Many leading educationalists today agree that what happens within our schools must adapt to the realities of the early 21st century, where children are what Mark Prensky describes as Digital Natives, completely at home with the internet, Play Stations and iPods. It has also been argued since before computers were common place that individualised learning was best for each individual, but the means to make this happen in an affordable and do-able way did not exist. But we now find ourselves in a position where the technology has reached a level of sophistication and affordability that it is at last possible to contemplate moving towards a pedagogical system that is not dictated by four walls, 50 minute periods, and the whole class of 30 all doing exactly the same work.

One of the arguments for the use of ICT in education has always been greater involvement on the part of the learner. Greater understanding and engagement through active involvement in learning is not limited only to those who are predominantly kinaesthetic learners. But some have felt that much of the emphasis in the first 25 years of educational ICT has been on improved teaching efficiency and there has been too little focus on the ways in which learning can be enhanced through the use of ICT methods.

No-one can doubt the impulse to communicate among young people. Simple observation of the nearly omnipresent mobile telephone in the hands of young people supplements the evidence from many a survey of home use of computers, where instant messaging using text, audio or video appears to be pushing game playing into second place - with homework a distant third.

Along with EA partners and SITC, University of Edinburgh, the Project has a role of exploring the pedagogical potential of new learning technologies - as well as the practical issues which have to be faced to make their use a practicable proposition for busy schools under pressure to deliver the priorities of today – Learning Hubs is exploring a range of age and stage projects with schools and authorities in several parts of Scotland under the overall title 'Learning Hubs and Active learners'

Context
Like other countries, Scotland faces new influences and competitors, which mean that we must look differently at the curriculum, giving opportunities for our young people to develop the attributes that will give them the confidence to face change. These changes include global social, political and economic change
You can listen to Allan Luke of Nanyang University in Singapore talking about the nature of the new learning. This audio clip comes from the national priorities website and runs for 221 seconds
Click on the icon - clip_image003.gif

"When we talk about the new learning, it's a question of actually cutting beyond the Government discourses and rhetoric about collaboration, competitiveness etc, and actually probably spending more time looking at the facts of life in the 21st century; at how people work; how we're living our own lives … We find an intensification of labour; an intensification of information; saturation of new technologies and new sources of information; we find having to work and service an information economy on a day-to-day basis with people who aren't like us; having to deal with difference - linguistic difference, cultural difference, gender difference - on a day-to-day everyday basis"

A Curriculum for Excellence addresses the issue of 'Why must the curriculum change?'
"Like other countries, we face new influences which mean that we must look differently at the curriculum. These include global social, political and economic changes, and the particular challenges facing Scotland: the need to increase the economic performance of the nation; reflect its growing diversity; improve health; and reduce poverty. In addition, we can expect more changes in the patterns and demands of employment, and the likelihood of new and quite different jobs during an individual's working life
"The educational process itself is changing. There is growing understanding of the different ways in which children learn and how best to support them. New technologies are making information available as never before and offer exciting potential to enrich learning"

"Most importantly, although the current curriculum has many strengths, a significant proportion of young people in Scotland are not achieving all that they are capable of. We need a curriculum which will enable all young people to understand the world they are living in, reach the highest possible levels of achievement, and equip them for work and learning throughout their lives. It should:
  • make learning active, challenging and enjoyable
  • not be too fragmented or over-crowded with content
  • connect the various stages of learning from 3 to 18
  • encourage the development of high levels of accomplishment and intellectual skill
  • include a wide range of experiences and achieve a suitable blend of what has traditionally been seen as 'academic' and 'vocational'
  • give opportunities for children to make appropriate choices to meet their individual interests and needs, while ensuring that these choices lead to successful outcomes
  • ensure that assessment supports learning

Learning theories and the Learning Hubs Curriculum
Having established that, whatever the traditional strengths of the curriculum, the context within which that curriculum operates will change, educational planners need to address what they are going to do. A possibly bewildering array of theories has been developed in the last half-century to 'help' planners to turn overall goals into a structured series of progressive experiences that we call a 'curriculum'

