DeFT Regional Conference October 2nd

The DeFT project is hosting a Regional Conference on 2nd October at the Sheffield United Football Ground, 9.30 – 15.30.  The keynote speakers will be Doug Belshaw and Bob Harrison.  DeFT academics from both Sheffield Universities will be there to present the project, together with the teachers and tutors who took part. Teachers from ten schools from in and around the Sheffield and Rotherham area  will be presenting  case studies which contain information which would prove useful to teachers at all levels of education.  Five case studies are from secondary schools, including one school that caters for children with special needs and five are from first and middle schools, one of which has a nursery attached. It promises to be an extremely interesting and informative conference. This event is now full: to check if there are any places available owing to cancellation email


Digital Bloom at Sheffield Winter Gardens, 9-13 July

You may have noticed that the banner at the top of the blog has recently transformed into a meadow populated with flowers and no, we haven’t decided to ditch the project for the lures of (digitally) greener pastures. The meadow is a front-end for the “Digital Bloom” installation which celebrates the work of pupils from participating schools and will be on display at the Sheffield Winter Gardens over next week as part of Sheffield Children’s Festival.

Digital bloom installation inside the pod

If you happen to be in the area, feel free to drop by between 9th -13th July (Mon- Thurs 10.00 – 17.00; Fri. 10.00-1300) and step into the pod to find out more about the digital stories told, among others, by pupils at Mundella Primary Schools who created digital artwork using the iPad Brushes app, or pupils at Bradfield Dungworth Primary who acted as digital reporters for the Camp Cardboard event.

The idea stems from our attempts to explore the intersections of digital literacy and creativity as well as reflect on the ways in which creativity informs learners’ digital literacy practice, both within and outside of formal education institutions. In particular, we are also keen of capturing the stories of young people who have been excluded from the curriculum and focus on digital practices which happen outside of school environment. At the moment, the meadow incorporates stories submitted in the context of the project but we are working with developers at RealSmart who will help us offer an online version of the installation where other users will be able to add their own stories. Do watch this space for updates and help the Digital Bloom grow!

Blown Away!!!!!

I arrived at the Newman Special School event 10 minutes early to the sound of singing.  The sound was very professional, with  full orchestral backing.  I thought  I had come to the wrong place. When I got to the hall, there was a large audience listening intently to a beautiful singer, and Jack on some sort of digital music device. No, this was Jack’s dissemination event for the Deft project.  There was an eclectic crowd there- pupils from Newman, their parents, student from Hallam, and teachers. The tables were arranged in the hall cabaret style, so there was lots of opportunity to socialise during the breaks, between cups of tea and pizza.  But  when the show got on the road, we were entertained with a magnificent performance hosted by Jack , with Simon working on an array of digital equipment, showing the films that Newman pupils had made and helped others to make.

I sat at a table with someone who turned out to be one of the film stars.  Her smile radiated with pride, joy and something else- that I realised later was -ownership.  This glow of pride echoed around the hall.  It was almost tangible.  This was their work on show, and boy were they proud of it! I managed to speak to some proud parents in the break whose feet hardly touched the ground.  Their son, who featured in one of the films and was relatively new to Newman school, had taken full advantage of the digital literacy opportunities afforded by Jacks methods of teaching.  In one of the films shown that night, there is a shot of him laughing with a fellow pupil while using a tripod and camera.

“There is not one day he comes home unhappy” said his proud father.  His mother was just as proud.  She told me that her son had amazed her by his competence in handling the digital equipment.  She wants to come in for lessons now.  “If he can do it” she said, “then so can I”.

everyone appreciated the hard work that had gone on