Thursday, 25 March 2010

What training should be provided to non-ICT teaching staff?

This question was recently asked to me and the answer may well be helpful for others...

That is a really good question, but the trouble is a large staff team has such a wide range of ICT capability. The only way to meet the needs of all is to first survey your staff and then design a CPD programme that broadly meets the needs expressed. Staff ICT professional development broadly falls into 4 areas:

1. Personal ICT competence
(can take photos on digital camera and email them, can prepare worksheet using appropriate software, ...)

2. Generic teaching and learning
(can set work and manage class discussion with students using learning platform, can use interactive whiteboard to enrich learning, ...)

3. Subject specific teaching and learning
(a Science teacher can manage data logging equipment in class, PE teacher can take and edit video as part of a lesson, History teacher can approach web information sources forensically...)

4. Innovatory practice
(Where a teacher is developing new ways to stimulate and enrich learning using the latest technologies)

With the results of your survey you can then decide how to balance your CPD strategy between those areas. Of course you will have some teachers who are so competent that they can be involved in training colleagues. Whilst this is, in itself, professional development you may like to focus these 'trainer' teachers on section 4 - developing innovatory practice.

Becta have some ideas for surveys here...
...but I have to admit that both of these links do not answer the question exactly.

Most useful is the Professional Development element from the Self Review Framework. Becta have drawn up what a 'good' school looks like across 8 elements and they then encourage schools to fill in their online questionnaire as a school improvement tool - to compare themselves against Becta's 1-5 scale (1 being best). A school which is self-graded level 2 across all 8 elements can be externally verified as ICT mark standard. I do not recommend that schools rush through the elements, but instead use the elements as they align with school development priorities, perhaps working through all 8 over a 3 year period. You may like to use the Professional Development element at this point in your school's journey.

Returning the the original question. What courses are available for non-specialist teaching staff? Actually there is no single solution that would meet all of the wide ranging needs within a school. are coming into the market to try and meet this need, but they are new and at the moment are developing their range. They intend to not only have their own courses on this site but also act as a portal for teachers to provide training for each other.

For the moment I suggest the following route forwards:

  1. Conduct an ICT audit for your staff EITHER based around the 4 aspects above OR using one of the Becta surveys.

  2. Consider whether a slight adjustment to the performance management interview would enable this audit information to be updated on a yearly basis.

  3. From the analysis of the audit results establish what ICT training you could include within your CPD programme next academic year to meet those needs. Where you have expertise within the school to deliver that training, use that. Perhaps use the Vital website to publish your training to support their project of providing relevant ICT CPD for schools, and to bank good training for use in future years.

  4. Review the Professional Development section of the Self-Review Framework and consider whether your school could become ICT Mark standard at managing professional development.

  5. Work to ensure that these actions are embedded into your annual practice to ensure that staff skills are regularly reviewed and developed according to your schools changing priorities.

If you have further questions about any of the points raised above please feel free to get in touch.

Alex Rees

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