Appendix 1 summarises the instrumental enrichment approach developed after the second world war by Reuven Feuerstein from his work with orphans surviving the holocaust. It is thought to be helpful for all - it is used in several places in Scotland, including Scottish Borders Council - it may be especially helpful for those with additional learning needs, and perhaps for those who fall into the NEET category

Appendix 2 summarises the long established (1956) taxonomy articulated by Benjamin Bloom about the develop of cognitive skills, with a more recent (2001) revision

Much recent attention has been given to constructivist approaches to curriculum modelling - eg the New Basics programme in Queensland (Being piloted in South Lanarkshire) or Learning Essentials in Tasmania. Constructivism is associated with the work of Piaget; and uses processes of accommodation and assimilation to 'construct' new knowledge

"Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates our own "rules" and "mental models," which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences"
[http://www.funderstanding.com/constructivism.cfm]

The consequences for curriculum design are considerable. Some would argue that the curriculum as a shared and standard set of organised experiences will cease to exist
"Social constructivism views each learner as a unique individual with unique needs and backgrounds. The learner is also seen as complex and multidimensional (Gredler 1997). Social constructivism not only acknowledges the uniqueness and complexity of the learner, but actually encourages, utilises and rewards it as an integral part of the learning process (Wertsch 1997)"
[Wikipedia]

Some would argue that cognitive development is only part of the process of learning
Bloom developed a taxonomic structure also for what he termed the affective domain, with levels of progress as follows
  • Receiving
  • Responding
  • Valuing
  • Organising and conceptualising
  • Characterising by value or value concept
Emotional intelligence, associated with Daniel Goleman
"in navigating our lives, it is our fears and envies, our rages and depressions, our worries and anxieties that steer us day to day. Even the most academically brilliant among us are vulnerable to being undone by unruly emotions"
There are 5 characteristics and abilities
  • Self-awareness - knowing, recognising and discriminating between emotions
  • Mood management - handling one's feelings
  • Self-motivation - gathering and directing feelings towards a goal
  • Empathy - recognising others' feelings
  • Managing relationships - handling interpersonal interactions, resolving conflict

Practical strategies for the twenty-first century classroom
The interactive paper, [http://www.nationalpriorities.org.uk/Resources/iP-C21Learning-and-Teaching/index.html], about 21st century learning and teaching contains a range of practical strategies which have been tried and tested, which will help to deliver the overall objectives of a curriculum
You will find information - and exemplars from Scottish practice - on some of the best researched and the most widely implemented methods of helping students to learn more successfully. They have been demonstrated to be successful with learners of all ages and ability levels, including those with various kinds of disabilities and those who do not learn in traditional ways
The role of ICT for twenty-first century learning
The same interactive paper on the national priorities in education website indicates ways in which ICT is contributing to some clearly discernible trends in learning and teaching. As above, these are illustrated by examples from Scottish practice

Learning Hubs the Curriculum challenge and design
Appendix 3 contains a summary of the purposes of the curriculum from ages 3 to 18 which have been articulated for Scottish education in A Curriculum for Excellence
The following design principles are also articulated there

1 Challenges and enjoyment
Young people should find their learning challenging, engaging and motivating. The curriculum should encourage high aspirations and ambitions for all. At all stages, learners of all aptitudes and abilities should experience an appropriate level of challenge, to enable each individual to achieve his or her potential. They should be active in their learning and have opportunities to develop and demonstrate their creativity. There should be support to enable young people to sustain their effort
In terms of ICT's contributions
  • General purpose ICT tools can be challenging, engaging and motivating; they can help young people to be successful learners able to think creatively and independently
  • Structured use of social software tools can help to develop confident individuals able to be self-aware
  • The wide range of materials available on the world wide web have the potential to encourage responsible citizens able to understand different beliefs and cultures
  • Games and other challenges - online and on CDs - can help youngsters to be effective contributors able to solve problems

