Potholes ahead – caution advised

Computer literacy training, employing experts and certification are three potholes on the info-bahn that might damage your  institutions attempts to effectively use ICT.

Goveia and Soule’s article argues that if we are to foster ongoing and sustainable use of learning technologies in schools, there are three common “potholes” that we need to watch out for, as these indentions could keep teachers at an operational level in their journey along the info-bahn.

  • Pothole 1 – We need training in information and communications technology.
    Our focus needs to be on the learning process, and how the technology can enhance this. Educators need to understand what kind of learning they want and/or how they could use the technology to foster this learning.
  • Pothole 2 – We need an expert
    Good and experienced educators can usually recognise tools that will enhance their professional and classroom practice. Real world examples and expert modelling of the process of  technology use is probably more more valuable than lecturing about how they could use technology. If an expert is required, then the “expert” should demonstrate appropriate uses of technology and encourage educators to experiment and design teaching and learning activities for themselves.
  • Pothole 3 – We need a certificate
    Learning new technologies and applying them is a  lifelong endeavor. Certification verifies that a particular skill or skill set was obtained at a particular time. It does not illustrate how the skill was used to promote learning. If you want to identify competency, then it is more significant to take a look at an educator’s portfolio demonstrating their experiences in using technology than examining a collection certificates.

Training will not launch educators onto the road towards computer competency. An expert might know about the finer points of computing, and might inspire staff to use ICT, but a guru’s knowledge is best accessed when needed.  Experience is best demonstrated, and certification does not indicate ongoing competency.

Granted, the three aforementioned “potholes” could would look good on your ICT professional development programme, but in the long term, they will not  encourage a DIY approach amongst teachers and let them take ownership of their own ICT development. If we are going to encourage teachers to adopt, appropriate and innovate with ICT, we need to think about ways that teachers can take themselves beyond entry-level ICT use, and sustain their own educational ICT development.

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