Network Learning & Communities

OER Schools Conference

OER schools icons Leicester City Council, in partnership with De Montfort University, are holding a free day conference on the 29 January 2015, focusing on finding, using, creating and sharing Open Educational Resources (OER). The event builds on the council’s recently released OER guidance and resources, which can be downloaded from

The resources were produced by Dr Bjoern Hassler,  Helen Neo (University of Cambridge) , and Josie Fraser (Leicester City Council), and have also benefited from the input of school staff, through review and practical trailing.

The majority of school staff use and create digital resources to support their learners and schools – including presentations, lesson plans, and study guides. However, the DigiLit Leicester project identified a gap in support and information for teachers relating to the use and creation of Open Educational Resources (OER). An understanding of OER and open licencing will support schools and staff in sharing and accessing resources, and in developing staff and learner digital literacy skills and knowledge.

OER are learning materials (including presentations, revision guides, lesson plans) that have been released under an open licence, so that anyone can use, share and build on them for free.  Many openly licensed resources are available for schools to use and develop. At a time when schools increasingly work with, and rely on, digital and web based materials, understanding how copyright works, and making the most of available resources, is essential for staff and schools.

Creating OER allows schools to connect and collaborate with others through sharing work. Sharing can also help promote the great work that school staff and schools are doing.


10am – 11.30

OER Leadership Briefing and Q&A

Chair:    Richard Hall

Panel:  Miles Berry, Josie Fraser, Marieke Guy, Bjoern Hassler

11.40am -1pm


  • Introduction to OER for school staff – Bjoern Hassler

  • School Policy  – Josie Fraser

  • Computing, Primary  – Miles Berry

1pm-1.40 pm

Lunch & feedback

1.40pm – 3pm


  • Introduction to OER for school staff – Bjoern Hassler

  • School Policy – Josie Fraser

  • Computing – secondary school – Miles Berry

  • Creating accessible OER – Dave Foord

3pm – 3.30

Next steps & close

Speakers and Workshop Leads

Miles BerryMiles Berry  (@mberry on Twitter) is principal lecturer and the subject leader for Computing Education at the University of Roehampton. He teaches initial teacher education courses, and his principal research focus is the role of online communities in the professional formation and development of teachers. Other professional interests include knowledge management in education, use of open source software and principles in schools, provision for the gifted and talented and independent learning. Miles was part of the drafting groups for computing in the 2014 national curriculum. Until 2009, Miles was head of Alton Convent Prep. In his former post as deputy head of St Ives School, Haslemere, he pioneered the use of Moodle and Elgg in primary education. His work on implementing Moodle was documented as the dissertation for Leicester University’s MBA in Educational Management, and won the 2006 Becta ICT in Practice Award for primary teaching.

Dave FroodDave Foord(@davefoord) is an experienced teacher, who during his years of teaching, developed and perfected many techniques for providing high quality, innovative, and differentiated learning. Some of his best known work is in the area of learning technology (also known as ILT, e-learning, ICT) – using technology to enhance the learning experience. Dave has been a keen advocate on accessibility considerations within this area of work, and specialises in the creation of resources that are highly accessible, mobile optimised, and easily adaptable. Dave works for his Loughborough based company A6 Training and Consultancy Ltd, which provides training, consultancy and resource development services to education providers.


Josie Fraser

Josie Fraser (@josiefraser on Twitter) is a UK-based Social and Educational Technologist. Since June 2010, she has lead on technology for Leicester City Council’s multi-million pound Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Programme, one of the most accelerated building programmes in the UK. She is also responsible for setting, promoting and delivering on a city wide agenda for educational transformation in relation to the use of technology within schools. She developed and leads on the DigiLit Leicester staff development project, run in partnership with De Montfort University and the 23 BSF schools. The project achieved recognition as one of five global winners of the Reclaim Open Learning innovation competition, organised by the MacArthur Foundation, The Digital Media and Learning Hub, and MIT Media Lab. 


Marieke Guy

Marieke Guy (@mariekeguy on Twitter) is a project co-ordinator at Open Knowledge, a global not-for-profit organisation that wants to open up knowledge around the world and see it used and useful. Over the last two years she has been exploring open data in education and its relationship with open education as part of the LinkedUp Project. Her current projects are PASTEUR4OA , developing and/or reinforcing open access strategies and policies across Europe, and Europeana Space, creating new opportunities for employment and economic growth within the creative industries sector based on Europe’s rich digital cultural resources. Marieke has been working with online information for over 16 years and was previously employed by UKOLN, a centre of expertise in digital information management at the University of Bath. Marieke co-ordinates the Open Education Working Group.