2 Breadth
All young people should have opportunities for a broad, suitably-weighted range of experiences. The curriculum should be organised so that they will learn and develop through a variety of contexts within both the classroom and other aspects of school life
ICT's contributions can include
  • Writing frames and other template and structured starters to help young people to be successful learners able to use literacy, communication and numeracy skills
  • The potential for 'anywhere, anytime' learning releases young people from the temporal limitations of the school day to become confident individuals able to live as independently as they can
  • The wealth of resources on the web will lead to responsible citizens able to develop knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland's place in it
  • The wide range of tools which Glow will offer will give young people the chance to develop as effective contributors able to communicate in different ways and in different settings

3 Progression
Young people should experience continuous progression in their learning from 3 to 18 within a single curriculum framework. Each stage should build upon earlier knowledge and achievements. Young people should be able to progress at a rate which meets their needs and aptitudes, and keep options open so that routes are not closed off too early
ICT has enormous potential for both progression and differentiation
  • games and other problem solving approaches allows young people to develop as successful learners able to link and apply different kinds of learning in new situations
  • The breadth of tasks which general purpose tools can sustain will lead to confident individuals able to achieve success in different areas of activity
  • Web resources in an appropriately structured context (eg a topic study) will help to bring on responsible citizens able to evaluate environmental, scientific and technological issues
  • ICT tools for creating words, sounds, pictures will help to develop effective contributors able to create and develop

4 Depth
There should be opportunities for young people to develop their full capacity for different types of thinking and learning. As they progress, they should develop and apply increasing intellectual rigour, drawing different strands of learning together and exploring and achieving more advanced levels of understanding
ICT can help
  • The options most computer operations offer (menus, dialogue boxes, buttons) will help successful learners to be able to make reasoned evaluations
  • Making judgements about the currency and objectivity of information on the web will help young people to become confident individuals able to assess risk and take informed decisions
  • Similarly the experience of problem solving approaches through use of ICT can help the development of responsible citizens able to make informed choices and decisions
  • The breadth of options which ICT can offer at both practice and strategy levels helps young people to become effective contributors able to apply critical thinking in new contexts


5 Personalisation and choice

The curriculum should respond to individual needs and support particular aptitudes and talents. It should give each young person increasing opportunities for exercising responsible personal choice as they move through their school career. Once they have achieved suitable levels of attainment across a wide range of areas of learning the choice should become as open as possible. There should be safeguards to ensure that choices are soundly based and lead to successful outcomes
ICT should be able to contribute
  • Use of ICT individually and in groups can help young people to be successful learners able to learn independently and as part of a group
  • Social software tools through Glow and other means will help confident individuals to be able to develop and communicate their own beliefs and view of the world
  • Structured use of the wealth of resources available through the web will help youngsters to develop as responsible citizens able to develop informed, ethical views of complex issues
  • Using ICT for group activity will help young people to be effective contributors able to work in partnership and in teams

6 Coherence
Taken as a whole, children’s learning activities should combine to form a coherent experience. There should be clear links between the different aspects of young people’s learning, including opportunities for extended activities which draw different strands of learning together
ICT can make a wide range of contributions to learning. General purpose software in particular can provide some degree of coherence across a range of experience, so helping to tackle the aim of breaking down subject and other barriers to the transfer of skills

7 Relevance
Young people should understand the purposes of their activities. They should see the value of what they are learning and its relevance to their lives, present and future
ICT can help through the general appeal that ICT evidently has for the huge majority of young people in schools. It can also help to bridge the home and school gap.

Appendix 1: Summary of Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment approach
"Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment Program Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) is a cognitive intervention program that can be used both individually and in the classroom framework
"FIE as a classroom curriculum is aimed at enhancing the students’ cognitive functions necessary for academic learning and achievement. The fundamental assumption of the program, based on Feuerstein’s theory of Structural Cognitive Modifiability and Mediated Learning Experience is that intelligence is dynamic and modifiable, not static or fixed. Thus, the FIE program seeks to correct deficiencies in fundamental thinking skills, provides students with the concepts, skills, strategies, operations and techniques necessary to function as independent learners, increases their motivation, develops students’ metacognition, and in a word helps students learn how to learn"

[From website of International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential - http://www.icelp.org/asp/Basic_Theory.shtm]
Learning if it is to contribute to effective thinking needs to take place at 3 levels: Input, Elaboration and Output.

