7 mistakes I made as an ed tech co-ordinator #1: An omission
You know what Oscar Wilde said: “Experience is the term people use for ‘mistakes’”, or words to that effect. Well, I had a few ‘experiences’ when I was Head of ICT and Computing and ICT Co-ordinator, so I thought I’d share them in case they prove useful to others.
In this first article in the series, I describe not so much a mistake, as an omission. See what you think.
One of my tasks as an ICT Co-ordinator was encouraging other teachers to use technology in their lessons. I did a lot in that regard, such as making the facilities much easier and quicker to book, providing help in the form of quick-start guides and showing teachers and kids how to do something in their lesson.
But I do wish I’d thought of an idea that someone came up with at Government level. In this particular case the project was called, if memory serves me well, the hands-on project, and the idea was good, if expensive. Teachers were offered three lesson blocks with an ed tech advisor. In lesson 1, the advisor would take the lesson, using the technology in the service of that subject, while the teacher observed. In lesson 2, the teacher and advisor taught the lesson as a team, and in lesson 3 the teacher took the lesson while the advisor watched, and who then gave the teacher feedback afterwards.
It was obviously a huge commitment on each side, but in every case in which I was involved, the project seemed really successful. I heard good reports from others too.
I always kept in contact with the teachers I worked with in this way, and they continued to use the technology. That initial work paid dividends in terms of providing a safety net to under-confident teachers.
For such a project to work, there has to be a commitment on both sides to do the whole three lessons, not a quick demo of the software in the staffroom ten minutes before the lesson starts. There also needs to be planning time, in which the teacher explains what the learning objectives of the lessons will be. That may involve some training for the ed tech co-ordinator. For example, the only thing I know about geography is that maps are involved somehow, and what a Dalmatian coastline looks like, so I’d need a bit of teaching and hand-holding myself if a teacher of geography asked me to work with her.
The ‘hands-on support’ model is not a quick solution. It’s not an easy one either.
But it works.
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