NESTA today published it’s Decoding Learning report – “The Proof, Promise and Potential of Digital Education”.
I skimmed the majority of the pages, to the most important sections of the report – the conclusion. In it we find a telling case of digital illiteracy across the teaching profession. This mirrors the findings of Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope’s Next Gen report (also published by NESTA) where the use of creativity is hampered by schools having neither the capacity nor incentives to impart technical knowledge regarding the digital world. What we do have is pockets of outstanding teaching and learning work, by a small group of enthusiastic and passionate educators who are doing amazing things in their own schools. The problem is harnessing this knowledge and transferring it to the rest of the teaching population – “Teachers may require additional training that enables them to use technologies in new ways”.
How will this happen? There is no structured approach to training within schools. There are loose “CPD” guidelines and a raft of INSET days which seem to be taken up with paperwork and endless meetings with spiel straight from the satirical worlds of Twenty-Twelve or Absolute Power. The cost of sending teachers to training centres is prohibitive, time-consuming and places an extra burden on schools through cover. We have facilities throughout the country which can be used – either on University campuses or within City Learning Centres or other faculties – what we need is a nationwide network of trainers, and a set day within the school calendar, be it on an INSET date, or rethink the summer holiday schedule (to prepare for the new year) where in mass, teachers go and obtain the CPD they require.
This has to be led by government, aided by the exam boards and made compulsory to have any effect whatsoever in schools nationwide.