Input
The input level is reflected in the pupil's ability to gather and organise relevant information. Are they able to complete tasks or solve problems satisfactorily? Do they often fail to find sufficient information? Learners may not be clear as to what they are looking for in the first place or they may not conduct their search in a systematic way. They need to develop planning skills including the ability to set clear goals, identify sources, locate and record information

Elaboration
The elaboration level is reflected in the way in which learners handle the information they have gathered. Are they able to see relationships between objects or events, to generate new information from what is given, to look for reasons and causes? They need to be able to reflect on experience, consider alternative explanations, and to express their own opinions and draw conclusions

Output
The output level is reflected in the way learners communicate their thinking and share their ideas. Do they think things through before giving a response? Are they able to deal with false starts and correct their mistakes? They need to be able to use appropriate language clearly and concisely and to take account of their audience

You can listen to Anne-Theresa Lawrie, Depute Head Teacher at Kelso High School, who has been seconded to work on learning and teaching strategies in Scottish Borders secondary schools, say how she would tackle traditional teacher ambitions to help them focus on the things which matter for future learning and teaching. This audio clip comes from the national priorities in education website and runs for 83 seconds
Click on - [[http://www.nationalpriorities.org.uk/Resources/movie.php?filename=ATLa_A009|http://www.nationalpriorities.org.uk/Resources/movie.php?filename=ATLa_A009|]]clip_image003.gif[[http://www.nationalpriorities.org.uk/Resources/movie.php?filename=ATLa_A009|]]

Appendix 2: Bloom's cognitive domain
Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives has been influential on current design of learning materials and programmes. A common view would be that education in the past had a firm focus on knowledge, with an ambition for comprehension. The future requires young people to function much 'higher' along the taxonomy
1 Knowledge
• observation and recall of information
• knowledge of dates, events, places
• knowledge of major ideas
• mastery of subject matter

2 Comprehension
• understanding information
• grasp meaning
• translate knowledge into new context
• interpret facts, compare, contrast
• order, group, infer causes
• predict consequences

3 Application
• use information
• use methods, concepts, theories in new situations
• solve problems using required skills or knowledge

4 Analysis
• seeing patterns
• organisation of parts
• recognition of hidden meanings
• identification of components

5 Synthesis
• use old ideas to create new ones
• generalise from given facts
• relate knowledge from several areas
• predict, draw conclusions

6 Evaluation
• compare and discriminate between ideas
• assess value of theories, presentations
• make choices based on reasoned argument
• verify value of evidence
• recognise subjectivity
Anderson and Krathwohl made some modifications in 2001
• Remembering
• Understanding
• Applying
• Analysing
• Evaluating
• Creating

Appendix 3: A Curriculum for Excellence - The purposes of the curriculum from 3 to 18
Our aspiration for all children and for every young person is that they should be successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors to society and at work. By providing structure, support and direction to young people’s learning, the curriculum should enable them to develop these four capacities. The curriculum should complement the important contributions of families and communities
successful learners
with
• enthusiasm and motivation for learning
• determination to reach high standards of achievement
• openness to new thinking and ideas
and able to
• use literacy, communication and numeracy skills
• use technology for learning
• think creatively and independently
• learn independently and as part of a group
• make reasoned evaluations
• link and apply different kinds of learning in new situations
confident individuals
with
• self respect
• a sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing
• secure values and beliefs
• ambition
and able to
• relate to others and manage themselves
• pursue a healthy and active lifestyle
• be self aware
• develop and communicate their own beliefs and view of the world
• live as independently as they can
• assess risk and take informed decisions
• achieve success in different areas of activity
responsible citizens
with
• respect for others
• commitment to participate responsibly in political, economic, social and cultural life
and able to
• develop knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland’s place in it
• understand different beliefs and cultures
• make informed choices and decisions
• evaluate environmental, scientific and technological issues
• develop informed, ethical views of complex issues
effective contributors
with
• an enterprising attitude
• resilience
• self-reliance
and able to
• communicate in different ways and in different settings
• work in partnership and in teams
• take the initiative and lead
• apply critical thinking in new contexts
• create and develop
• solve problems


