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« Computers in Classrooms | Main | ICT: Irrelevant Curriculum Today? »
Tuesday
Apr172012

What makes a good ICT role model?

In England we have a weekly soap set in a school called Waterloo Road. This has everything you would hope not to find in a school: inappropriate behaviour, theft, even attempted murder – and that’s just the staff. The kids are pretty OK by comparison: teenaged pregnancy, illegal drug-taking and gangs. Strangely enough, there doesn’t seem to be more than 30 kids on roll, judging by the number of people who attend whole-school assemblies. But my main interest is this: what (good) use of technology is shown in this programme?

Where is their ICT role model?Where is their role model? Photo (c) Anoka County LibraryThe answer is, precious little. Occasionally, you see an interactive whiteboard with something displayed on it. However, that something is invariably a page full of text and is never referred to or used in any way by the teacher.

A few weeks ago the head boy and girl were allowed time off lessons or studying to make a promotional video about the school, and were permitted, unsupervised, to upload it to the school website. There was an implicit assumption that being studious also meant being trusted to ensure you could take responsibility for ensuring that something uploaded to the school website was appropriate. It’s a dangerous assumption to make: even using an out-of-date logo could be construed as inappropriate (I was once asked to change the logo I’d used on a Local Authority training pack for ICT because, unbeknownst to me, the corporate logo had recently been changed.)

Needless to say, someone intervened and uploaded the outtakes, which were pretty embarrassing (the two people concerned were “an item”).

The only good use of technology, in fact, is displayed by the kids, when they use their phones to text each other with messages like “Skip last lesson? Meet you outside the gate at 2”.

So, the school is not a good example of a functional school in general, and neither is it a beacon of excellence in terms of the use of technology. But an article in the Daily Telegraph made me think: but what would a good role model of ICT/technology actually look like?

In the article, Hossein Yassaie, the Chief Executive of Imagination Technologies, argues that what we need is a David Beckham figure for technology, to get young people interested:

In the UK, people get excited by what they see – The X Factor or football. David Beckham is a big deal [in inspiring young people] but we don't have an equivalent for British technology.

Fine words, but what would such a person “look” like? What does a good role model in ICT (Educational Technology) look like?

I have a few ideas of my own, but I’d be interested to hear what others think, so I’ve set up a short survey to canvass people’s views. Results will be published here in a few weeks’ time. Do spare 5 minutes or so to share your views, as I think this is an important issue.

Other articles you may find interesting in this regard are:

What Does A Good ICT School Look Like?

25 Features Of Outstanding ICT Lessons

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Reader Comments (2)

A good ICT teacher should be a trained teacher who is well grounded in pedagogy and who possesses a qualification in educational technology. This person should be knowledgeable in ICT as well as in other content areas because he or she would be required to work in other subject areas. The ICT teacher should be enthusiastic about technology. However this person should also be wiling to admit when he or she doesn’t know an answer and should be willing to learn from others – teachers as well as students.

This person should also be clearly able to articulate the reasons for using technology. He or she should be able to clearly explain the potential benefits of using technology but should also be aware of the inherent disadvantages of technology use. He or she must be patient and diplomatic as other teachers might be resistant to using technology and might therefore be opposed to intrusions in their areas of expertise.

This teacher should be able to help pupils develop the knowledge and skills which would allow them to utilize technologies efficiently and effectively. The ICT teacher should also be creative in using ICT, and be able to do so in a wide range of subjects and contexts. He or she should be able to make good use of the wide variety of technologies available to him or her to enhance student learning.

This person should also be willing to train and work collaborative with the other teachers in the school to ensure that technology is integrated in the curriculum. Finally, the ICT teacher should model technology use. Not only in its application in the classroom, but to accomplish other tasks. For example using email to communicate, using spreadsheets and other similar applications to accomplish tasks like tracking student performance.
May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Haynes
Thanks for your very thought-provoking response, Andrew. What you're saying, I think, is that a good ICT teacher is not simply a technofile but someone who can understand both the benefits and the potential pitfalls of technology. I think in a wider sense a good teacher of ANY subject can admit when they don't know something, be able to collaborate with others and model good practice.

Thanks again!

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