Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CAL 2009: Teachers and technology: Professional development for transforming practice in schools

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Caroline Daly, University of London, UK

Described a project that took place in secondary schools as it was felt that's where there was the greatest need for ICT development. Becta talks about a "persistent deficit" - a lack of impact on teachers' everyday practice. - See the Harnessing Technology Review 2008. The majority of teachers are having CPD but it is not having an impact on classroom practice.

Teachers have to be at the centre of developments - teachers are the main agent of change and account has to be taken of their deep seated beliefs. There has to be a change in teachers. There is a feeling that there is a continual need to chase a skills deficit and just as you get the hang of one thing, the next big thing comes along! Alex Couros and the Networked Teacher is an alternative model or the Diffused Teacher model (Davis 2008) where the extreme interconnectedness is acknowledged and it is recognised that just working on ICT in isolation is not always helpful. The researchers developed a programme that did not just teach ICT skills but teacher enquiry is built in from the start as part of their CPD - to challenge how and why it might be used. The programme was practice focused. Teachers had to blog their experience as the project progressed.

Collaboration was a core strategy with many opportunities to talk and discuss. Technologies were not just for production of resources but they were for creative task making and for shared practice and collaboration. For example, teachers were expected to upload their digital pictures to Flickr. Enquiry based practices however can create challenges. For example, it can lead to a desire for fundamental shifts in the ways that learning is organised - something that was not always welcomed by schools. How teachers appropriate new technologies in their personal, social and professional lives is an important pre-requisite for use in their classrooms. Important aspect of the programme is that it was inter-disciplinary.

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