This gap has been my target, I would not force anybody to embrace 21st Century technology, nor would I insist they utilise them in the classroom, but I truly believe that as yet further advances are made in technology, educators need to be aware of and, if appropriate, at least be capable of pointing children towards the tools available.
To this end I have been a staunch supporter, and advocate of the 'converted' (you are probably one if you are reading this) supporting those, who for whatever reason, struggle to access the technology that 21st Century society offers them. For this reason, predominantly, although there are benefits for the children and the school. I decided to offer a free 'Basic ICT Course' to the staff in my school.
I put up a list on the noticeboard, included a brief course outline, and a choice of days (I was going to do an hour a week, for 5 weeks, on a Wednesday or a Thursday). They were to give up their own time and stay late at school, to step outside their comfort zones. CPD is fine when it suits you, but personal sacrifice for CPD can be difficult to buy into. I was amazed, not only was there take up, but I was oversubscribed! Instead of Wednesday OR Thursday, I was having to do both days, 36 people ( a third of the staff), including all the SMT opted in.
I have just finished week two, the altruistic intentions of my actions are supported by a number of staff thanking me for the things they are learning, and putting into practise both at school and at home (I await patiently the arrival of my sainthood or at least a mention in the Queen's Birthday honours list). The ultimate outcomes:
- Greater confidence in use of ICT across the school.
- Better support for our students in their use of ICT.
- Maximised usage of the hardware and software available.
- A shift towards a 21st Century learning experience for the children.
It has been well received, I have enjoyed the praise that has been offered me and there is a discernable buzz around the staff room regarding ICT generally. Hopefully, despite it being a small step, I am making some inroads into bridging the gap between those who can, and those who want to, embrace the technological era.