Intensive learning for teachers: is this a solution to the current training deficit in Information Technology?.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
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Technology has revolutionised the way we work and is set to transform education. Information technology has been firmly placed at the very heart of the crusade to raise standards in schools but the task of getting schools online with adequate training for teachers' remains huge. Training has been erratic and inconsistent Coughlan (2000) explains with only one in five teachers actually using computers effectively. Inspectors' reports also suggest that many schools are struggling to meet the demands of information technology. This seemingly haphazard, free for all approach to the implementation of the internet revolution certainly caused an impact in my own school. With no formal training and staff forced to rely on their own limited expertise, only a patchy and haphazard coverage of the curriculum has been achieved. The adage 'terrified of technology' often quoted within articles on technology and education was clearly applicable in this case and a very real stumbling block to improvement. In addition, there was also clear evidence of a widening gap developing between the computer 'haves' and 'have-nots' amongst the children. In response to this rather bleak picture a plan of action was initiated. Consequently, a focused and intensive course of school based training was implemented. This school based training enabled teachers to be inspired and demonstrated how to make what seemed impossible, possible. The focused and intensive course of training also provided pupils with opportunities to concentrate their attention and receive immediate feedback, providing powerful reinforcement opportunities. An action research approach formed the backbone of this study supplemented and supported by techniques taken from both the positivist and ethnographic schools of thought. Adapting the strategies illustrated in Brown and Mclntyre's (1981) action research model, a clear five step process was followed. This involved identifuing a problem; formulating speculative principles; generating hypotheses; carrying out the action and collecting data for analysis and lastly revising earlier hypotheses. Evidence collected from assessment tests and questionnaires implemented pre and post training with pupils and staff revealed that the significant and almost instantaneous improvement that was expected had been realised. Aims one and two involved raising the profile and the level of I.C.T. competency and confidence amongst staff and pupils. Evidence suggests that these aims had been clearly met, with targets exceeding those expected. The third aim, namely to utilise information technology as an effective tool in other curriculum areas can only really be evaluated after a longer length of time. Early indications prove extremely positive but deeper analysis is needed before this can be supported with firm evidence.
MA Education Thesis
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