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Schools projects- how to participate

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About The Project

The Digital Commonwealth project is funded by Big Lottery Fund, University of the West of Scotland and the MediaTrust.  The ambition of the Digital Commonwealth project is to enhance the capacity of individuals and groups to use freely available mobile digital (and social) media tools and techniques to ensure their voices are heard in a saturated (and often commercially) motivated media landscape. The Digital Commonwealth project focuses on lowering the threshold for involvement for individuals and groups so that they can be empowered to exploit creative tools and technologies to tell their stories, digitally. The project reaches out to individuals and groups experiencing social, cultural or economic marginalization, whether related to age, ethnicity, poverty, disability or social isolation.

The project aim is to involve every Local Authority in Scotland in the digital reporting of the Commonwealth themes in the run up to the Queen’s Baton Relay in June 2014. Learners from 32 school clusters from targeted areas of most socio-economic need will be give the chance to participate in the initiative.  The schools programme promotes digital media literacy skills through a series of in school training workshops, using readily available technology to help pupils tell their own stories through blogs, video, audio and social media. As part of their participation schools will receive learning materials (hard and e-copy) enabling schools to built upon for future school projects and creating a legacy.  The materials including topics such as e-safety, copyright, active citizenship and media ethics which help pupils use their imagination and knowledge to produce creative, appropriate and engaging content.

What are we offering?

The Digital Commonwealth project team are offering the participating school clusters:

  • The opportunity to participate in a Scotland-wide Commonwealth project, accessible to an international audience

  • Four specialist workshops, delivered in your school cluster focusing on audio, video, blogging and social media storytelling techniques, for up to 20 pupils.

  • Knowledge and skills on how to make the most of mobile digital equipment which some schools and pupils may already own and the opportunity to acquire a mobile unit on completion of the project (a competition will be run to secure this equipment)

  • Online and hard copy training materials, mapped to Curriculum for Excellence requirements, based around four broad Commonwealth themes of People, Place, Culture and Exchange

  • The opportunity to showcase your work, and the work of your pupils, on the project website which will be archived as a record for future generations

What are the benefits of taking part?

We think there are many benefits for school clusters involved in the Digital Commonwealth project. These include the opportunity to:

  • Produce creative content relevant to your class work which helps widen opportunities in areas of socio-economic deprivation and improve digital media literacy skills in your school setting

  • Encourage creativity and active citizenship through engagement with community events and things going in the school, especially those related to the Commonwealth

  • Collaborate and network with other schools and embed cross curricular working (for pupils and staff) through the lens of the Commonwealth

  • Access expertise and learning materials which can be used both for this project and beyond; the legacy of the project extends over and above the Digital Common Wealth as pupils and staff learn skills which can be easily applied to other projects

  • Register your plans as a ‘Challenge’ with Game On Scotland, the official education programme for the Commonwealth Games.  This will provide you with the opportunity of sharing your project across the Commonwealth, being considered for the Game On Scotland plaque and potentially winning exclusive Glasgow 2014 prizes.  Registrations before 13 November will also be entered automatically into the Mascot Visit competition.

What are the criteria for schools involvement?

In order to meet our commitments to the Big Lottery Fund and to ensure those most in need are the beneficiaries of the Digital Commonwealth project. This necessitates the setting of criteria for inclusion in the schools programme and these are detailed here:

  • Participating school clusters are able to nominate up to 20 pupils to take part.   The selection of learners is up to the cluster (we recognise that different schools have different requirements and will have their own ideas on how best to participate within the criteria whilst meeting their own organisational needs).  The school cluster contains pupils from within the p6, p7, s1 and s2 age range, working together using the Digital Commonwealth project as part of a transition initiative
  • The school cluster can provide a teaching champion to liaise with the project team to help facilitate in-school workshops and curriculum links
  • The school cluster can provide access to technical support personnel to liaise with the project team and ensure seamless upload of digital content outside of workshops

  • The school cluster can provide access to one venue for in-school workshop delivery to take place (this need not be a classroom and could be off-site if appropriate)

How do I apply to take part in the project?

