to learn more about how Microsoft has helped the learning of every student in our school.