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Formal and Informal On-line Communities to Support Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Chris Daw Cambridge International Examinations Phil.

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Presentation on theme: "Formal and Informal On-line Communities to Support Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Chris Daw Cambridge International Examinations Phil."— Presentation transcript:

1 Formal and Informal On-line Communities to Support Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Chris Daw Cambridge International Examinations Phil Riding Interactive Technologies in Assessment and Learning (ITAL) Unit

2 Overview Who we are Our interest in Continuing Professional Development Technology - ‘VLE-lite’ Formal teacher development Informal teacher development

3 Context University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate OCR CIE ITAL ESOL

4 Continuing Professional Development Traditionally delivered at face to face INSET Some benefits of f2f  Allows teachers to share best practice  Encourages peer support and networking Some shortcomings of f2f  Divorced from practice  Lacking in follow up  Expensive (time and money)  Discriminatory

5 What makes good CPD for teachers? It should aim to: Be ongoing Be school-based and rooted in the knowledge base of teaching Be flexible and fit in with the natural rhythms of teaching Be collaborative and allow teachers to interact with peers Include opportunities for reflection and group enquiry into practice Be accessible and inclusive On-line Communities could be the answer…

6 Using technology to support effective CPD - Communication Email-based discussion groups  Asynchronous  ‘Push’  Text-based  Archived Enables/encourages  Real time problem solving  Collaboration  Making implicit knowledge explicit  Greater/wider participation

7 Online communities - software

8 Using technology to support effective CPD - Sharing Web-based document, URL and FAQ facility Distribute/Share documents (tasks, worksheets, etc.) Collect and publish Frequently Asked Questions Provide a ‘one-stop’ site for community Easy to manage by tutor or listowner

9 Online communities - software



12 Formal/ Institutional Informal/ deinstitutionalised The CPD spectrum Curriculum-basedNo curriculum StructuredUnstructured Specified learning outcomesNo specified learning outcomes Time constrainedOpen ended TutoredUntutored CertificatedUncertificated

13 4 types of learning community 13 FormalInformal Teacher E-tutor 2

14 1 - formal teacher development 6 week course Structured  Assignments  E-tivities Certificate of participation Using ‘VLE-lite’ Migration from formal to informal communities 397 teachers have attended courses so far, in 19 subjects, from over 40 countries on all continents


16 2 - formal e-tutor training and development Why train the e-tutors?  Facilitation of on-line learning and communities demands new skills and roles  Not all good face-to-face tutors make good on-line tutors Therefore we needed to devise a course that converted good face-to-face teachers into good e-tutors.

17 Formal E-tutor training and development - first iteration A one-day face-to-face training session Followed by E-mail based discussion list

18 Issues arising from the first iteration Participants all said that the best preparation was ‘doing it’ - we needed to offer them more ‘experience’ More focus was needed on helping e-tutors to promote on-line reflective discussion More input/discussion on ‘virtual classroom’ management needed The need for us to develop our skills in creating and supporting a community of e-tutors A better method of sharing tasks, resources and ‘artefacts’ was needed

19 Iteration 2 100% on-line Guided observation on existing courses (6 weeks)  ‘As students’, ‘as tutors’ Facilitated discussion (2 weeks) - loose agenda covering the social, pedagogical, managerial and technical roles of an e-tutor We invited existing tutors to be part of discussion group (‘elders’) Use of a website to share resources and artefacts arising from the communities

20 Outcomes/issues The facilitated discussion was not a success (most discussion occurred during the observation period) Our ‘structure’ got in the way. Better to allow tutors to raise issues as they arose (move to more informality). We are still learning about e-tutoring. E-tutor community.

21 3 - informal teacher development UK and worldwide teacher ‘communities’ OCR/CIE syllabus focussed No ‘course’ Community-defined content ‘Rolling membership’ No certification No ‘tutor’ - everyone is a potential tutor!

22 Membership (UK communities)

23 Contributions

24 How do teachers use the communities? Share resources and ideas Ask about the examination Talk about professional issues Advertise things and jobs Make contacts Just listen - ‘lurking’ is OK! ‘Vicarious learning’ Not argue, or talk about computers

25 Share resources and ideas ‘Can anyone help me find some interesting places to take a large group of psychology students (around 100) whilst on a day trip to London?’ ‘I am teaching psychology for first time this year. I am on my own with 26 keen students and I' m very keen to share ideas with anyone out there. My plan is […]), I am writing to let others know that I took a large group of AS students to the Science Museum just before Christmas and it was a great success. There is plenty to look at in the new gallery... During this year, my students prepared the Core Advanced and the following modules: {…}. I would like to share their experience during the assessments. [followed by detailed analysis of her students’ and her own experiences] I think it is a good idea to share exercises. The following is an example for Data Analysis, Standard Level I used with my class. It is very similar to an example from the Tutor Pack, but my students needed more information than what was provided in the example.

26 Ask about the examination Clarification  (New OCR teacher) I have just received practical investigation folders. Are there rules about when the students fill them in, what the content should be, how much help I can give etc.?  I forgot to ask another question about business chart module. I would like to know what to cover in order to prepare them for "extracting data from a large set". Debate  I am not convinced […] that this syllabus represents a more applied, practical, or inventive way in which to teach the discipline. I find many of the core studies are far too complex for a pre-A-level course, not to mention tedious!.[…]  I could not agree less with what xxx has said. I made the switch to OCR in 1994 and have never looked back. It provides a wonderful opportunity to be inventive in your teaching...far more than AEB/AQA does. Try re-enacting some of the studies as a starter!! […]

27 Advertise jobs/things We need a Psychology teacher after Christmas. It could be full or part time. Needless to say we have a lovely department and do OCR A level only. Have a look at my website for more teaching ideas… Here is a list of all the INSET courses that we are offering this term…

28 Make Contacts I teach at Bushey Meads. I did not know there was a fellow OCR colleague so close… Anyone fancy getting together to thrash out a unit on crime psychology? I teach in Karachi too! How about we get together one weekend?

29 Just listen ‘Although I have never contributed to it I have found it to be an excellent resource and have very much enjoyed reading people's views, comments etc’. ‘I'm enjoying the experience of being part of the 'net group'. One reason for not contributing earlier is because other people have asked questions I was considering.’

30 What are the success factors? Push technology Focus No compulsion to contribute The subject area? Moderation/tutoring?

31 ‘Tutor’ contributions

32 What kinds of messages do the tutors send?

33 Future research and development Develop the informal community of e-tutors Develop ‘VLE-lite’ to incorporate a management system Legitimation - how to assess it (Slashdot type tracking?) Cultural issues To what extent do we have ‘communities’? Who’s been learning here and who’s been teaching?

34 E-conference on teacher training and staff development (EDEN/OU/UCLES sponsored) This presentation will be available at

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