Following the initial implementation of the ICT managed service across the Cranford Group of schools in Hounslow, West London; attention turned towards how ICT would be used more effectively to enhance teaching and learning in the primary and secondary schools. Gaia sponsors training and CPD as part of its managed service. In order to build a continuing professional development programme for the schools, our lead educational consultant met with senior staff and ICT leaders to consider the support required to make use of both established and emergent technologies. We considered the challenges and past failures of traditional ICT training in schools. Gaia therefore agreed on a more bespoke programme, whereby training would be set in the context of immediate school wide needs. Furthermore we addressed the need for support to be contextualised against the planning of forthcoming lessons by setting up a range of learning .and teaching projects. Through this option, lead teachers would be supported in implementing use of a particular device, software package or app.
Our aim was to build confidence amongst teachers and seed a cultural change that would see the transformed use of ICT as a tool for teaching, into its use as a tool for learning. Through the projects we aimed to understand the challenges, technical and educational which slow the widening use of technology. At the same time we wanted to unleash the expertise of the teacher in identifying ways that the technology can enhance learning. We adopted and education led approach to CPD across the secondary and four primary schools.
Each of the five primary schools in the Cranford Group had an entitlement to about four days of professional development support from Gaia’s expert education team. This input has been sustained over the past three years and it continues to address a range of needs in each school. Gaia acts as programme manager and broker of services ensuring that the schools have access to expert trainers, as and when they need support. For example, across four of the schools we are helping staff manage and use iPads. In Springwell Junior School we are supporting introduction of the computing curriculum.
Gaia’s expert consultant delivered planning workshops for each year team and teachers then applied the approach in the forthcoming curriculum unit. This process was repeated in January 2016. Meanwhile, at Beavers Primary we have supported administrative staff with use of shared calendars and teaching staff with introduction of new interactive presentation software. Additionally, we facilitated an ICT visioning day to help the coordinator develop the school’s ICT strategy. At Norwood Green Junior School, Gaia has sponsored the refurbished library and included a 3D projection studio. Following this we provided training for all staff in the school and, as part of a development project, created a new 3D experience for pupils. They can now visit the Minotaur in his Labyrinth as part of the their study of myths and legends. Gaia has also delivered training workshops to support the school with identifying how free on-line software resources can be used to support literacy work. This was coupled with training in the use relevant iPad apps.
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