The final extract from Daniel Scott’s book is taken from his chapter, ‘Keep up to date’.
As an educator it is important to keep up to date with your subject-specialist expertise and emerging teaching practices. This is a process known as continuing professional development (CPD): retaining, maintaining and developing your professional credibility with your learners and organisation. While it can be challenging to find suitable and appropriate training and the time to participate, it is essential for your professional growth and to ensure that your learners are taught up-to-date knowledge, skills and rel- evant legislation. CPD is also important in learning about new tools and resources that can enhance your practices. However, it’s not just about knowing the latest thing, but about designing great teaching and learning though technology. It’s good to be on top of your game, to keep abreast of changes and emerging and trending digital technologies.
This final chapter summarises how you can keep up to date with the growing abundance of digital technologies and their potential contribution to learning. It introduces you to some ways that you can get up to speed on the latest ILT trends, engage and collaborate with other professionals, promote your own good practice and join courses or profes- sional bodies/associations.
Continuing professional development
CPD is not just about staying current in your specialist subject, but includes face-to-face, blended and online pedagogies and organisational and national policies. All of these will positively impact on your job role and improve and enhance your practices. Another reason to embrace CPD is to stay current and validated, especially in the use of ILT, as those who use ILT most effectively are agile when meeting the demands and challenges of twenty-first-century learning.
To effectively plan and facilitate your CPD, it’s useful to have an action plan of the things you wish to experiment with, develop, implement and evaluate to enhance your practices. At the same time, keep an eye open (or have others do it for you) for new ideas in designing teaching and assessment. Having a plan makes it more likely that you will investigate and apply what you set out to do and reflect on its success. It’s important to not become complacent in your knowledge, skills and experience – be proactive and take the lead on your own development. The more effort and involvement you put into your professional development, the richer your knowledge, skills and experience will become.
Below is a list of organisations and bodies that offer professional support and are rele- vant to the further education and skills sectors.
» Association for Research in Post-Compulsory Education (ARPCE) – http://arpce.org.uk
» Association of Colleges (AoC) – www.aoc.co.uk
» Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) – www.aelp.org.uk
» Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) – www.cipd.co.uk
» The Chartered Institution for Further Education – www.fecharter.org.uk
» Chartered Management Institute – www.managers.org.uk
» Education and Training Foundation (ETF) – www.et-foundation.co.uk
» Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe (EPALE) – https://ec.europa.eu/epale
» FE News – www.fenews.co.uk
» FE Week – https://feweek.co.uk
» General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI) – www.gtcni.org.uk
» HOLEX – http://holex.org.uk
» The Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL) – www.itol.org
» International Professional Development Association (IPDA) – http://ipda.org.uk
» Learning and Skills Research Network – https://lsrn.wordpress.com
» Learning and Work Institute – www.learningandwork.org.uk
» National Education Union – https://neu.org.uk
» Society for Education and Training (SET) – https://set.et-foundation.co.uk
» Tutor Voices – https://tutorvoicesblog.wordpress.com
» University and College Union (UCU) – www.ucu.org.uk
» Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) – www.wea.org.uk
» Using Appendix 6.1 (and considering Appendix 1.1), reflect on your current practices and the contents of the previous chapters. Identify and list areas you wish to explore further or imple- ment in your practices. For example, what new digital tools and resources do you want to try out? How do you want to digitally enhance your curriculum offering? Perhaps you want to iden- tify people to collaborate with or observe others’ use of ILT? You might like to take this time to think about:
» As well as preparing a Personal and Professional Development Plan, you may want to include digital capabilities in your own appraisal process to track progress and development.
» Use Appendix 6.2 to log your progress and evaluation, and update it frequently.
Higher education courses are good opportunities to learn about underpinning theories and pedagogies, build new professional relationships with like-minded others, and learn about new kinds of ILT and how to use them in the classroom. Several universities offer distance, blended, taught or research-based ILT programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. If this interests you, do research locally and nationally to see what different institutions have to offer and the potential costs. Alternatively, you may be in- terested in the following vocational qualifications that may be offered locally:
» Level 1 Award in Digital Technologies for Learning
» Level 3 Award and Diploma in Digital Learning Design
» Level 4 Diploma and Extended Diploma in Digital Learning Design
» Level 4 Award in Digital Learning for Educators
» Level 4 Award for Technology Enabled Educators
» Level 4 Certificate in Technology in Learning Delivery
Free CPD programmes
Many organisations and universities offer free online courses, called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which are often short or ‘taster’ courses. MOOCs are delivered online or in a VLE and are usually open internationally, meaning that the courses typi- cally have a large cohort, giving you the opportunity to connect with like-minded individ- uals from around the world. You are expected to be self-motivated and navigate yourself through the course; however, there are online tutors to help. The more aspects of a MOOC you participate and collaborate in, the more you will gain from it.
Most MOOCs are free; however, some charge for obtaining a certificate of completion and course materials. Below is a range of free online courses that you can join and participate in.
» Alison – https://alison.com
» Coursera – www.coursera.org
» edX – www.edx.org
» FutureLearn – Blended Learning Essentials: Developing Digital Skills – www. futurelearn.com/courses/blended-learning-digital-skills
» FutureLearn – Blended Learning Essentials: Digitally-Enriched Apprenticeships – www. futurelearn.com/courses/blended-learning-digitally-enriched-apprenticeships
We hope you have enjoyed these samples of Daniel’s book ‘Learning Technology’. You can purchase his book on our website here.