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Types of Professional Development used by the cluster

Context: Did the ICT professional development make a difference for teacher confidence in using e-learning in the classroom? 

Our goal at the end of three years was to have teachers more confident in using e-learning with students.

What we did

Methods of providing Professional Development to teachers:

  • Just in time learning - Teachers book one-on-one time with our facilitators
  • Teacher Only Day - one held each year
  • Wintec online courses for teachers to enrol in
  • Learning area days for each learning area held over three years.
  • Time to prepare resources - teachers could book 1/2 or full day to prepare resources
  • Conferences attended by a wide range of staff - Learning@school and ULearn

What worked well

Just in time learning - was extremely popular for the full three years with teachers taking advantage of the facilitation to upskill in many areas. Moodle training was in high demand this year.

e.g " I have particularly enjoyed working individually with Bob and Malcolm because I can ask all the questions I need and the focus is not shared with others.  Thank you for that!"

 Teacher Only Days - these were extremely highly ranked by all teachers. We challenged ourselves after the first year of the contract to provide workshops for teachers by teachers rather than get external presenters. This showcased the increasing confidence for teachers. Being able to bring over 200 teachers together and finding a formula that suited them was very rewarding. Our keynote speakers Derek Wenmouth (2009), Stewart MIddleton (2010) and Andrew Douch (Skyped in 2011) were all exceptional in setting the scene for a successful day.

"Teacher only day. The workshops and the main speaker were very interesting and encouraging. The exposure to a wide range of web 2.0 tools and how the speaker was using them in the class to extend learning."

 

Conferences – they were a wonderful way to develop collaboration and to open the minds to an ever increasing array of ideas. We sent a large number to conferences over the time with a strategy of distributing the leadership so teachers from all learning areas and all levels within school had the opportunity to attend. Each person was expected to present to the staff and most took workshops at the Teacher Only Day. These were fantastic opportunities for the cluster.

"I loved the whole event. I met many people whom I had heard of before. I spoke with people from the ministry about changes in the technology area that I am interested in. I spoke with some colleagues who are also doing moderation trials, which was very useful. I had a long talk with the keynote and his wife after the event, which was fascinating. Thank you very much for the opportunity to attend this event!" (A teacher review of recent ULearn conference)

 Learning area days over the three years - these were designed to increase the collaboration (which hasn't actually improved over the three years). They have provided valuable opportunities for "like minded" teachers to focus on a particular element of ICT with the facilitators for a day.

"Being able to work on real courses. Our Moodle champions had set us up and in departments we were doing actual work on courses as we learned.”

“Working in a cooperative way with my colleagues on a common learning task. The facilitator worked at an appropriate level for our experience and as we learned skills he upped the pace which gave us a feeling of achievement. Well organised and meaningful presentation."

What didn't work so well?

Wintec Online courses - in 2009 we attempted to get 16 teachers (2 from each learning area) to enrol in a Wintec course on ICT and the Learning process. This did not go very well and interest was low. For some there was too much theory and they could not relate it to classroom practice, for some the workload was more than expected and for others they weren’t ready for this transition yet. We reviewed our plan and in the following years we had 4-6 teachers voluntarily attending courses with some wonderful successes. Huge progress was made in learning how to create and use online courses and moodle has been a focus for many as a result.

 

Results

Surveys were conducted each year of the contract and the 2009 and 2011 comparisons made.

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The teacher confidence in using ICT did increase over the three years as did the confidence in using ICT in the classroom.

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There was the lack of confidence of knowledge with web 2.0 tools in 2009 but this had improved by 2011.

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What did the students think?

 "In French we made calendars on the computer, it was really fun not having to do proper work.”

This student enjoyed the activity so much she didn’t realise the class was doing relevant tasks for learning new language in an exciting and engaging way.

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"I like them using powerpoints because I find it easier to look at the notes and diagrams.”

“I also like it in biology when they use Youtube because it makes it easier to understand processes that are happening."

"I enjoy lessons where my Maths teacher uses the smart board to teach, so that we can go back and look at notes if we need to instead of her having to rub them out for more space. I also like it when teachers use clips from Youtube to help illustrate a point or show us something that we didn't know."

As we move forward morphing into Blended e-Learning, the focus will be very much on ‘evidence’ – how will teachers know that the ICT intervention they have used or got students to use has made an impact on the student and improved learning and achievement?

Where to from here?

Teachers now have the confidence to use ICT in the classroom and both schools have a wireless campus. We will continue to use teachers as facilitators of workshops where ICT is modelled through classroom practice. Teachers will be looking to build on their knowledge and many have already started exploring eportfolios using the Registered Teacher Criteria as their starting point.  It will not be about what ICT tools we are using but rather a shift to the way teaching and learning takes place to provide better outcomes for students.

Inquiry model used:

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