By Bob Harrison
TTeacher ICT confidencehe recent announcement from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) that a partnership between the Open University and e-skills would try to stimulate a “step change” in the professional development of teachers in the use of ICT (see A4C report) could not have been more timely according to a new report published by BESA (British Education Suppliers Association).

An analysis of the online responses from 770 primary and 572 secondary schools across the UK suggests that teacher confidence and competence has dipped by almost 10 per cent in primary and secondary schools. Another alarming finding, and justification for the DCSF £5.6m investment in the ICT/CPD project is that the percentage of teachers receiving ICT training in 2009 is down by 10 in primary and a worrying 20 in secondary schools.

Barack ObamaPresident Obama: right on tech

By Bob Harrison

One of the first things President Obama did on taking office was to announce the closure of the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison. A less reported action was his decision to double expenditure on technology in education.

Now Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, a study by the US Department of Education, suggests he made the right decision.

By Bob Harrison

The potential for transforming learning using digital technologies, while well developed in some areas, is being held back by teacher trainers' own lack of knowledge. They are “often not aware of the learning potential of key technologies or are not confident in their use”. That's a key finding of an evaluation of a new report "ICT in ITT [Initial Teacher Training]" by Wolverhampton University.

Since 2003 the Training and Development Agency for Schools has offered support for ICT in ITT costing more than £20 million, and more than 13,000 trainee teachers have benefited. However, the researchers found that some training organisations felt they were “unaware of the potential benefits to practice of ICT” although they also found that individual trainee teachers did progress - and at a faster rate - than the trainer organisation.

Computer games, school and young peopleThe positive impact of games-based learning on the social interactions and relationships between students - and between students and their teachers - is often overlooked in all the hype around using games in the classroom, according to the Computer games, school and young people report from education innovation unit Futurelab.

It says that relationships between teachers and students during game-based activities were strengthened “because young people were able to take increased personal and collaborative ‘ownership’ of activities, with teachers granting them greater responsibility and recognition of their media knowledge"

Noaf - Dream CatcherNoah: dream catchingGiving very young children the right medium to express themselves will support their “informal learning and build bridges between the children’s homes and early years settings”, according to a new report, Dream Catcher, from education innovator Futurelab.

Using digital cameras and PDAs at home and at school, children like Noah (pictured) and Summer were able to help teachers learn more about their home life and culture while giving parents a greater insight into their learning than by just asking them what they’d been doing all day.