Page 4: The learning network
Capita Education Services has produced The Learning Network, designed to be a total solution to a school's ICT training needs. Capita has developed separate packages for primary and secondary schools and subject specific material. It provides an integrated, school based learning programme that uses ICT to deliver and support the teachers. It therefore comfortably satisfies all the criteria set down by the DfEE and other stakeholders such as the TTA, but, in such a competitive market, it is essential that the product goes further still. The programme is fully interactive and makes extensive use of the technology it is designed to explain. To borrow a phrase from the world of advertising, 'the message is in the medium'.
The Learning Network is therefore simple, accessible and hands-on. All the course materials are designed around practical exercises, focused on developing teachers' ICT skills and in particular, their understanding of how ICT can be used to improve subject teaching and pupil learning. It highlights when and when not to use ICT to support learning. Any teacher joining the Learning Network programme receives support on three levels:
- technical support with any hardware and software difficulties
- administrative support in terms of delivery
- professional support with trained mentors and discussion groups. The availability of fully qualified professional mentors on-line is a key element. The whole package isdesigned both to teach and build confidence.
Making the best use of ICT within the classroom
ICT is an invaluable resource for supporting and enhancing teaching and learning. It helps students work together and develop their problem solving, independent learning and research skills. It can be useful in all areas of the curriculum and can be a tremendous motivator for both students and teachers. Professional development and training are key motivating factors, identified in many motivational theories. ICT is more than just another, teaching tool. It has the potential to dramatically change the ways students learn and raise their standards of achievement.