Technology also has a great deal to offer
education itself. The use of ICT in the classroom can enrich every subject at
every level, inspiring and motivating students through new types of experiences
Today's young people face careers and lives
in a rapidly changing, increasingly technology-enabled world. Education has a
vital role to play in preparing them for this: both laying the foundations for
the nation's future technology professionals and helping all students to
develop the skills to use technology effectively.
Prensky (2001) suggested that young people today
are 'Digital Natives', growing up surrounded by technology. Many of them are
avid users of digital technology: from mobile phones to the internet and social
media. Every year they arrive at school with more advanced technology skills. Their
education needs to cater for a wide range of prior experience, stretching
students with very different existing expertise. It needs to provide the depth
of knowledge and understanding to turn informal, ad hoc skills in the use of
technology into a solid basis for future study and careers in the digital
There are also changes to the curriculum in
schools. Competence in the use of Information and Communications Technology
(ICT) is already a statutory part of the National Curriculum for students aged 5
to 16 (Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4). Recent government reports (e.g. Rose 2009,
OFSTED 2009) have set out a series of changes to the primary and secondary
curriculum, including a greater focus on the use of ICT in all subjects and recognition
of its growing importance as a core competence alongside literacy and numeracy.
The new Diploma in IT for 14 to 19
year olds has recently been introduced, and there is continued evolution of
other technology-related qualifications for students in this age group, in
particular the GCSEs and A-levels in ICT and Computing.
All of these factors have far reaching
implications for the way in which technology is taught and used in education, placing
new demands on the professional skills and knowledge required of teachers. In
recognition of these new demands, a new programme of professional development is
being established for primary and secondary school teachers across England.
The Programme recognises that across the
teaching profession there is a huge range of experience, expertise and
confidence when it comes to technology, resulting in a wide range of
development needs. This will be reflected in the range of professional
development opportunities to be offered. The Programme will identify and build
on the best of what is currently available, developing new provision where
required, and making it easier for teachers and their schools to find the
courses and learning opportunities that best meet their needs.
Led by The Open University,
working in partnership with e-skills UK, the £5.6million programme will provide
development opportunities both for those teaching technology (IT / Computing /
ICT) as a subject, and for those who wish to use ICT more effectively in the
teaching of other subjects. Funded by the Department for Children, Schools and
Families (DCSF), the purpose is to help teachers improve the learning
experience for young people. The Programme brings together the world leading
virtual learning environment of The Open University with e-skills UK's extensive employer reach. As the Sector
Skills Council for Business and Information Technology, e-skills UK has a track record of creating
employer-backed resources for education that reflect latest industry thinking
The Programme recognises that, to succeed,
the opportunities provided need to be practical and realistic. They must
address real needs, relate to actual classroom contexts, recognise the
expertise that teachers already have - and the constraints they have to work
under - and provide inspirational new ideas and resources. The Programme will
therefore combine a range of flexible, state-of-the-art online learning opportunities
with whole day and 'twilight' face-to-face sessions, enabling teachers to
choose options that best meets their needs and schedules. It will also
encourage the development of dynamic online communities, both for specialists
in technology subjects and teachers of other subjects wanting to better exploit
new technologies in their lessons. The online communities will enable teachers
to share with and learn from each other, training providers, and others engaged
in the field.
Support for specialists
Professional development for teachers
specialising in technology subjects -for example the IT Diploma and Computing
qualifications- will include firsthand experience of ways in which technology
is used in business and to drive innovation. It will make use of resources
designed by employers, and some of the learning will take place at employer
Support for teachers of all subjects
For teachers of all subjects, there will be
the opportunity to build skills in the use of ICT, helping them to stay up to
date with the latest developments and meet the needs of an increasingly
technology-literate generation. It will help teachers to understand the potential
of ICT as a valuable pedagogical tool and how to help their students build their
own capabilities in the use of ICT.
The development phase of the Programme will
be completed by the end of 2009. This includes identifying suitable existing
provision, developing new courses as required and establishing a regional
presence to support teaching staff. The Programme will launch formally in
January 2010. It will be subject to ongoing review and evaluation to ensure it
continues to meet the needs of teachers and the changing curriculum.
and schools can register their interest in the Programme with Peter Twining at
The Open University: firstname.lastname@example.org.
already has many excellent technology teachers as well as teachers who are
inspirational in their use of ICT in lessons in other subjects. This Programme
aims to raise the overall standard to that of the very best. It will give
education professionals, whatever their current level of expertise and skills,
the confidence to make choices about how to teach technology as a subject and
how to use new technologies in all subjects, enhancing and enriching education
for all young people and their teachers. It's about helping teachers to do what
they do best.
and organisations interested in offering training for teachers through the Programme
can contact Debbie Forster at
e-skills UK: Debbie.email@example.com.
of the ICT CPD Programme
Department of Education, The Open University
Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital
Immigrants, On the Horizon Vol.9 No5, pp1-6.
OFSTED (2009) The importance of ICT: Information and Communication technology in
primary and secondary schools, 2005/2008. London: OFSTED. Ref 070035.
Rose, J. (2009) Independent
Review of the Primary Curriculum: Final Report, London: DCSF Publications. DCSF 00499-2009DOM-EN