[Oz-teachers] Breakfast clubs (apologies for cross posting)

Barbara Braxton barbara at iimetro.com.au
Tue Oct 9 09:08:12 EST 2007

Dear Jason
In 1995-96 when the school I was at was in its earliest days, we had these early morning sessions
(although brekkie wasn't on the menu) and they were really successful.  The visionary principal had
specifically hired someone with ICT expertise (a rarity in those days in the primary system) so he
could get the rest of us au fait with the system, its applications and potential for learning.  
One of they key reasons that they were successful was that it was acknowledged that adults do not
learn in quite the same way as kids (we have a wider range of experiences to build on) so different
techniques were employed.  One of the key beliefs was that we benefit most from just-in-time
learning, not just-in-case, so sessions concentrated on those things (like sending an email) that we
needed to know now. 
The premise was that if we were comfortable and competent with the technology we would be more
likely to integrate it.  (Nowadays this probably isn't such a necessity because most are not total
Luddites.)  At that stage because ICT on such a broad scale was so new, we really didn't know what
we didn't know so Pete decided the program but these days it would be prudent to have the staff have
input into their learning.  Bryn  has a checklist available but my favourite is Embedding Learning
Technologies from the Tasmanian Department of Education.  (This is no longer available but you can
get it by inserting
http://web.archive.org/web/20060109042725/http://www.education.tas.gov.au/ictpl/irt/EET.htm into
your browser address field. )  
As we moved forward we asked teachers what expertise they had they could share, as well as asking
what it was people wanted and we set up partners or small groups in a mentoring relationship.  Often
one of the exec and I would take these teachers' classes so that the sessions could be held in
school time rather than imposing on personal time.  It just took a little of people willing to do a
bit more than the prescribed duty statement.
We also had 1:1 support from the ICT Coach when we needed it.  The principal had provide each
teacher with a laptop while the network was established, and there was one machine with dial-up
access in the library.  We would queue up and send emails to each other (often the person the next
in the queue!)
The ICT coach also worked with each teacher to identify a project using ICT that would fit in with
their program and then collaboratively taught this in the lab, with the teacher expected to follow
it through in the classroom in the intervening week.  (As a new school we had extra staffing but it
was envisaged the teacher librarian would take over this role in future years.)  So teachers were
learning for both personal and professional purposes.  There was also an offer for individuals to be
funded to work through a course that Bryn was offering  in those days but I can't remember if anyone
took advantage of it.  But basically the message was - "if you want to develop your ICT skills, talk
to us and we'll try to arrange and fund it".
Jamie McKenzie has written a lot about adult learning and PD in schools - one of his best his at
http://staffdevelop.org/adult.html but he also has a whole website devoted to it
http://staffdevelop.org/  He has also published How Teachers Learn New Technologies Best, Just-In
Time Technologies, Planning Good Change and Beyond Technology and these were our Bibles in those
early years.
The result was a primary school that was at the cutting edge of ICT integration, a school which
parents from all over the country chose when they were transferred to Canberra (we had a great
website in those days, even before the department had one), students who use technology as easily as
they use pens and paper and teachers who won national and international recognition for their work.
Good luck with your plans
Barbara Braxton
Teacher Librarian

E. barbara at iimetro.com.au
"Together we learn from each other." 

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