Richard HallRichard Hall (@HallyMK1 on Twitter) is Professor of Education and Technology at De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester, UK. He is DMU’s Head of Enhancing Learning through Technology and leads the Centre for Pedagogic Research. Richard is a National Teaching Fellow and a co-operator at the Social Science Centre in Lincoln, UK. He writes about life in higher education at:



Bjoern HasslerBjoern Hassler (@bjoernhassler on Twitter) focuses on pedagogy, Open Educational Resources (OER) and digital technology. He led the JISC-funded ORBIT project, which produced an Open Resource Bank on Interactive Teaching for teacher education, focusing on innovative digital technology use in mathematics and science education. He is co-leading the OER4Schools project, introducing interactive teaching and digital technologies in Zambian primary schools.


Registration for the conference is available here.

Learning at Home and in the Hospital


Learning at Home and in the Hospital (LeHo), is an open education project sponsored by the European Commission, designed to ensure young people’s right to access to education. It focuses on making use of digital environments and tools to meet the needs of learners who aren’t able to access mainstream education, because of the effects of physical and mental illnesses.  

Leicester’s Children’s Hospital School (one of the BSF schools I work with) are the UK Hub for a project partnership which includes teams based in Belgium, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Spain, and forms an international network for home and hospital education through ICT.

The project launched in January 2014, and this month head teacher George Sfougaras and researcher Suzanne Lavelle traveled to Zagreb for the projects second meeting. George Sfougaras said, “We are dedicated to providing an excellent, quality education for those who are currently too unwell to attend their own schools”.

The project will carry out an international review of how technologies are being used to support the education of learner’s who are too ill to physically attend school, and design ICT-based solutions which will enable children in hospital, receiving home therapy, or who attend school part-time due to illness, to access education.

If you are a teacher, medical professional, ICT professional, parent/carer or student involved in home and hospital education, you can get involved by joining one of the projects national or international groups.

Leicester in Minecraft! Competition & Event

Leicester in Minecraft

Leicester City Council’s BSF Programme is transforming the city! We are rebuilding and refurbishing 23 city schools, and working with our school communities to build better futures for all of our young people.

Leicester City Council’s ICT BSF team are taking time out to celebrate the building programme, and in partnership with De Montfort Video Gaming Society, Interact Labs, Phoenix and The Spark Arts for Children we’re organising a free to attend day of Minecraft and digital arts fun. We’re also running an exciting competition for children and young people aged from 6 to 16 years old to show off their Minecraft design and build skills, by creating an exciting new building for Leicester.

Leicester in Minecraft Competition – closes Sunday 25th May 2014

The competition is run in partnership between Leicester City Council’s BSF Programme and the Phoenix.

The competition is open to children and young people 6-16 years old, who live or go to school in Leicester city. We want children and young people to create a brand new building for Leicester in Minecraft, and send us screenshots of their building, along with a short explanation of why their building will make Leicester an even better city to live in.

Entries need to be made on the official entry form, which can be downloaded here as a word document: Leicester in Minecraft competition entry form

Please get in touch if you need the form in an alternative format!

Minecraft Event at the Phoenix – Saturday 31st May 2014, 11am-4pm

UPDATE: all tickets were snapped up within 48 hours! We will provide competition winners with tickets so that they can attend, if they don’t already have tickets. There is also a wait list available for notification in case any tickets are returned.

Building on the success of last year’s Minecraft Meetup event, which was attended by over 180 people, the LCC BSF Team, in partnership with De Montfort Video Gaming SocietyInteract LabsPhoenix and The Spark Arts for Children, are organising a free to attend day of Minecraft and digital arts fun.

Our keynote speaker will be Adam Clarke, a games based learning expert with a special focus on Minecraft in education, heritage and social settings.  Adam will be talking about how Minecraft can be used to expand horizons and unlock opportunities. As well as talks, activities, games and interactive art, we will be announcing the winners of our Leicester in Minecraft competition.

The event is open to people of all ages – young people under 18 must be supervised by a parent or carer.

This event was hugely popular last year – so if you’d like to come, sign up as soon as possible! Click through to the Eventbrite page for activities and timings, and to get your free ticket!

Minecraft in Leicester Schedule: 

11am – 12:30

Keynote & Competition Winners

Screen 2 Minecraft: expanding horizons –   unlocking innovation
Our speaker Adam Clarke has a national and international reputation within games based learning and Minecraft in education, heritage and social settings. Adam was recently shortlisted for the Tate Britain I K award for digital artwork for Tatecraft. He will be talking about how Minecraft can be used as a creative and educational platform.
We’ll also be announcing the winners of theLeicester in Minecraft building competition. We are asking young people across the city to share their vision for buildings that would make Leicester even better. 

