Spain Cycle 2 – PD 1 (by U.K.)

Date and Time: 24/6/11          14:00 to 15:00

Participants: Two teachers: Gill West (Secondary ICT teacher) Chris Long (Head of Geography)
María Florenzano (Pedagogical NC)
Scenarios Discussed:
Mentoring teachers to improve Digital Literacy

Q: Did the story generate any thoughts?

There is definitely an issue with ICT and some teachers that still find it threatening or too challenging. The head of ICT would be more than willing to go through departments and help to raise awareness about ICT and help teachers with the use of ICT in their subjects.

The benefits of a forum were discussed and agreed, perhaps at its infancy an internal forum on useful websites which could be later developed to include resources. The need to establish greater dialogue between ICT teachers and teachers of other subjects was discussed; this could involve face to face training and help with writing schemes of work so opportunities to use ICT are established. The demands on teachers to have high levels of digital literacy can have the impact of making teachers feel fearful or unconfident in any use of IT from even simple emailing and power Points.

So any ICT strategy or mentoring programme will only survive and thrive if time is given for whole school discussion and the backing and prioritising from senior management. In small international schools there is often a culture of focusing on a wide range of aims which can at times dilute the overall impact and improvements in teaching and learning.

An ICT focus would demand a huge commitment from all parts of the school community in order to ensure teachers feel supported and encouraged, as teachers undoubtedly approach ICT with a wide range of background experiences and abilities.  Part of this would also encourage the culture of utilising the abilities and experiences of students to both, help other students and perhaps, more importantly, other teachers in developing ICT use in their classroom. There is a failure in many schools to recognise and link the ICT skills that students use outside the classroom such as video editing social networking to help them in their school based studies.

The issue of both iPads and iPhones has been raised as some schools feel these tools have an important part to play and can be utilised in the classroom. However, other schools have banned such devices the dilemma is all too obvious.

Q: Is this a possible story?

The story was seen by both teachers as a feasible scenario but with some potential problems specifically around team teaching. This would again require a commitment from the senior management as it would involve issues with cover, training sessions etc.

Willingness from teachers is a key point for any mentoring programme to succeed. Maybe a beginning with smaller groups would be more feasible. There could however be difficulties reaching those teachers with less experience in ICT and entry level for them will be much lower, the wide age range of teachers in a school can in itself mean a range of teaching approaches and styles are held.  

There are not many teachers aware of the technology that the school has, and what they are able to produce or achieve with it. It would be necessary a system to connect teachers with ICT tools and uses, maybe through an internal forum in the school Moodle.

The potential barriers to the story are the organization of team teaching and  the importance of Senior Management involvement and support.

Q: Is there something they would like to change in it?


Q: Could they imagine themselves in the role of the teacher?

Yes, both have the knowledge and expertise on ICT in order to carry out a mentoring programme.

Q: What part would they find most difficult to manage if they were in the role of the teacher?

Team teaching and to encourage the whole staff to get involved, with the habits change that would be required.

Q: How would the story continue? What would the design/ technology look like?

This would depend upon the backing and support from management, during the course of a school year many schemes have a tendency to fade out. To avoid this regular training and evaluation would be needed as well as celebration of good practice. Perhaps the aims of any ICT programme would have to be tailored to individual departments or even teachers, possible in smallish secondary schools.

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