Learning hubs - CPD outcomes

The following represents a superset of professional development targets which relate to some elements in the starter paper about learning hubs. They are written in a form which teachers and other staff involved in the learning and teaching processes might adapt for their own professional review and development process. The suggested studies may be undertaken either individually or by a (small) group of professionals

Part 1 - Practical strategies for the twenty-first century classroom
Mind friendly learning

• Become familiar with the dimensions of emotional intelligence and be clear about the extent to which this is the business of schools; and link this to the work that you do in school

• Be able to relate emotional intelligence to aspects of the capacities and sub-capacities of A Curriculum for Excellence, within the context of the courses and young people that you deal with in your classroom

• Undertake an audit of current practice in your classroom to see where more positive and optimistic approaches could replace practices which may diminish, demean or limit, however inadvertently

• Conduct a review of one or more substantial schemes of work that you use in your classroom to identify areas where a greater variety of learning styles - visual and kinaesthetic as well as auditory - might be enabled; and present this to colleagues

Learning tools

• Prepare for, carry out and follow-up one or more brainstorming or buzz group exercises which are relevant to a topic or unit relevant to your work, on which a diversity of views and perspectives can be held; conduct an audit about aspects which were successful (eg in facilitating greater personal engagement, and/or more creativity in approach), any logistical implications and considerations about how such activity might be assessed and reported

• Prepare, carry out and follow-up one or more exercises using a dynamic group technique such as 'think-pair-share' or the use of colour groups, to address an issue relevant to a course or topic in your classroom; conduct an audit about aspects which were successful (eg in facilitating greater personal engagement, and/or more creativity in approach), any logistical implications and considerations about how such activity might be assessed and reported

• Prepare, carry out and follow-up one or more exercises using a triads approach where learners sequentially adopt roles as interrogator, interviewee and recorder to make a plan for implementation for an aspect of a course or unit; conduct an audit about aspects which were successful (eg in facilitating greater personal engagement, more creativity in approach), any logistical implications and considerations about how such activity might be assessed and reported

• Prepare, carry out and follow-up one or more experiments in collaborative critical working, involving (small) groups in constructive suggestions about ways to improve an outline plan associated with implementation of an aspect of a course or unit relevant to your classroom; conduct an audit about aspects which were successful (eg in facilitating greater personal engagement, more creativity in approach), any logistical implications and considerations about how such activity might be assessed and reported
Questioning and self-questioning techniques

• Explore the literature (eg in websites associated with Assessment is for Learning) about the reasons for and the various forms of appropriate questioning technique. Take at least one unit or topic which will be taught in your classroom and make a note of the different techniques which could be used. For at least 2 or 3 lessons, sit down and monitor - by yourself or with the collaboration of a colleague engaged in similar activity - the extent to which you are maximising the opportunities for deploying flexible questioning

• Experiment with 3 or 4 lessons for different topics or elements of courses which you teach the notion of 'wait time' to afford learners more time to answer questions, using a variety of types (questions designed to seek information or clarification, questions to explore alternatives, questions which attempt to synthesise). For at least some of these lessons, conduct a review of advantages which you think emerged from this approach and any logistical or other considerations which might be deemed to be negative

• Try out a few lessons using the traffic lights approach which gives learners the chance to indicate the extent to which they have fully grasped some fairly important principle or key element in a topic or element of a course in your classroom. For at least some of these lessons, engage the learners in a discussion about their views as to the pros and cons of these alternative approaches to the traditional 'first come, first answered' approach to confirming learning

• Explore a range of techniques for development of self-questioning among learners, eg by forming groups which will develop 'quiz questions' for other groups which can score points for relevance (as well as getting the answer right) and apply this in a number of lessons relevant to one or more topics or elements of courses in your classroom. Consider the benefits which might come from this, including (where relevant and practical) feedback from the participant learners, and report on your approach to appropriate colleagues (eg departmental/faculty meeting in secondary schools, collegiate time in primary schools)

