Supporting teachers and lessons learned

(Activity 1.4.2)

Some thoughts from the course this week:

This week has really been an eye-opener for me. After having taught ICT, Computing and Mathematics for nearly 10 years, I am beginning to see things a little differently now (better late than never I guess) – I always wondered why I’ve struggled to keep up with the demands of my job; as someone in my subject knows all to well, every year is a struggle to keep up with curriculum demands – 10 years of teaching (and 10 complete changes my Schemes of Work (yes I’ve had to change them every year to keep up with technological trends)) it has occurred to me that my job may have been a little easier had the places where I had worked been more supportive of my efforts and ensured that correct CPD and flexibility was given. This is by no means the fault of any individual in particular, but rather the general oversight of the factors that mattered most within the institutions where I was stationed. I am in no way having a moan (I’ve had a good 10 years with fantastic employers), but feel that many schools are still trying to lay down the much needed infrastructure to support the educational development in ICT they need so much. They also need to realize the need to train teachers effectively. Sure they may offer teachers courses on how to develop particular technical skills, but as I’ve found, it’s not the technical skills that are an issue; it’s how they are transferred into our lesson plans!

The Lessons Learned

So what would I do to effectively integrate ICT within the school I’m currently at given the chance?

Well one thing is indeed clear; the integration of ICT within the school is ultimately a collective effort and not just one of a single person or body. Takeing the External, Internal and Educational reasons into consideration, it’s clear that the school needs to make a collective effort to ensure that the infrastructure, equipment, training of staff and needs of pupils are taken into consideration.

The Roles of the Leaders:

  • Well school leaders should approach the integration with an open mind. Ultimately school funding is a factor that limits progress to a certain extent. But as I’ve seen, even school working ona  tight budget are able to implement the much needed changes to effectively incorporate ICT into their curriculums. This was done by analysing and evaluating the exact requirements of the pupils.
  • Leaders also need to ensure that staff are given time to develop areas of technical expertise and given opportunities to collaborate and understand how their knowledge can be used to enhance their practition and  curriculum
  • Leaders should actively seek opportunities to work with external bodies (i.e. other schools, universities and the like) to ensure that sharing of ideas, resources and good practice is made possible.
  • Whole-heartedly embrace technology and promote a 1-1 device culture where everyone is effectively “plugged in”
  • Aim to have a VLE within the school that will hopefully encourage good use of the infrastructure (more longer term)

The roles of teachers

  • It is clear that teachers are now more technically aware than they ever were – they need to work and collaborate with other teachers and educators to see how they can use their technical skills to improve the learning of their students
  • Ensure that they take time to attend effective CPD (with the school’s support) and work towards establishing a good network of teachers that can share skills and good practice.
  • Try to incorporate and update traditional lessons with skills that could facilitate the use of ICT.
  • If the school has a VLE, then invest time and effort where possible to use the VLE over traditional methods.

In conclusion:

In conclusion, in my opinion, everyone within the school has a responsibility to ensure that ICT is used effectively. The most important thing in my opinion is communication between all stakeholders to establish the needs, requirements and processes involved in the process. The school needs to conduct a survey or audit of it’s use of ICT and get a better understanding of it’s staff is capable of; perhaps organise in-house CPD and a way for staff to collaborate and share ideas and ultimately set targets 5/6 years in the future.

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