DB Primary – Reflections of a former headteacher.
Were I return to my former role as a primary headteacher, DB Primary would certainly have a role in my school. There are five core areas where I would envisage it making a huge impact.
- Online safety teaching
- Relationships Education
- The wider curriculum
Online Safety teaching
DB Primary would be an essential resource in my school’s online safety scheme. It offers quality learning content which may be used to deliver lessons across the full range and breadth of the curriculum. This content may be used as a teaching resource or as an effective assessment tool. It may be used as a whole class teaching input or assigned to individuals to work through.
However, it is not only the content that is invaluable. DB Primary has an extensive set of communication and collaboration tools including, but not limited to blogs, forum, wikis and email. These are presented in a safe, secure, GDPR and age-appropriate design code compliant environment. This means that children may be taught key skills, knowledge and understanding as set out in the Education for a Connected World framework through genuine but safe first-hand experience of online communication and collaboration. This first-hand experience that enables children to not only understand but also embed practices is a key learning opportunity.
Embedding good attitudes and behaviours in primary-aged children is critical. Far too many gain their experience of online communication and collaboration through age-inappropriate gaming and social media sites. Although these sites may have some positive outcomes, they do not provide adequate role models for young children. This does not prepare them well for effective or safe online relationships and may significantly undermine respectful relationships.
DB Primary offers opportunities not only for safe, secure communication but also for effective adult modelling and intervention. Children may be taught the differences between online and offline communication, they may see for themselves how comments may impact the feelings of others and they may be taught to interact responsibly and safely.
The recent publication by the New Era team of their Web Wizards scheme of work aims to support teachers use of DB Primary to meet age-appropriate statements both in the context of Education for a Connected World and also for three core Relationships strands (Online Relationships, Caring Friendships and Respectful Relationships). This is a fantastic addition that would save my teachers considerable time creating their own activities.
Writing was always a key area of the classes that I taught and in the schools that I led. We explored many ways of working and providing motivation and encouragement for all children, but especially reluctant writers.
Technology has a role to play. It is one that I’ve witnessed personally when working with my grandson on his writing. Technology can be liberating and motivating. Blogging is a powerful tool and may be adapted to facilitate writing in a variety of genres. It provides an opportunity to write, to easily edit and modify, to share with a wider audience and to receive positive feedback. My grandson uses all the tools at his disposal, including auto-suggest when he’s composing some writing on his DB Primary blog using his ipad.
The blogging tool in DB Primary can allow children to push their personal blog entries to shared spaces (e.g. the class blog – requires teacher approval to go live). This can be an incredibly motivating factor for young children who love to see their work published. The ability to moderate and only publish when ready can enable to set and insist on certain standards.
The Wider Curriculum
Of course, whilst developing online safety or delivering a Relationships Education curriculum through DB Primary the children require topics on which to communicate and collaborate. They can’t discuss, share and debate in a vacuum. This means the platform can contribute across the curriculum and support the development of a broad, rich, deep offering. The children may share knowledge in a variety of subject areas, challenge its veracity, query its source, interrogate it, sort and classify and analyse it.
DB Primary has content of its own, which may be used to support learning but more importantly it may be used as a platform for sharing information the children have learned- it may become a class library of key learning.
Whilst my focus is largely on learning outcomes, I also recognise the value that DB Primary may bring to wider school activity. The ability to share securely to restricted groups and make things available anytime anywhere is key for schools.
I remember only too well the impact of introducing a school network. The ability to share and retrieve documents from any device in the school was a huge step forward. It is now impossible to think of a school operating without such a network. DB Primary enables schools to extend the network to the cloud, so that teachers may access key documents wherever they happen to be working as long as they have the internet.
Not only does this significantly impact flexibility, efficiency and effectiveness but it also introduces a layer of security and safety. There is no need for staff to email themselves or save files to portable devices (which significantly impact security and are a result of many GDPR breaches). Anything saved in a secure area on DB Primary is available depending on the permissions of the user. Knowing that DB Primary is not only fully GDPR compliant, but also works to the standards set out in the age-appropriate design code makes it a core solution for me.