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1 ICT and Professional Learning: towards communities of practice Ivan Webb, Dr Margaret Robertson & Dr Andrew Fluck From action research & in-school observations.

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Presentation on theme: "1 ICT and Professional Learning: towards communities of practice Ivan Webb, Dr Margaret Robertson & Dr Andrew Fluck From action research & in-school observations."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 ICT and Professional Learning: towards communities of practice Ivan Webb, Dr Margaret Robertson & Dr Andrew Fluck From action research & in-school observations made in Children, Online learning and Authentic Teaching Skills (COLAT) An Australian Research Council Linkage Project

2 2 Professional Learning & ICT - the current context

3 3 ICT use in schools: current situation Major systemic initiatives in relation to ICT Considerable history of ICT in schools (30+ years) Consistent hope: ICT as a catalyst for change But….mixed responses within and across schools ! ----------------------------------------------------------- Issue: Transfer of ICT use into in-class practices What is possible and under what conditions ? What is feasible and how ? What is desirable and why ?

4 4 ICT and professional learning Becta report: ICT and Pedagogy (Cox et al., 2004) : ‘…further substantial support for continuing professional development is necessary in order that teachers integrate the use of ICT and improve pupils’ attainment…’ (p.5) [however] ‘…little is known about the relationship between their experiences within professional development and their subsequent pedagogies when using ICT.’ ( p.36). Subsequent?

5 5 Background: COLAT Children, Online Learning & Authentic Teaching ARC Linkage project: Partners: Utas, DoE, CEO, Telstra From 2 to 4 days observations in each of 27 classrooms in 18 schools

6 6 ICT - three levels of consideration ICT is a whole school responsibility!! Consider ICT in 1.Governance – purposes, leadership & management (policies & provision) 2.Class – the use and contribution of ICT 3.Activity - using ICT in teaching & learning --------------------------------------------------- Nb. Consideration of ICT use should aim to achieve alignment and consistency across the school.

7 7 Four key success factors (?) 1.Purposes & rationale for using ICT are shared 2.Matching technology is available for use 3.Working knowledge - select, operate & troubleshoot ICT 4.Cost effectiveness - worth time, effort, investment… ----------------------------------------------------------------- Nb Teachers & observations confirm the above order of importance. Q: Where is most professional learning focused?

8 8 Other COLAT findings It is about practices !! Reliability is complex - includes ‘window of opportunity’ Professional learning ???? Collaboration leads to success Shared purposes & rationales  meaning (PL) Technology is better matched and available Knowledge and resources available More cost effective

9 9 COLAT - summary 1. Purposes & Rationale 2. Matching Technology 4. Cost Effectiveness 3 levels of consideration ‘Reliability’ Professional Learning?? Collaboration Practices using ICT 3. Working Knowledge

10 10 Action research projects Four in-school projects were undertaken In October- November 2003 To meet local needs To check on COLAT findings Allowing for local circumstances Lead by school team of principal & ICT leaders…

11 11 This study – six overlapping steps ‘Action research’ (knowledge-based improvement) 1.Introductory workshop (proposal & COLAT) 2.Plan project: focus, investigation, initiatives…. 3.Implement plan (4-6 weeks) 4.Monitor and learn from the implementation 5.Share learning with other project participants 6.Apply knowledge gained (short and long term) ------------------------------------------------------- Research team: collate case studies  findings

12 12 Sample Case Study Professional learning initiative at School L

13 13 Sample Case Study: School L 1. Be Informed Brief survey of staff re knowledge & experience with Inspiration ™ 2. Engage the learning group Negotiated participation as a group on basis of ability to contribute and benefit with support (survey data used) 3. Focus the learning Using Inspiration in wide range of activities in class (Prep – 6)

14 14 Sample Case Study: School L 4. Learn about ICT application or device Workshop on Inspiration learning with buddies 5. Plan new or improved practices using ICT planning use of software in class activities buddies to give in-class support 6. Apply in class program Implemented plans over next week or so, troubleshooting help from buddies 7. Observe experiences, gain & capture, insights Observed class during lessons, shared informally Online journal Our program

15 15 Sample Case Study: School L 8. Share & refine knowledge, skills and experiences Group review of activities and experiences, samples gathered and organised online (for the future) 9. Embed practices: share & transfer more widely Used software in other aspects of class programs. Experiences & products shared with whole staff 10. Revisit from time to time Leadership team will revisit from time to time. Step 9 for some other staff Spell checker Corridor walk

16 16 Findings

17 17 Professional Learning Cycle (emergent) Engage the learning group Focus learning Plan improved or new practices Trial in class program Embed & transfer practices Revisit Professional Learning Cycle Gain insights Share & refine Knowledge Experiences Products Learn about ICT Be informed

18 18 The emergent PL process 1.Be informed 2.Engage the learners as a group 3.Focus the learning: using IT in situ 4.Learn about the ICT application/device 5.Plan new/improved practices incorporating ICT 6.Apply practices in class programs (asap) 7.Observe experiences  insights 8.Share & refine knowledge, experiences & insights 9.Extend & embed practices 10.Revisit as required

19 19 Findings - Roles in PL Several discerned (not just expert-novice!!) 1.Learners all participants 2.Co-learners confirm and validate experiences!! 3.Tutors  ‘How to… ?' 4.Mentors  ‘What to do?' and ‘Why?’ 5.Facilitators  opportunities and processes 6.Supervisors acknowledge & endorse learning and new or improved practices ----------------------------------------------------------------------- NB. Roles are situational and dynamic!!

20 20 Recommendations (from participants) 1.Keep timelines short and the focus specific 2.Link possibilities of ICT with meaningful products, examples of use, credible experiences 3.Build collaboration within the learning group throughout, eg, match tutors:learners  how to use & manage ICT 4.Involve learners in planning & preparing ICT use in class 5.Arrange in-class support  maximize chance of success 6.Learn and apply  new or improved practices 7.Learn, share & take it forward (revisit later)

21 21 Some on-going challenges 1.Building collaboration between staff groups 2.Accommodating staff changes  start with induction 3.Selecting & arranging the most appropriate technology 4.When and how to upgrade (development is disruptive!!) 5.Inclusion of all staff in PL (equity of opportunity?) 6.Performance management vs professional learning, ie, individual vs collaborative professional learning

22 22 Build communities of practice !! 1.Focus on new or improved practices 2.Be informed  who knows, or wants to know, what?… 3.Build PL into the culture through collaboration 4.Extend collaboration to teaching, technical & other staff 5.PL is an on-going process (NOT an event !!) 6.Start with situated examples and credible experiences ----------------------------------------------------------------------- NB. Not a deficit model !!

23 23 Communities of practice (cont.) 7.Keep timelines short and the focus specific 8.Share the load: several roles & dynamic!! 9.Take ICT into the classroom with modelling & support. 10.Learn in meaningful groups and focus on their practices 11.Share & review the experiences within learning group 12.Share experiences & results beyond learning group

24 24 Thanks to… Project website Project schools and their generous staff members COLAT schools and participants Numerous colleagues who have provided encouragement, knowledge & insight

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