Problem solving activities

• Look at a range of thinking skills and techniques relevant to school education - eg in the Learning and Teaching Scotland publication 'Learning, thinking and creativity: a staff development handbook' - and conduct an audit within one or more major topics or units in at least one course which you teach, to indicate the potential for deployment of these skills, with an indication of the extent to which the potential is being currently realised. Make a plan to bridge any gaps for at least 3 of these areas where the potential is some way ahead of the current realisation

• Look at means by which young learners can gain increasing awareness of the ways in which they approach learning tasks and skills acquisition - eg in the Learning and Teaching Scotland publication 'Learning, thinking and creativity: a staff development handbook'. Take one or more significant units or topics in at least one course which you teach and record the potential for trialling at least some of these strategies within that unit or topic. Try out at least 3 of these strategies when the opportunity arises and record your reflections on the results

• Explore some of the material available on aspects of gender differences in learning behaviours between typical boy learners and typical girl learners. Take one or more substantial units or topics within a course that you teach and plan at least 3 places where you can apply 2 of the techniques which appear to have success with boy-type learners. When these have been tried out, record your reflection on successes or otherwise

• Plan a 75 minute staff development workshop for colleagues (eg in a secondary department or for primary colleagues in collegiate time) to explore some of the ways to teach problem solving approaches to learners within your subject or stage,. The material on the Learning and Teaching Scotland problem solving website might be useful
http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/5to14/problemsolving/teachingprobsolving/index.asp


Part 2 - ways in which ICT is reinforcing trends in learning and teaching

Moving from a corpus of common knowledge to the flexibility needed for a knowledge economy

• For at least one major unit or topic which you teach in your classroom, make 2 lists of worthwhile outcomes: one should contain aspects of knowledge and the other should consist of skills and insights which will stand young learners in good stead to cope in a world of rapid change. Look at ways in which what learners already do using ICT contribute to both lists. Plan at least one or two additions to that list and reflect on the results

• Make a survey of the ways in which ICT currently contributes to flexible learning in at least one large unit or element of a course which you teach. Do an audit of the extent to which it gives the chance for young learners to communicate in a multimedia fashion, it allows learners to model the real world, extend the opportunities for learning beyond the context of your classroom. Add your own criteria for ways in which ICT is contributing to deeper and/or broader understanding of important concepts underpinning the unit or element



Moving from rote learning to thinking skills and an evaluative approach

• Do an audit of the ways in which thinking and study skills are overtly taught within the programmes which learners experience in your school. Record the extent to which the major skills can be introduced or reinforced within the context of at least 2 units or topics which will be taught in your own classroom; include ways in which you could facilitate the use by learners of ICT to reinforce these introductions or reinforcements

• For at least 2 units or topics which you teach, make a list of those activities which already incorporate aspects of judgement or evaluation of progress or the success of the activity. Make a list of 2 or 3 ways in which you could use ICT, perhaps in connection with a template to get learners started, to extend the opportunities for this approach (and not only as 'end of unit' tests). Try out and record your reflection on at least one of these trials


Moving from learning being passive (consuming) to learning being active (producing)

• For 2 or 3 contrasting units or topics or other elements of a course which you teach, make a list of the opportunities which learners have to produce things (rather than reproduce things). Add to the list in 2 ways: add at least one additional 'output' to the list, and look at 2 ways (or more) in which ICT could contribute to such productions (existing or additional). Try out and record judgements about the success of the activity, including any negative issues which were encountered and how you will overcome these in a future run

• Look at one (or more) virtual learning and teaching environment (or equivalent) and record your assessment of the ways in which some of its tools offer scope to extend learning options for at least 3 units or topics in at least one course you teach. For the tools which you judge to be useful, make a list of the ways in which 'better learning' might result, both for the overt goals of the unit or topic and as a contribution towards wider curricular goals, such as learners becoming more effective contributors and/or more confident individuals


