In the short article below, Darren tells us more about his career to date and the ambitions that he has for this new career opportunity.
What did you do prior to starting work with SSERC?
I studied Primary Education at Dundee University and graduated in 2009. I have taught in the Perth area for the last 9 and a half years, and over the last 2 and a half years I have had a specific focus on developing digital skills, confidence and creativity across all Primary Stages.
What are your specific responsibilities associated with this post?
I have the exciting task of developing the Digital Skills offering at SSERC, as well as working with SSERC staff to embed a digital element, where relevant, to the current offering. I will be working with the Education Scotland Digital team to design and deliver hands on, practical CLPL using a variety of hardware and software in our superbly resourced digital space.
What appealed to you about this particular post?
There is a pressing need to develop digital skills, digital literacy and Computer Science across Scotland. This is in response to the skills needed to succeed in the workplace and the projected growth in the digital sector. In my previous school, I was able to observe how valuable the development of these skills can be, and how it can enrich learning and transform assessment across the curriculum. I have also experienced first hand how digital tools can reduce administrative workload, increase productivity and provide a professional learning network to help with the demands of teaching today. My current post appealed as it is an opportunity for me to develop in an area that I know is increasingly important in Scottish Education, to raise the level of staff confidence and expertise across the education system by targeting training to where it is needed.
What do you think will be the main challenges for you in this new post?
I am in an exciting position where I have the opportunity to create courses to develop teacher confidence and experience in a number of different digitally related areas. One of the main challenges I will face is the fact that digital learning needs across local authorities is very variable, and the access to hardware and software is often local authority dependent, or on a school by school basis. Additionally, staff often struggle to negotiate time out of class to engage with CLPL, so providing opportunities in a digitally creative way that still has the same impact as face to face training will be an interesting hurdle to negotiate.
What are your hopes and ambitions for SSERC and yourself in this new and exciting role?
SSERC is a trusted name and has a well established reputation in Scottish Education, gained through providing a high level of support to schools across the country. I would hope that the Digital Skills offering will be held in as high esteem as the other areas of the organisation. I would also hope to promote and champion digital equity throughout Scotland, to ensure that pupils are equipped with the skills that they require to thrive in a society where the rate of change is greater now than ever before.