Meet David – who is a Learning Technologist supporting our schools when using online technologies.
These online technologies are necessary for our students to learn and have been pivotal during lockdown. David trained as a teacher and spent 25 years in the teaching industry, he also worked in an IT strategy role before returning to teach at Preston Lodge High School in 2005. David has been in his current role since 2006.
His role includes supporting and maintaining East Lothian’s edubuzz.org learning community which consists of a Wordpress network of over 1000 websites (including school websites). David also helps to support the Google G Suite for Education ( which is a suite of free google apps tailored specifically for schools) it is used by over 1000 staff and up to 14,000 students.
The eduBuzz online systems were originally developed to improve the sharing of information between schools and homes. These systems have been vital to minimise disruption to learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Google Classroom, which is already well established, has seen usage double from around 7,000 to over 14,000 users. The number of active Classrooms, roughly 1,500 during a session increased to over 4,000 during lockdown. Teachers are also adding up to 6,000 posts per day to these digital classrooms sessions, which include various learning activities. Richard Parker (Education Service Manager) has also helped to support the delivery of online music instruction.
Google Meet video meetings have enabled over 50,000 online sessions – not solely for teaching purposes but everything from staff meetings, retirement send-offs, book groups, social catch-ups and even whole-school assemblies in some primary schools. Chromebooks which are normally used in schools have been redeployed as home learning devices, with over 1,300 in everyday use.
A big part of his role is to respond to questions from staff about technology options, solving the new challenges that lockdown has created. This has led to a surge of innovation, especially when supporting transition activities. Staff have created “virtual tours” of schools for new arrivals and google classrooms with every cluster P7 who is about to join secondary school. Both primary and secondary staff have helped to support these transition activities collectively.
“Often this has involved working with colleagues in IT, data protection and central departments as well as schools staff to piece together suitable solutions. That’s been challenging, because everyone is under unprecedented pressure, and also working from home, but there has been a shared commitment to minimise the disruption to learning. That has put us in a good position for the start”.