ICT in Primary Education: Transforming children’s learning across the curriculum – COURSE JOURNAL (WEEK 6)

In a video of an Australian primary school (Bertram Primary School) from the perspective of the ICT coordinator, we can see what she has done to make mobile technologies work in her school.

She started training a group of teachers to get them familiar with the stuff and applications, and then support these teachers to form literacy and numeracy groups in the kindergarten. Besides motivation (students are really eager to learn), the greatest benefit has been for autist and children with special needs, because tablets cater with their needs. Definitely, when a teacher has been trained and supported is more likely to implement technology in the classroom.

This gives us the opportunity to talk about Teacher Professional Development.

A cursory analysis of the challenge of leveraging ICTs for effective teaching and learning points to an obvious solution: prepare teachers for creative applications and they will implement the desired changes. Likewise, and organization will not change until its members have changed. This makes TDP a key driver of change.

Effective TPD addresses the core areas of teaching—content, curriculum, assessment and instruction, and must have certain characteristics, no amount of ICT can compensate for.

CONDITIONS FOR EFFECTIVE TDP (based on Gaible and Burns, 2005 and Schrum, Strudler and Thompson, 2011)

Relevant Address teacher and student needs
context- sensitive (coherence) appropriate for conditions in schools
Sustained and supportive Be long-term, ongoing, sequenced, and cumulative ; allows teachers to increase their abilities over time
Learner-centered teachers experience and reflect on the learning activities that they will lead, and then combines a range of techniques to promote learning.
evaluable Use formative and summative evaluation for program improvement
Collective Collective participation of groups of teachers from the same school, department, or grade was found to be more effective than individual participation.
active providing teachers opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills, reflect on changes in their teaching practice, and engage on hands-on activities.

Successful approaches to professional development all address the individual needs of teachers and focus their energy on creating a culture that supports technology integration, peer-to-peer interaction, and risk-taking. They also incorporate technology into the overall goals and directions of curriculum work in the schools or districts.

Given all the above, and from my experience, the most common TDP system is self-directed TDP, although a blend of standarized and site-based TDP would be far more effective (see Gaible and Burns, 2005 for definitions). On the one hand, it remains context-sensitive (making easier support the program over time and keep the focus on real needs); at the same time, it provides some external initiative and facilitation. Additionally, ICTs may support TDP: Using ICTs, teachers can now communicate, create, and problem-solve with their colleagues at times convenient to their schedules, and therefore are no longer as isolated from professional contact and stimulation. In addition, using ICTs to deliver professional development can greatly expand the teachers’ networks of colleagues and experts, overcoming the potential limitations of in-site TDP (low leaders involvement, less motivated or skilled mates…).

But no initiative will work without the proper policy. Schools, districts, professional organizations, and nations all need to establish effective policies to use ICTs to provide high-quality, future-oriented professional development opportunities for teachers (Schrum, Strudler and Thompson, 2011).

Read the full text at: Teacher Professional Training

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