1 – 1.40pm

Minecraft Intro


Midland, Morledge and Burton Rooms

Are you new to Minecraft? Come and have a look around, and build! This is a drop in session for those who’d like to explore and find out more.

1.40pm – 2.30pm


Midland, Morledge and Burton Rooms


Minecraft Forum

 Are you passionate about Minecraft and wish there were more opportunities to meet other Minecrafters, or use Minecraft in your school? Come along to this forum to share your ideas and what you like about the game. All welcome, but especially children, young people, their parents/carers and teachers.


1 – 3pm

Tech Demos

Midland, Morledge and Burton Rooms

Minecraft maps! Adam Clarke will demo a range of exciting maps using both PC Minecraft maps and Minecraft Pocket edition maps.

Interact Labs will be demoing 3D printing – and making Minecraft minifigs. Come and find out how tiny Raspberry Pi computers can be used to connect Minecraft to the physical world.

1 – 4pm

Arts & Crafts

Midland, Morledge and Burton Rooms

Paint a 3D printed Steve! Minecraft arts and paper craft.

2:30 – 3:45pm

P2P Competition

Midland, Morledge and Burton Rooms

P2P competition – may the best Minecrafter win! Sign up on the day for your hunger games style melee slot. 


TeachMeet Leicester Digital Literacy #TMDL14

This week the DigiLit Leicester project held a TeachMeet in collaboration with VESA (the Vocational Education Support Agency). Hosted at Crown Hills Community College on 18th March, the evening was an opportunity for educators from across all sectors to come together and share practice that works!

I opened the event with an introducing the DigiLit Leicester Project. Then the fruit machine began to spin 🙂

Information about and resources shared by presenters on the night can be found over at the project blog site.

Many of the attendees were live tweeting the event. You can read through these at our Storify of the evening – scroll down for the embed.

SimonR TweetTimF Tweet



Leadership Briefings: Student Digital Leaders

The DigiLit Leicester team are currently running a series of briefings for school leaders. The briefings are designed to ensure school leaders are aware of and up to date with current, effective approaches to using technology to support learning, teaching and school community development.

Our second briefing was held in January at the Soar Valley Training Centre. Chris Sharples led the session which focused on school based Student Digital Leaders (SDL) programmes.

Chris defines Student Digital Leaders as “a team of enthusiastic students who work with teachers and students on regular or one-off projects to improve learning with digital technologies.”

SDL initiatives represent a creative and effective approach to supporting learners who are enthusiastic about technologies in playing an active role in school technology development and use. Programmes usually involve one or more students in each class being identified as digital leaders. At Chris’s school, there are 25 SDLs, across years 7 to 10, with a decrease in pupil involvement in year 10 as a result of GCSE commitments. SDLs were recruited from an open, year based call, with all pupils who wanted to be involved joining the group. Other schools have selected participants by interviews. SDLs are then responsible for supporting the school community in their use of technology. This could be through trialling of devices or techniques, making recommendations about the best technologies and apps to use for specific tasks, providing training to peers or staff members, or being able to provide basic technical support in the classroom.

Student Digital Leaders at Chris’s School have been involved with a range of projects this year, including creating resources, developing Open Badges, attending conferences, writing reviews, providing training and leading assemblies.

Chris provided us with a mind map of the kinds of activities SDL were involved with:

Digital Leaders Mind Map

Student Digital Leaders programmes are a great way to give responsibility to learners and a non-confrontational method of embedding enhanced technology use across the whole school.

Key take aways from the briefing were:

  • Student Digital Leaders can be integral to schools responding to the challenges of the new computing curriculum. They can can play an active part in the way that the school designs and delivers learning and teaching around computing.
  • Chris emphasised the importance of a student leadership opportunities in developing a culture of learner engagement. Student leadership provides opportunities for young people to take responsibility for actively supporting their communities and peers, fostering a community expectation that everyone has a contribution to make and will help others if they can. Chris’s school has active sports leadership and Duke of Edinburgh Award programmes for learners as well as a Digital Leaders programme.
  • Student Digital Leadership programmes actively support and promote learner voice – learners contribute to the decision-making process (which tools are best to use, surveying students about preference), provide an opportunity to develop communication skills (training  peers and staff, demonstrating tools, writing about their recommendations, activities and preparing support materials). Chris quoted David Hargreaves as saying “one of the most successful entry points into effecting change and transformation lies in the area of student voice, and the opportunities offered to students to share the leadership and redesign of learning with their teachers.”

Want to find out more? Download the resources sheet Chris produced:

Digital Leaders Briefing (Word)

Digital Leaders Briefing (PDF)

You can find even more resources and links on the Digital Leaders Network blog.