The SchoolNet training programme is meant to provide educators with an avenue for improving their use of ICT for both personal professional and educational purposes. While the focus is on the latter, it is acknowledged that most educators would perceive personal administrative needs to be more pressing initially. This programme should offer accredited short courses as well as longer-term qualifications and accreditation through partner agencies. The programme must be flexible in its access, content and delivery, thereby making it possible for all educators to participate if they wish to, without the tendency to marginalise those in rural areas and provinces with less capacity.
A SchoolNet educator development programme must result in positive professional development and should
The educator development programme should lead to
This professional development will take place over a long period of time and is more likely to be successful if there is a high standard of authentic challenge and relevant support throughout this time.
Development stage reference
Educator reaction to the introduction of technology into their workspace, and their subsequent development could be reliably generalised along these lines:
Stage 1 - Entry:
Variously experienced frustrations and insecurities commonly found with the introduction to new technology and new environments. Educators would be grappling with self-confidence and acquiring basic IT skills.
Stage 2 - Adoption:
The struggle ends and educators start focusing on using the technology to support traditional instruction. The emphasis is on the acquisition of a range of appropriate ICT skills according to the needs of the individual.
Stage 3 - Adaptation:
Productivity increases. Information technology is used to enrich the curriculum. ICT is used as a tool. Greater commitment and understanding is common. This is the stage where educators increase the quantity and quality of use, also allowing learners to use the technology as a basic production tool e.g. writing and presentation, communication, information retrieval. This is a basic adaptation and its magnitude and success would be proportional to the amount of access educators have to the technology.
Stage 4 - Appropriation:
This is the point at which the educators feel that they have mastered the tool and use it effortlessly to do their work. Educators now have the time and confidence to reflect on how technology can influence their teaching and learning strategies and new strategies are more commonly used in order to make use of ICT's strengths. This stage would be characterised by approaches such as project-based learning, collaborative work and problem-solving.
Stage5 - Invention:
Educators discover new uses for technology. "Redefining classroom environments and creating learning experiences that truly leverage the power of technology" assumes classroom management skills and higher levels of creativity. 52
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Training Needs Survey
An e-mail survey was conducted amongst online school educators to try to establish in what kinds of ICT-related courses educators would be interested. Seventy-four responses have been received. The summary of the survey results are in Appendix J. The original hypothesis was that educators with little computer experience (up to 5 years computer experience with no more than 2 years Internet experience) would not have sophisticated training requirements. This hypothesis was not proved totally correct. While a greater percentage of inexperienced computer users (17%) wanted basic ICT skills training, than in experienced users (9%), the absolute total number of responses was not significantly different (8 and 9 respectively). In other words, experienced users also expressed a fairly significant interest in basic ICT skills training. However, ICT skills training as such, was not in high demand compared with training in learning strategies and ICT Integration (63% and 61% respectively).
There is a significant interest in training involving learning strategies and integration. The courses most in demand are (in order of demand):
SchoolNet's project training requirements are aimed at implementation of the Thintana and Telkom 100 projects. The two projects have similar implementation procedures and training requirements. In addition to this, the CETDE's SCOPE project will be run in co-ordination with SchoolNet.
The SchoolNet training requirements, as most recently stated in the Telkom 100 project plan, are:
"Schools/centres must take part in training that will ensure the effective use of ICT's in their schools. Face-to-face workshop-based training, focused on teachers will include the following:
1 Day Computer Literacy Refresher and access to Educator Resources Course. (Output: Introduction to basic computer skills resources)
2 Day Technical Training Course, off-site, focused on at least two technically competent staff members per school. (Output: Basic network administration skills and technical skills)
2 Day Computers in Education Course. (Output: Effective educational application through involvement in virtual learning communities)
2 Day Advanced Computers in Education Course. (Output: Refresher course; Advanced educational application; Information Management)
In addition, provincial schools networks and other NGOs offer regular short courses, workshops and conferences throughout the year, and schools/centres can fund their own participation. Trained school-based instructors will deliver training as well as training outsourced to specialist organisations / companies, based on materials developed and modified by SchoolNet. SchoolNet is presently evaluating the effectiveness of the use of workshops, and may also adopt an approach that includes an online and accredited ongoing learning experience, which may be substituted for one or two day's worth of training."
These requirements are likely to be rephrased subject to discussions about the recommendations of this framework.
The programme purpose of component 2 of the SCOPE project will seek to model "best practices in OBE using technology to enhance learning". The purpose of component 2 of the SCOPE project is "that learners and educators in at least 20 schools are utilising ICT to enhance teaching and learning. This would be evident in e.g.
There will be a uniform approach to the use of materials and educator development programme organisation for the SCOPE (Component 2), Thintana and Telkom 100 projects.
It is implied in these training requirements that the described training activity represents the minimum training intervention. The ongoing development and support of educators will take a much longer period of time and will be characterised by a variety of support structures and resources.
It is apparent that the development of suitably skilled trainers for the training of modules with greater educational context is a pre-requisite for the successful implementation of these project plans. At this stage SchoolNet and its partners have made use of training interns (not qualified educators) and in-service educators for conducting the Telkom 1000 project training. It will become necessary to polarise the training strategy by employing training interns to satisfy the large baseline need for basic IT skills training and support. Qualified educators with experience in educational ICT will need to be specifically prepared to act as trainers in subsequent training modules where the emphasis is on the educational integration of ICT with the curriculum.
Bearing this in mind, SchoolNet's training requirements could be divided into several main categories: