DIGITAL LEARNINGDIGITAL FAMILIES PROGRAMME
DIGITAL FAMILIES PROGRAMME
The Digital Families programme places digital media at the heart of Gypsy/Traveller families’ learning lives. It aims to increase educational, social and economic opportunities for children and families who experience digital poverty or who are unable to access education.
The Digital Families Programme is a collaborative project between travelling families, local authority staff and STEP. Each participating family receives a Digital Kit (Digikit) containing an iPad, a SIM card and learning support materials. STEP has also developed a learning app to make learning management easier and to simplify communication between families and teachers. STEP will train a key person to support each family. This can be a classroom teacher, if the child is enrolled in a school, or a Traveller Educator. Together, they agree a programme of digital learning that develops literacy and numeracy within culturally relevant learning contexts.
STEP will monitor and evaluate the use of the Kits. A central interest will be how the programme impacts on children and young people’s participation in education. We will also examine the potential to create links to employment opportunities for other family members. An overarching interest is how the programme addresses the digital divide, which has long been experienced by Gypsy/Traveller families.
The Digital Kit
STEP’s Digital Kit is designed to broaden understanding of how tablet devices can be used by Gypsy/Traveller families. The Kit has been developed to overcome barriers caused by low literacy levels and interruptions to learning. It offers accessible formats, a range of creative tools and an exciting range of communication methods to keep families connected and learning.
The DigiKit inlcudes:
A tablet device with capacity for mobile connectivity.
A STEP Learning Planner to help manage learning in the early stages of a family’s programme. This paper-based learning management tool can be used until digital confidence grows and families progress to the STEP learning app.
An protective case to ensure safe storage of the device during travelling periods.
A smart pen to extend and enrich user accessibility and interactivity.
A personal notebook
A SIM card enabling online access in the asbsence of home broadband.
A Professional Learning Community for Teachers
Teachers who are supporting pupils on the Digital Families programme are invited to join the Microsoft Teams group STEP Digital Families PLC. This is a virtual forum for sharing resources and professional dialogue. Regular ‘meet ups’ with STEP and other teachers ensure that everyone feels supported as well having opportunities to share success.
The following outcomes are expected for participating children and families:
- Sustained engagement with the education system, particularly during periods of interruption and beyond primary school.
- Improvements in children and young people’s educational attainment and achievement.
- Increased involvement in childrens’ learning for parents and carers
- Increased digital literacy for adult family members enabling better access to a range of services and work opportunities.