Case study Organisation: Bridgend Local Authority Type of FE provider: Adult and Community Learning Focus on: Technology
Information and Advice Service Tel: 0207 936 5798 Email: email@example.com www.lluk.org
“Tutors are now better equipped and prepared to use a range of technologies in their environments.” Background Adult and community learning (ACL) takes place in a variety of environments in Bridgend, for example in life centres at libraries, community centres and schools. The range of ICT equipment varies greatly across the venues. Where there are no ICT resources available tutors have access to a suite of laptops that they take out with them, or they try to move the learning around during some part of the course to enable learners access to the internet. Donna started as an IT tutor eight years ago after working as an ICT trainer in a medical centre. In her first year as a tutor, Donna taught a few classes alongside her other job and was then able to secure a post as a full time IT tutor. After two years, she became the community learning manager and last year got the job as principal officer for ACL in Bridgend.
Donna didn’t leave school with ICT skills, although IT was part of a business course she took. She didn’t officially start learning ICT skills until she went back to learning as an adult learner in ACL. She has continually updated her skills through attending courses, gaining qualifications or through learning on the job.
Use of technology
The most important way technology is applied in adult and community learning (ACL) in Bridgend is by simply allowing easy access to it at a wide range of venues across the county. Equipment has been bought for tutors to use in all subject areas, this includes familiar items such as projectors and laptops, as well as more unusual equipment like digital voice recorders, which have been used successfully in language courses as evidence for learners’ speaking and listening abilities. Digital video cameras have been used by the ACL tutors for a long time allowing learners to collect evidence of their learning.
Tutors are now better equipped and prepared to use a range of technologies in their environments.
Technology has also been used by the ACL tutors in cross curriculum learning where different classes get together and share their learning experiences. For example, a cookery class cooked Spanish food for Spanish learners, who taught the cookery class and a digital photography class how to speak Spanish, and the digital photography class took photos of the event showing the cooks and the Spanish learners how to use their cameras and laptops.
Continuing professional development Initially as part of continuing professional development (CPD) ACL tutors in Bridgend were encouraged to complete lesson plans using ICT. Following this, Donna arranged for RSC Wales to run an e-awareness training event where tutors were shown how to use technology in much more detail. A large number of tutors attended this event, and the success has been so obvious in tutors work that a further training day with RSC Wales has now been scheduled. Three times a year tutors are able to meet in curriculum quality groups which are used for staff development; including developing staff’s skills in the use of ICT to assist the learning experience. One example of how tutors have shared good practice saw a tutor video a lesson from a digital photography course about ‘getting to know your camera’, which was then shared with other tutors. Methods of using ICT to enhance learning are often shared back and forth in these groups. New tutors (those who are yet to achieve their teaching qualification) are offered in-house initial tutoring skills, a part of which is the opportunity to use technology to complete a ‘micro-teach’. Here tutors are asked to use, for example, an interactive whiteboard, presentations or videos so as to embed a culture for using technology by new tutors at an early stage.
For learners, the impact has been on their ability to use a range of learning technologies, using everyday items such as their mobile phones in a completely different way; learners may not have previously thought to use their mobile phones to record a voice for them to listen to outside of the classroom. Tutors always use technology that is relevant, and that learners can use outside of the learning environment. There have also been wider benefits. In the annual ACL Arts and Crafts Exhibition, which includes digital photography and imaging special effects, learners stated that they had applied the skills that they had learnt in other areas of their life such as in work, on committees and when in groups that they are a part of. For Bridgend’s Adult Leaners’ Award Ceremony in 2009, the successful winners were interviewed prior to the ceremony and the clips of these interviews were shown at the ceremony. “That’s what we believe ACL is all about – everybody having a go. We aim to provide opportunities for everyone to use technology that they already own in their learning such as mobile phones, as well as providing opportunities to have a go at using other technology to improve learning.”
Future plans Donna feels it’s very important to keep up to date with technological developments and offer the opportunity for people to learn about these developments. Her biggest aim is to get technology into every subject area, she feels that the key to this is to drip feed little bits of technology to those who are afraid to use it so that it can spread throughout everything else. Another key development for the future will be to get Moodle up and running. The first area will be for tutors and then an area for learners will be opened up. This will either incorporate additional material for learners following on from a lesson, or could be used to post material for those who missed a lesson.
Contact Lifelong Learning UK 5th Floor St Andrew’s House 18-20 St Andrew Street London EC4A 3AY Ref: W/05 2009/01
Information and Advice Service
020 7936 5798 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This information is available in alternative formats from Lifelong Learning UK