To express interest in taking part in the Digital Commonwealth project you should submit a completed application form to us, detailing how your proposed school cluster meets the project eligibility criteria and why they would like to take part.  The application form should also include information on how you would embed the project in the curriculum. In order to enable the Digital Commonwealth project team to assess equipment needs and prepare good quality training materials, we would also like you to give us information on other digital media literacy projects you’re involved in and the existing usage of blogging, audio, video and social media as part of curricular or extra-curricular activity. We are particularly interested in how you might make a creative response to project themes of People, Place, Culture and Exchange in the Commonwealth.

Expressions of interest should be submitted to the Digital Commonwealth Educational Coordinator, Alison McCandlish by email by 5pm on Friday 29th November 2013.  All indications of interest received will be referred to the Digital Common Wealth project steering group and a decision will be sent to every applicant by Friday 13th December, 2013.

What happens next if we are selected to take part?

If selected to represent your local authority in the Digital Common Wealth project then we will require you to sign up to a simple document which says you are happy to work within the principles of the Digital Commonwealth project.  These principles are important to us and form a crucial element of the project ethos and commitment to enhancing young people’s understanding of digital media literacy. Before we visit your school cluster to deliver the four in-school workshops we will undertake a short technical audit and set up a meeting to discuss your own ideas for producing a creative response to the Commonwealth.

From January to May, 2014 we will schedule four workshops, delivered by specialist trainers, in blogging, audio, video and social media. Where possible, these will be programmed to suit your academic timetable and you will be able to use the workshops to learn practical skills, to try out new techniques or simply to get inspiration for your own class time projects and formative assessments around the Commonwealth.

Finally, when the Queen’s Baton Relay arrives in Scotland in June 2014 we will encourage your school cluster to use the new skills and tools to create locally-relevant content that will then be collated and hosted on the Digital Commonwealth website for audiences to access online.

The Digital Commonwealth project wants to encourage and facilitate your school cluster’s creative expression and produce digital content on subjects that matter to your pupils and help you to achieve your authority’s learning objectives.  Although we have suggested four broad themes (Place, People, Culture and Exchange) we expect each school cluster to create diverse content with particular relevance to its local circumstance and curricular focus.  Aligned to our principles,  we want you to share materials, comment on others’ content and contribute to the collaborative website. We will help you do this in our training sessions, for example, by tagging posts and using project specific hashtags.  Overall we want you to enjoy taking part and feel part of a wider creative educational community, producing content for others to share and enjoy.

What if there is too much demand to take part?

Whilst we would like to work with lots of schools, due to limited resources, we are only able to work with one school cluster in each local authority area. We have, therefore, devised eligibility criteria which we want each local authority to use to target a suitable school cluster, at which a nominated group of up to 20 pupils take part

For those schools unable to receive formal workshop support as part of the project there will also be other opportunities to become involved in the Digital Commonwealth project.   We encourage teachers in your area to create audio, video and blog posts on the Commonwealth theme and this can then be shared via social media (#DigCW2014 or @DigCW2014) or other content sharing platforms (e.g Youtube, Audioboo, Flickr).  We will post instructions on how to take part on our website (for example by tagging posts and using project specific hashtags) in early 2014.

 Who do I contact to find out more?

For the latest updates on the project you may wish to follow our Twitter account @DigCW2014, and contribute to discussions via the hashtag #DigCW2014. For specific enquiries relating to the education projects, please contact Alison McCandlish, Digital Commonwealth Education Coordinator, or for information on the other aspects of the project such as community media cafes and creative voices please contact Jennifer Jones, Digital Commonwealth Project Coordinator.

We look forward to hearing from you!


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3 Responses to Schools projects- how to participate

  1. Suzanne Scott says:

    This sounds like a fantastic opportunity for pupils. Is it open to young people at FE colleges as well or is it limited to schools only? I know some of our younger students (15/16 year olds) would benefit from this kind of opportunity as well.

    • Alison McCandlish says:

      Thank you for your question. Due to limited resources, we are only able to work with one school cluster in each local authority area (and have had to devise eligibility criteria for this reason); it is our intention that the project will involve learners from the P6 – S2 range, and the project aims to target learners of this range in schools in areas of socio-economic deprivation. There may still be opportunities for some involvement as we will post instructions on how to take part on our website (for example by tagging posts and using project specific hashtags).

    • Hi Suzanne, now the submission deadline has passed, we are looking to consider exceptions on a project to project basis – can you drop me and email to and we can take it from there?

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