That’s the title of a short teacher development course I’ve been working on recently. It’s designed for pre-service trainees who have just completed their certificate course. The idea behind the course is to introduce the trainees 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. It’s the first time I’ve run a course of this kind. It’s the first time the training centre has offered one.
So, why now? and is it really necessary?
Why now? Well, because 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 IWBs and data projectors in their classrooms.
Is it really necessary? I don’t know. I guess that’s why I’m writing this post. When we first started discussing the possibility of running the course I posted this question on Twitter:
It was interesting that the first replies – and the majority of the replies I got – all said more or less the same thing. (Interesting but predictable I might add!) Teachers need to know that they don’t have to use technology. They need to be reminded that it’s the learners that come first and not the technology, that we always need to think about if we actually want to use the technology and if we choose to use it, why are we using it. Are we always using it for the right reasons?
I’m hoping our course will at least bring these issues and questions to the surface. That it’ll introduce the trainees to the ongoing debate and point them in various directions where they can find out more if they want. But another interesting thing that came up was the fact that a lot of initial training courses seem (seemed?) to ignore this whole area and that it seemed fair to let students know that it exists!
I got deeper into conversation with three teachers in particular, Mike Harrison, James Taylor and Sandy Millin. (Thank you so much to the three of you for the extended twitter chats on the subject). They are all teachers who use technology in their classrooms, who blog about using technology in their classrooms and are all active participants in the technology debate.They all qualified fairly recently, within the last five or six years, and none of them had had any formal training in the use of technology. We discussed this and whether it was actually a problem, one thing Sandy said struck a chord in particular :
And I guess that just about sums up why I think it may be important to offer this course. Because it’s there and in James Taylor’s words:
So, a few months down the line and we’re preparing our first course. Here’s the blog I created for it last night. I’ve just sent out the first few invitations. It’s got a very brief outline of the course objectives. We’ll be running it in the first week of August – if we get any takers – and I’d really appreciate any comments you may have on what we’re trying to do. And if it gets off the ground, I’ll be posting more about the course structure and how it develops.