And now for the blog post – the first of 2012, and although it’s February 2, I’m still going to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy 2012! – here goes!
Last summer I wrote about a short training course I’d been trying to put together for a local training centre. It was intended as an extension of a pre-service certificate course. It felt like a good idea at the time. This was the rationale:
“in our immediate context, and increasingly in other contexts too, newly qualified teachers may well be asked about their views on the use of technology in job interviews, or be expected to use integrated whiteboards (IWBs) and data projectors in their classrooms”
And the aim was to:
“introduce trainees (and teachers unfamiliar with technology) to the issues, both pedagogical and technical, as well as to offer them a safe environment to dip their toes into the world of web 2.0 and educational technology.”
At the time there weren’t enough people interested and we didn’t run the course.
Last week the training centre got in touch asking me to update the information on the course so that they could advertise it well ahead of time and possibly get more takers for this summer. In the meantime I had started to think about possibly offering the course as an online, moodle-based course. It seemed to solve the question of trainees having to stick around for an extra three days, pay for more nights in local accommodation and could possibly appeal to a wider audience.
Every Thursday I walk home after class with the course director. The walk takes about 15 minutes and those Thursday morning walks are great. We talk non-stop! We plan and reflect on lessons, plan course strategies, discuss problem students, and generally put the world to rights
Last Thursday we talked about the edtech issue. We started off thinking about who, how, when it could be run. We talked about the online option. We agreed at one point that a blended course might be the best option, but then slowly we talked our way away from the whole course. Basically turned our backs on it.
There has been one key change since the course was first mooted this time last year. The school – and training centre – has moved. In its old premises there was only one, portable projector and a fairly shaky portable ebeam. They weren’t used much in class, and weren’t used on the certificate courses at all – except for one input session where we talked about ways of exploiting digital images and video clips. In September the school moved into its new premises. There are ceiling bracketed projectors and wifi access in all the rooms. Use of the technology has been integrated into all the classes – it’s part and parcel of the school. And it’ll be part and parcel of the training courses this summer – for trainers and trainees alike.
So, in the space of less than six months, the introduction to technology course has become obsolete. There is absolutely no need to divorce it from the main course. I remembered a great post by Marisa Constantides about how she is integrating edtech tools in her pre-service certificate courses. Read about it here. It makes so much sense. This is so obviously the future .. or in fact, the present!
And so, I turned down the offer to write and run the course this summer. Instead we’re going to get together to discuss how to approach integrating tech tools into the course in the most natural and unobtrusive way possible. We want to negotiate a shared approach which will inform all aspects of the course: the lessons taught by the tutors on the first day of teaching practice, the unknown language lessons in the first week, the input sessions, the pre-course questionnaire and tasks, the materials assignments … everything. A kind of mission statement for principled use and best practice.
That’s one meeting I’m really looking forward to going to!