Saturday, 4 July 2009

Technology the future and CPD

I was asked this week what I thought technology in schools would look like in the future? An impossible task really. Goodness, people just a few years ago thought mobile phones would never take off due to their enormous size. Look at their vast computing power now.

What we can safely predict is that everyone will have their own dedicated high quality device - many schools are heading that way already. They will be able to log in anywhere, anytime and work and communicate locally, nationally and globally. I was pushed as to whether that meant everyone just having a laptop - my answer is no, I am sure it will be a range of devices - it's just that we may not have seen them yet.

This is the key reason why new learning spaces have to be so carefully configured to maximise agility in learning, be adaptable for the widest range of learning styles and have fully integrated technological capacity. All this has to be able to proactively adapt to whatever the future brings.

This is a real challenge for many teachers, especially those in very demanding schools. Preparation for this is long term and very much a 'journey' (even though I hate that phrase) and cannot be something just 'shoved on' in an evening session or one professional day. Most staff I still actively work with really like to see ideas for the future, but then also want to see how it works in their own room, with their students, on the real work that has to be done with all the challenges of results driven, inspection driven, National Challenge demand and and and and..

Many tell me that they consider the most effective form of professional development occurs when people are modelling, coaching and supporting staff in their own classrooms. This is really effective but cannot just be a brief 'one-off' visit. It is about developing confidence, skills and ideas and having people to praise, help plan and suggest 'alternative routes' when learning goes in a different directions. They also want time to plan, evaluate how things went and share experiences and ideas to move forward. Developing teams of people confident in new strategies is the way forward. Funding models often do not allow this currently and the whole approach to CPD just has to be reviewed.

Even in BSF, there are budgets for everything, buildings, ICT (equipment and training) but no budgets are specifically identified for education transformation CPD - the people bit (except whatever funds can be spared from the ICT budgets but it is so much more than just that).

New buildings do not bring about education transformation - but they can really enhance the opportunities if people know how to respond to them. If we get this wrong then we are not encouraging the long term transformational agenda? We need a rethink!


Anonymous said...

Spot on comment here - I agree with the sentiment. BUT never will they change the way they allow teachers to do CPD.

I need quality dedicated time if I am to change the way I work. I am willing to try but not if I just get set up to fauil. Give ne the resources and I will happily do it.

Anonymous said...

I must agree with both blog and comment. A few weeks training for a teacher isn't as obvious to the world as a nice, new shiny piece of equipment. What is so obvious to many of us is that it is pointless buying the machine unless someone can use it to its full potential. (Do you remember the Monty Python sketch with the machine that went 'bing'. Classic.)