As developments in digital technology continue to rapidly shape the way we communicate at work and in everyday life, teachers are having to adapt their classroom practices to take advantage of the opportunities that e-learning tools and online learning can offer.
Learners are making the transition from school to college with expectations that the use of digital technology will feature heavily in their programmes with free WiFi, a VLE, access to computers for web research, etc. However, for many teachers actively integrating the use of new technology into their teaching can be yet another challenge that they are struggling to meet in the light of increasing demands of Ofsted inspections.
ACER’s specialist focus on English and Maths
Building on a decade of expertise in supporting colleges with their Skills for Life programmes ACER has focused on developing a suite of workshop sessions that illustrate how English and Maths tutors can use e-learning tools to enrich their classroom teaching as well as develop learning materials for use in a ‘flipped classroom’ approach to their programmes.
When they first developed and delivered these sessions around the region, Bob Read, a Training and Development Adviser for ACER and Maria Neary, an IT manager from Essex ACL won a JISC Techdis OASES award in 2011 for their work in promoting Institutional Progress on Equality using Technology.
In 2012-13 both Bob and Maria were also invited to work as joint partners in the country-wide Discover JISC project and developed exemplar materials that demonstrated good practice in using digital technology for Functional Skills teaching.
Workshop sessions for Functional Skills tutors
In these three-hour workshop sessions participants have hands on opportunities to explore a range of free e learning tools and resources:
- mind mapping
- online sticky boards
- flashcard activities and quizzes
- tools for collaborative learning
- content creation
- accessibility tools
- how to create e-books
In response to requests from colleges and other providers who are keen to reduce the level of time commitment and inconvenience that attending an off-site event may involve, ACER now also offers regular one hour twilight webinar sessions that enable tutors to meet ‘virtually’ with Bob Read to explore e-learning tools and useful websites for use in English and Maths teaching.
More for Less – responding to the challenge with Digital Technology
Funding changes, reduced budgets, the need to do more for less and still deliver a curriculum which supports learners’ needs – these are all issues that require us to use different and innovative approaches when planning the curriculum. ACER offers a training day for teachers and managers which provides an opportunity to explore accessible and freely available software which can be used effectively to support curriculum delivery, meet learner expectations, reduce costs and save time.
This one day event is led by ACER consultant, Elaine Szpytma who was involved in teaching IT, Business Admin and Key Skills before taking on responsibility for the planning and delivery of initial teacher training qualifications at an FE college in the East of England. Elaine also helped to pilot and develop the IT and cross curricular subject resources held on the Excellence Gateway .