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November 13, 2023
The ALT Annual Conference is for anyone involved in learning technology in both the higher and further education sectors. This year's conference celebrated the Association for Learning Technology's 30th anniversary and took place here at Warwick University back in September. I attended day two of the three day event and delivered a presentation called 'Transforming and enhancing teacher education.' This fitted under the conference track of 'Leading people in a time of complexity,' and considered how individuals and teams had driven change to solve complex and difficult problems.
At the end of Warwick's Phase II Strategy Renewal Process, my department (CTE) established six strategic priorities to enable it to extend its portfolio and expertise. It gained Academic Resource Committee funding for a year-long Project that focussed on developing its digital distinctiveness and increasing and disseminating its wider educational impact regionally, nationally, and internationally. I discussed my work on the Project and the range of roles that I adopted (using different hats as a metaphor for this) to enable me to manage the Project and discussed some of the challenges that I had faced.
I reflected upon how I had taken the role of a critical friend for the part of the Project that focussed on Mentoring. I described how I had had to reconcile my role as Project Lead and my involvement with Project Board with the critical friend role. By stepping up and accepting the multi-faceted nature of complex project work, I was able to make what could be seen as a conflict of interest by some, work for both me and the Mentoring team.
For the Digital Communities of Practice part of the Project, I reflected upon some of the challenges of co-leading and how I had refined my persuasion skills to better represent my views.
For the Reusable Learning Objects part of the Project I reflected upon how much more autonomy I had as lead for this work and how much easier this made the work. I also talked about needing to step back and focus on planning and development rather than completing everything myself - delegation, delegation, delegation!
For the Student Experience and Quality Assurance part of the Project, I once again reflected on my role as a critical friend and discussed some of the challenges that this work entailed. I also considered how my negotiation and communication skills had improved, as well as my assertiveness and active listening skills.
This link shows a post from X (formerly Twitter) by one of the conference conveners:
which was lovely to receive!
April 23, 2018
Andrew Petrie, a teacher at King Edward’s School, is measuring the impact of ICT on learning outcomes in his project. This post is linked to the post written by Jocelyn D’Arcy at King Edward’s School, Birmingham.
There were many reasons that motivated me to sign up for the internship program across the KES consortium. Firstly, I saw it as an opportunity to observe good practice in another school environment whilst also sharing some of my own skills in return. In addition to this, it allowed me to research an area of my own interest in more depth and tied in reasonably well with my Masters studies into the use of technology in the classroom. Finally, as an aspiring middle manager I felt it was an opportunity to add something unique to my CV that represented a driven and reflective teacher with the ability to drive forward new initiatives.
The research is focusing on the usefulness of technology in the classroom with one of the initial challenges being the matching of the aims of the school placement with what is achievable in a small scale research project. Whilst it is hoped that the research will provide some insight into the impact of technology on attainment, it is difficult to provide any conclusive evidence within the timescale of the current research. Observations and interviews with a series of staff that might consider themselves ‘techie’ or technophobes have been conducted with the aim of gaining a rounded picture of the potential benefits or limitations of using technology. The feedback provided in these interviews and observations will add direction when forming a questionnaire for the whole staff of the placement school.
After reviewing the results, I hope a clear picture will form regarding the use of technology across the school, its problems and benefits and the impact it has on student learning. After reflecting upon these results I will consider what advice I might offer the Senior Leadership Team of the school, and offer to provide a CPD session for any interested staff. It is my hope that I might add some of the ideas acquired from interviews and observations with staff to my own teaching practice as well as adding something new to my own school environment.
Of the nine schools in the foundation, two are selective independent, five are single sex selective state, one is co-educational selective state and one is a co-educational non-selective academy. Given the extreme diversity of our schools, collaboration within the foundation has not always been a strength! Sub-groups of the schools work very closely together, but others see each other more as competitors than potential collaborators. The internship programme was launched in September as a means of beginning to collaborate more effectively, share good practice across the foundation and develop the teachers in each of our schools.
The Internship Programme is a free programme that provides aspiring middle and senior leaders with the opportunity to gain experience in another school while acting in the capacity of a consultant. Host schools benefit from the expertise and knowledge of an ambitious practitioner reviewing a developmental priority area forthe school.
Each year, schools are invited to submit:
a) A list of issues on which they would welcome an external perspective (e.g. a review of an initiative in the school’s development plan or of a subject department to help inform self-evaluation). Some examples for possible projects include: quality of homework provision, Oxbridge programmes, strategies for teaching girls or coaching systems. It is also possible to review a particular subject or aspect of school life.
b) A list of the members of staff, probably middle leaders or aspiring middle leaders, who have been identified as being likely to benefit from an opportunity to broaden their leadership skills. Each school has their own process for identifying these staff members, but the process might include applications, or it might be incorporated into the performance management or CPD process.
Potential interns receive an email congratulating them on their nomination for an internship and inviting them to complete a questionnaire. This email is not a guarantee of an internship as that is dependent upon the allocation process.
The Internship Liaison Officer uses the questionnaires to match interns with projects and notifies host schools and successful interns with an email containing contact details, project brief and general expectations for scope and timescales of the internship project as well as the date and time for the central training. S/he also emails any unsuccessful applicants with brief feedback on their applications.
Teachers selected for an internship receive training on areas such as qualitative research design, report writing and presentation skills before starting their projects. Clear expectations on confidentiality are included in the training. The training is delivered centrally through the King Edward’s Consortium.
The format of the projects will vary widely depending on the nature of the brief but could involve staff/pupil/parent questionnaires or face to face interviews. Following analysis of the data, a written report and/or oral presentation to the school’s SLT will be made. The amount of time an intern might then need to spend in the host school will vary depending on the nature of the project but likely timescales include:
- Initial meetings to agree brief and methodology: half day
- Data collection (interviews etc): one day
- Presentation of report and findings to school’s SLT: half day (or twilight)
If the methodology involved questionnaires, these could be administered remotely and thus reduce the face to face time commitment.
Interns complete an online review of the programme; reflecting on their own development as well as offering insight into the programme. This information is collated by the Internship Liaison Officer and distributed to the headteachers of participating schools to inform future allocations for the next intern cohort.
In its inaugural year, we have 25 interns engaged in 25 different research projects exploring questions such as ‘How can we create truly independent learners at KS5?’, ‘Real stretch and challenge for the most able learners’ and ‘How does homework support the students’ mastery of their learning?'. We are excited to see how being an intern has developed teachers within the foundation while improving our schools.