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How ‘geeky’ are our students? January 7, 2011

Posted by IaninSheffield in Management, Web 2.0.
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We’ve been needing to audit our students’ ICT ‘capabilities’ for a while, but I’ve been hanging back because I wasn’t at all sure exactly what I wanted to explore.  I knew I didn’t want to look at whether they know how and why to use ‘styles’ in a word processing application or the difference between relative and absolute references or the features of a relational database.  There’s no point – I can simply ask my colleagues in the IT department and they’ll give me chapter and verse because it’s what they do.

geek chat

from Geek And Poke

No I wanted to explore more generic . . . ‘skills,’ for want of a better word.  Some of the aspects of ICT use which have only come to the surface in recent times.  Neither did I want this to be an ‘assessment’ i.e. a means of grading our students and monitoring their progress with time . . . I think we do quite enough of that already thank you very much!  No, this exercise is much more about taking a snapshot of what our students currently can do and are doing so that we have an idea of their range of experience and whether that picture is any different across the year groups in school.

To what end?  Well it’s another way of helping us plan the ways our provision and infrastructure ought to be developing and perhaps to provide insights into the areas colleagues might wish to develop in addressing students’ needs and interests.
Here then are the areas I thought we might want to explore:

  • School-produced and delivered online resources (our learning platform)
  • Their experience creating things online
  • Using online communication tools
  • The resources/tools to which they have access
  • Gaming
  • GPS-related resources
  • Online shopping
  • Accessing information online (searching etc)
  • Being safe online
  • Ethical considerations of using computers

Despite the shortcomings of using questionnaires, I suspect a survey tool is likely to provide the most efficient way of collecting data.  So if you’d like to see a draft of how the questions are developing, head on here.  All observations, comments and suggestions welcome.

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ICT Skills (2.0?) Audit November 28, 2009

Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD.
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Teachers ICT Confidence?

from ltsScotland on Flickr

We’re currently engaged in a detailed review of ICT within school – largely following the Becta Self-Review Framework.  Having taken a whole-school view thus far, and with a departmental (faculty) perpsective still to come, it’s clear that an individual focus is also quite crucial.  In fact it is almost five years since our previous ICT Skills Audit . . . a lot’s happened since then!

Of course there’s no point re-inventing the wheel, so I cast around the Web for anything that might guide us in composing our latest version.  Well there’s quite a variety available, from Word docs to PDFs to spreadsheets to online surveys and spanning the years from 1997 until more recently.  Many are distinctly dated and are perhaps less relevent in today’s environment; most focus on discrete skills in the usual areas (file management, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations etc).  But I was wondering whether we ought to be asking the same (similar) questions we asked last time.  For most staff, it would show progression in most areas – there are many things that they now take for granted, they once found difficult.  And perhaps that’s just the point – the majority of staff have now embedded the basic skills in their practice.  Where once  an announcement “I’ve put a template in the teacher shared area for you” would have been met with many a rolling eye or blank gaze, now there’s not even a blink.  But now we’ve climbed that peak, we’re confronted with a new vista (with a small ‘v’) and we’ll need a more extensive skill set  to explore this new world.  And perhaps most crucially, we need to be able to adapt and develop new skills as we go to exploit what we find in this ever changing landscape.

skills audit draft

Draft document

With all that in mind, I wanted to consider statements which begin to explore the degree of confidence staff have in their skills across a wider range of areas.  However I’m conscious that I also need to manage the tensions of obtaining meaningful results whilst not placing too great a demand on teacher time.  So I’ve started a Google doc with some possible areas and statements we might consider.  If you’d like to take a look, or better yet add or amend the document, clicking here should open it.  Any feedback you have on the statements or the process or my thinking so far would be greatly appreciated – just add a comment at the end of the post.

I suspect it won’t be particularly popular with colleagues – self-reflection rarely is, and that’s a shame.  The intention and hope is to celebrate what we already know, explore those areas we may want to improve and inform us all of the paths we might want to develop as a school.  As with everything we do, there is one single overriding aim: to provide the best learning opportunites for our students.