This project (2018-1-SE01-KA201-039098) has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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School directors and Policy Makers

Strategies to implement innovative ICT based approaches to teach Sciences at Secondary school level.

The guidelines aim at providing science secondary school teachers with the competences to make an effective use of ICT based science teaching learning objects.

School Directors’ and Policy Makers’ Guidelines

3 Recommendations to Encourage Professional Development in the Integration of ICT in Science Teaching
This module provides guidelines for policy makers and school directors, based on the research findings on national policies and programmes for Professional Development of teachers. The importance of digital competencies is de facto in current education systems. As members of the EC, Sweden, Italy and Ireland are presented with EU-wide policies informed by research into education and ICT access.

Appropriate tools for Personal and Professional Development have been identified but the policy makers and school directors have a major role in management of teachers’ capability to participate in Continuous Personal Development (CPD) initiatives. These have been summarised in three categories:

External to the Schools
  • National policies for Professional Development of teachers.
  • Professional Development provided by education groups within each country.
  • Support for Professional Development provided by national organisations.
Internal to the Schools
  • Specific tools and technologies used across the school.
  • Student management specific tools and technologies.
  • General technologies available throughout the school.
  • Teaching specific technologies.
Personal and Professional Networks and Instructional Design
  • Mechanisms of collecting and curating appropriate resources.
  • Rethinking pedagogies for the digital age.
Remedies for teachers’ and students’ difficulties with uptake or implementation of ICT to supplement their teaching and learning can also be summarised under these headings:
  • Infrastructure: access to high speed broadband.
  • Access to hardware in classrooms.
  • Access to software in classrooms.
  • Embedding ICT training and implementation in Initial Teacher Education.
  • Access to appropriate Continuous Professional Development training.
  • Time for training.
  • Whole school policies on ICT in education.
  • Recognition of participation in Continuous Professional Development activities.
Of course, parents must also see the value in investing in hardware and software for their children’s use in educational settings, e.g. smartphones and tablets. The students must also have access to high speed broadband if they are to complete self-directed homework tasks to complement their learning in school. All of this must be done with awareness of internet safety protocols.

The benchmark findings of the latest EU survey regarding ICT related teacher professional development are interesting:
  • More than 6 out of 10 students across all ISCED levels are taught by teachers who engage in personal learning about ICT in their own time.
  • Between 29% (ISCED 2) and 41% (ISCED 1) of students are taught by teachers who participate in online communities for professional discussions with other teachers.
  • In contrast, only between 12% (ISCED 3) and 27% (ISCED 1) of European students are taught by teachers who participated in a compulsory ICT training.
  • Between 43% (ISCED 1) and 50% (ISCED 3) of students are taught by teachers who have undertaken pedagogical courses on the use of ICT.
  • Introductory courses on Internet use and general applications are more common among teachers than more advanced courses: between 27% (ISCED 2) and 31% (ISCED 2 and 3) of students are taught by teachers who undertook such introductory courses.
  • Between 45% (ISCED 1) and 55% (ISCED 2) of students have teachers who invested more than 6 days in professional development in ICT during the past two years.
  • Only between 2% (ISCED 1) and 4% (ISCED 2 and 3) of European students have teachers who report having spent no time at all on ICT related professional development activities over the past two years.
  • At all ISCED levels, most applied methods by schools in order to reward teachers for ICT use in teaching and learning are providing additional training hours and additional ICT equipment for the classroom.
  • Between 62% (ISCED 1) and 81% (ISCED 2) of students are in schools with an ICT coordinator.
  • Both teachers and head teachers over all ISCED levels have a very positive attitude towards using ICT for learning and teaching. In this respect, the positive opinions of head teachers are even more pronounced.
  • Both teachers and head teachers clearly agree that ICT use in teaching and learning is essential to prepare students to live and work in the 21st century.
The Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) Report published in 2014 reinforces that CPD is key for teachers to integrate digital technologies into their teaching. While most teachers participate in at least some professional development over a year, in some countries as many as one in four do not do so at all. Over 20% of Italian teachers did not report taking part in professional development in the previous year. Most commonly, teachers take training in subject-specific topics, ICT skills for teaching, and knowledge of the curriculum. When asked to list their most important needs for professional development, teachers placed "ICT skills for teaching" (a particularly important need in Italy and Sweden) as joint highest. This was closely followed by 'new technologies in the workplace'. Interestingly, nearly 80% reported a moderate or large positive impact of professional development addressing ICT skills for teaching. In the opinion of teachers, the greatest barriers to engaging in professional development refer to conflicts with their work schedule, lack of incentives and the costs involved. The Republic of Ireland was not surveyed in this report.

Policy makers are advised that within the general EU framework they should encourage and support the exchange of best practices among countries and enable capacity building at national, regional and school level. The Second EC Survey on ICT in Education also summarises needs for CPD as Dimension 3 in building digital capacity. It references the CPD in line with the DigCompOrg Framework, which has been largely used for teachers’ digital competence building for the effective use of digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment practices, through rapid learning cycles, fast feedback, continual reflection, collaborative coaching and other methodologies.

A 2016 UNESCO study on ICT indicators in education that schools and education systems are not yet ready to leverage on the potential of technology, noting gaps in the digital skills of both teachers and students. That report showed that teachers and students have difficulties in locating high-quality digital learning resources, a lack of clarity on the learning goals, and insufficient pedagogical preparation for blending technology meaningfully into lessons and curricula.

Training for teachers in all areas of digital skills is a clear requirement for an effective adoption of digital technologies in classrooms. This also implies providing educators with professional learning opportunities on how to select and use (and, in the case of Open Educational Resources (OER), create and modify) digital instructional materials and integrate them into their classrooms. CPD should address both technical and pedagogical knowledge and skills, nurturing teachers’ digital competence rather than teaching how to use technologies only. CPD should ideally be designed to meet teachers’ individual needs as a priority, and it should also be incentivised in some way, e.g. designating time for such opportunities or offering concrete financial or other incentives for participation. There should also be a variety of formats to make the CPD relevant on an individual basis, e.g. Face-to-face training, Online training, Hybrid training, Leadership training.

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