Moving from an ideal or regurgitation to a climate where enterprise and creativity are valued

• Conduct an audit of at least 2 contrasting units or topics within one or more courses which you teach to identify those activities which could already be identified as 'enterprise' activities, where learners are invited to take risks and try things out, fail and try again, be in control. If necessary after speaking to colleagues who have tried such approaches, establish a set of success criteria for such enterprising elements within your own unit or topic. Record your judgements about the extent of success after trying out at least one of the plans; include the extent to which ICT made useful contributions

• Do a survey of the extent to which preparation of presentations by learners (eg using PowerPoint), use of digital video to make a record of learners' reality, and software or hardware to produce a worthwhile artifact already happens in the course of a year's experience on the part of learners who come into your classroom. Plan at least one activity; establish the criteria by which you will judge success and develop some form of consultation by which you will sample the learners' views; carry out the project; and record judgements by yourself and by the learners


Moving from convergent activity towards activities which reflect a greater diversity of preferred learning styles

• "Scottish education is in thrall to the catechism". While this is no longer literally true, many critics would say that teachers remain thirled to the remaining primacy of core facts. Conduct an audit of at least 2 units or topics from a course you teach and make a list of the key knowledge which is involved in the unit/topic; then justify it in terms of the possible needs of the young learner when they are your age - why will that matter in n years? Investigate and record your assessment of ways in which ICT could make an additional contribution to linking that essential knowledge to general learning skills

• Look at Learning and Teaching Scotland's publication 'Learning, thinking and creativity: a staff development handbook'. Take 2 or 3 of the 10 activities which are listed there and plan their implementation within the context of appropriate elements of courses that you teach; incorporate ICT activities in at least one of these. Carry out at least one which includes an ICT element; and record your judgement as to its success, including an element of feedback from the learners who experienced it


Moving from a wholly individual curriculum to one which values and promoted collaborative learning

• Conduct an audit, covering at least 3 units or topics in contrasting courses which you teach, of the extent to which learners work collaboratively to prepare or produce something in which they take shared pride in achievement. Plan and carry out at least one new way in which an investigation which involves ICT, perhaps using internet searches, for each of the units could be conducted on a collaborative basis, rounded off by a collective form of reporting (eg presentation or the production of a printed document)

• "The problem with ICT is the same as the problem with any other medium. You've got a means of communication which uses words, pictures, sounds … The big lack that we have with a lot of children is that they haven't learnt to … process the information that they gather" [Alastair Horne of Angus Council]. With reference to at least 3 units or topics in one or more courses that you teach, assess ways in which ICT use could provide the necessary 'scaffolding' to provide learners with the degree of structure they need to help them to process. Try out at least one and record your professional reflections
Moving from a curriculum which is defined solely in terms of cognitive development to one which has a place for emotional intelligence

• We are more than what we know; what we feel is a crucial determinant of our individuality. Look at 2 or 3 units or topics in more than one course that you teach and record the scope which the unit/topic offers for each of the following 8 goals of emotional intelligence: clarity of goals; opportunities for learners to boost their self-esteem; chances for learners to understand their approach to the task; empathy for the situation of others, within and beyond the classroom; opportunities for motivation; deferred gratification; optimism in outlook; persistence in performance. For at least one of the units, plan ways in which ICT use may be useful to promote at least 2 of these goals. Try it out and record your professional reflection


Moving from a tradition of competition among learners to one which is more inclusive of all contributions

• Carry out an audit covering at least 3 units or topics in more than one course that you teach which records ways in which the use of appropriate ICT can help those who have moderate additional learning needs and those who have emotional and behavioural problems. As part of the process, conduct an enquiry among learners of these units or topics to get all learners' reactions to ways in which use of ICT does help them to learn more rapidly and/or more thoroughly; record your own judgements as to the relative benefits which accrue to those whom you deem to have learning difficulties. You may find useful starting questions to adapt from the MIICE toolbox, which can be accessed from http://www.miice.org.uk/miicetoolboxes.html

Roddy Stuart
Educational ICT Consultant
30 November 2006