The importance of showcasing students digital work

Once a year, I and fellow TrilbyTV director Ben Stanley, would be invited to the staff Summer Conference at Blenheim High School to run tech focused workshops and support their one-to-one iPad project. It was a couple of days we really enjoyed and over a number of years we became part of the furniture.
I remember a couple of years ago we ran an iPad-focused session with Year 7 digital champions. We put together a session called Product Rebrand where students had to think of their favourite brand or product. This product was to be renamed, enhanced and then advertised using digital creation tools on the iPad. The outcome was a 30 second advert that would be showcased on the screen in reception via TrilbyTV.

As the students entered the room, one young lad stood out in particular. He sat himself alone on a table not looking the most positive young chap in the world. After delivering the session he totally got it and his outcome, based upon his favourite Subaru WRX car, was fantastic. All finished adverts were instantly shared to the school reception screen using TrilbyTV and students eagerly left the classroom to go and watch.

“I have never felt so proud in this school as I feel today!”

After around 10 minutes our Subaru advert appeared, making our pupil return and state “I have never felt so proud in this school as I feel today!” A pretty big statement to make and made because he had been given the opportunity to showcase his work to the whole school.

Too many times I come across educators on Twitter stressing the importance of using digital tools to inspire students to learn. But where is the focus on showcasing this content ? Too often digital content is left stuck on the device or it’s saved and hidden away in a folder. If I know my work has a chance of being screened at various locations around my school then surely, as a student, I’m inspired to work at a higher level?

Some of you reading this might be shouting out “YouTube Neil! What about YouTube?!” but here’s my thoughts: Young people are so used to YouTube that having their work uploaded there isn’t aspirational! Plus I have to go to YouTube, find the video amongst the other thousands of videos on the platform, and then click to play which, although minimal is still a number of steps. We also need to remember the majority of less tech-confident teachers are still very nervous of YouTube as a showcasing platform. We are only a couple of clicks away from content such as cats on skateboards which then detracts from the original reason we went to YouTube in the first place.
Cat on a skateboard

Of course I’m writing this blog piece from a somewhat biased perspective, but I know we have the perfect platform when it comes to sharing and showcasing digital contention across an educational environment. A platform that showcases student progression on a daily basis, that evidences the impact of technology in your school. If your screens are full of exciting student made content then what better way of showing the impact of technology in your school.

Suddenly our digital signage is ‘visible’ and for children it becomes a realistic aspiration to have their work appearing on it

A number of TrilbyTV school customers who have gained great acclaim, from organisations such as Ofsted, more than see the importance of showcasing student made content on a daily basis. Dan Oakes is Deputy Headteacher at Malmesbury CoE Primary School in Wiltshire who have recently gained Apple Distinguished School status for their outstanding use of technology. Dan says “Allowing our pupils to showcase their professional-looking digital work to their peers, teachers and parents makes them incredibly proud”. Digital signage screens at the school used to be turned off or playing content that rarely changed but now Dan will happily tell all visitors “Suddenly our digital signage is ‘visible’ and for children it becomes a realistic aspiration to have their work appearing on it”.

So there is lots of digital content creation initiatives happening in schools across the UK, but let’s not lose focus on the importance of showcasing this work to the whole school and beyond. Just as artwork gets put on the walls and corridors, so should digital content go on screens. We are in a world where a piece of student work can be shared instantly to millions of people. Sounds scary to some maybe, but for a student how aspirational is this outcome?

TrilbyTV is the #1 Digital Signage Platform made for Education focusing on student voice, teacher sharing and the wider community. We don’t like the thought of a students digital work being hidden on a device or in a cloud folder, SO DON’T DO IT. Let’s make sure our students are given the opportunity to show their talents and feel prouder in their schools than they ever have done before!