Future Classroom - Essential Skills Training
Start date: 01 Aug 2014, End date: 31 Jul 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Paradigm shifts involving replacement technology upset marketplaces but also affect education. Some technology paradigms include laptops to multi-use PDAs, wired to completely wireless communication, print to electronic paper, telephone to VoIP, Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 applications and physical classrooms to virtual classrooms. The important thing is to recognise and anticipate when a shift is imminent and prepare for it. This project endeavoured to assist teaching staff at NWRC, and its wider Foyle Learning Community, to become informed for these changes and provide them with the skills and experience to be confident in applying emerging technologies in their teaching delivery and especially for the delivery of core skills such as literacy, numeracy and ICT. The project aimed to provide teacher training through two distinct activities. The first activity (A1) was for 20 teaching staff from all vocational areas and campuses within NWRC, to attend in 4 separate flows of 5 participants, courses at EUN Partnerships Future Classrooms Lab entitled : - Programming for the 21st century classroom, - Collaboration and innovative learning scenarios, - Interactive technologies for the future classroom, and - Creative use of multimedia, games and tablets in school. The College has teaching staff who act also as Integrated Learning Technology (ILT) Innovators, who mentor their peers within the College and 75% of these staff attended at least one of these courses in addition to staff from Computing, Essential Skills, Tourism, Business, Health & Social Care, Early Years and Beauty.This provided wider opportunities for dissemination and exploitation within all areas of delivery in the College. Feedback from the participants shows that this activity gave extensive opportunity to develop skills, discover new technologies and enter into exchange of ideas as to what technologies have been used by other organisations in their teaching and learning situations throughout European Schools.The participants expectations were exceeded, both in terms of the technologies & the exchange of ideas/best practice.Knowledge of hardware for the future classroom and knowledge of the software currently being used in future classrooms was acquired along with the application of this knowledge across various teaching situations.The ILT Innovators have seen a marked increase in the use of technologies highlighted at this development opportunity acquired by all the participants. This has filtered down to other colleagues within the college and in turn to the students, allowing for an increased application of technologies within the teaching & learning provision. Future opportunities for knowledge exchanges with the other European course participants have been set-up & links have been forged for future exchanges. The second activity (A2) was to provide 5 teaching staff within the Essential Skills and Early Years environment to job shadow staff in the Swedish school system, where achievements in these areas are acknowledged as being of best practice standard. The objectives of this activity were well exceeded in the visit as they were able to gain a good insight into the working practices of literacy and numeracy tutors in Sweden and were able to look in great insight at the programmes for supporting students with special educational needs and those with severe literacy and numeracy problems. The participants all gained knowledge on how to better deal with learners with special needs and how to weave the assessment of literacy and numeracy skills into the workplace has improved through the project.It has also made them more motivated and better able to deal with the challenges which they face with learners each day.The impact of the visit on the participants has been to motivate them to contribute more fully to developments within the College to improved learning and teaching. As they came from different Schools within the College they have disseminated what they have learned throughout the College and they have contributed to improving the quality of literacy and numeracy across the College. Overall from these two activities it can be evidenced that not only did the participants receive skills training but they also had the opportunity to develop ideas and insights in how to apply these skills to provide a transformative effect on their teaching and learning processes. An anticipated outcome was to better integrate technology into all curriculum areas so that students would have access to a more varied learning experience that makes the classroom or learning environment more appealing & thereby sustain the desire to stay in education or acquire skills or competences that would enhance employment opportunities. The learning gained by both staff and students as a result of changes made has further informed the College's strategy on pedagogy & resource development to provide ongoing longer term benefits beyond the lifetime of this project

Coordinator

1 Partners Participants