Category Archives: Policies and Strategies

Presenting my contributions to TACCLE4 CPD project – Part Six: The complete set of reports is available on ResearchGate

During the last few weeks I have worked hard to finalise my deliverables for the EU-funded project TACCLE4 CPD. The project develops models for continuing professional development (CPD) to promote digital competences of teachers and trainers. The acronym TACCLE stands for “Teachers’ aids on creating contents for learning environments”. The current project is already the fourth one in the series of TACCLE projects. The earlier ones have focused on classroom teachers and on organising training for interested teachers. The current project has shifted the emphasis to organisational level and to different educational sectors – including adult education (AE) and vocational education and training (VET).

My contributions (on behalf of our institute ITB have focused on the field of VET and made transparent challenges and boundary conditions for promoting digital competences as contribution to vocational learning. In my previous blogs I have discussed this with reference to the particular reports once I have got them completed. Now that I have the full set of  reports ready and uploaded on ResearchGate I want to present an overview, what all has been produced to support CPD initiatives and to draw attention to promotion of digital competences in the field of VET.

Overview of the VET-related reports for TACCLE4 CPD project

Below I just present the titles of the reports and the links to ResearchGate. For further information I refer to the previous blogs and to the abstracts on ResearchGate:

Report One: Policy analyses as background for continuing professional development of teachers and trainers in the field of vocational education and training (VET). DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.24915.73762

Report Two: Finding new approaches to promote digital competences – Legacy of past projects and new inputs from R&D projects in vocational education and training (VET).  DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.13171.68649

Report Three: Role of Open Educational Resources (OER) in the field of Vocational education and Training (VET) – Insights into uses of OER in vocational teaching/learning arrangements.  DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.23552.58880 (co-authored with Jan Naumann)

Annex to Report Three: Using Open Resources (OR) and Open Educational Resources (OER) in Vocational Education and Training (VET). Two examples of teaching/learning designs. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.10969.67684 (co-authored with Jan Naumann)

Report Four a: Strategies and Training Models for promoting Digital Competences in the field of Vocational Education and Training – Reflections on Policies, Conceptual Frameworks and Innovation projects. (Co-authored with Angela Gerrard and Werner Müller)

Report Four b: The Theme Room Training 2020 framework – Promoting digital competences of vocational teachers and trainers Report 4b for the TACCLE4 CPD project.  DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.16783.33447

Annexes to The Theme Room Training 2020 framework (Report 4b for the TACCLE4 CPD project) 

As I see it, I have completed a coherent work program starting from policy analyses, continuing with explorations on R&D projects and use cases on introducing OER and then landing to a synthesis report and to framework for shaping CPD measures. I hope that this has been useful.

Mindmap of policies and resources

The TaccleCPD Mindmap attempts to organise the policies, tools and resources for CPD in teacher training in ICT. This is still a work in progress as we are continually adding new resources as we find them. This page will be updated in the new year and will eventually be replaced with an interactive html version with clickable links.

Download the pdf here TACCLE 4 CPD mindmap pdf


Overview of current projects alongside TACCLE4-CPD; Interim Conclusions

For the TACCLE4-CPD project it is worthwhile to consider, what educational sectors are covered by these parallel projects and in what ways our project can cooperate with its neighbours. Here some key points:

  • The Inclusive Digital Media project DMI pointed out to be an alliance of several R&D projects. It works with ‘thematic concepts’ that are based on shared pedagogic principles. In this way the DMI seeks to enhance subject-based and interdisciplinary learning units with digital media and creative shaping. For the work of TACCLE4-CPD in general education these thematic concepts are of major interest.
  • The projects DieDa and NABUS are mostly involved with pedagogy of adult education – and on the real implementation of ‘self-organised learning’ in vocational end work-related adult learning provisions.
  • The projects RISE and STRIDE have very specific R&D approaches to enhance project-based learning in vocational schools. Here it is interesting to exchange experiences on the multiple roles of researchers.
  • The subsequent projects INTAGT, MeMoApp and LiKa 4.0 have very specific VET and workplace-related learning contexts and very customised software ecologies to work with. Here it is of interest to find out, if Learning Toolbox could be linked to their work.
  • The project DigiProB is partly a successor project of the Learning Layers’ Construction pilot. However, it is working with different web tools and addresses different trainers with an aim shape integrative learning projects for adult learners. In the final phase there is an effort to create a functioning interaction between the trainers’ web platform and the learners’ toolset (the Learning Toolbox).
  • The project BROFESSIO is of major interest due to the development and implementation of the ‘Agile learning’ concept for workplace-based team-based learning and training. In many pilot contexts such approaches to promote peer tutoring and peer learning are vital for the consolidation of the learning results and for the transfer of innovation.

The STRIDE project: Development of Digitisation Strategies for Schools (Erasmus Plus)

This description is based on a discussion between the author and Kristina Kühn (ITB). The author is responsible for the written content.

The STRIDE project has been initiated by the Italian partners that are responsible for the coordination. In the project consortium the German and the Spanish partners have been given the role of expert partners (responsible for the conceptual work, studies and documentation) without application partners from their countries. As a contrast, the Irish, Italian, Polish and Turkish partners are the application partners that seek to develop strategies for digitisation with the help of the studies and the workshops on the project. The Irish school was initially a private one but has now become part of public educational system, it covers vocational and adult education. The Italian partner is a vocational school and a provider of project management training. The Polish partner is a school for general education in a specific local context. The Turkish school provides a wide range of general and vocational programs.

The project started its studies with a questionnaire that resulted in the state-of-the-art reports from the four countries with application partners. This was followed by examination of current policies. Base on these preparatory steps the project is developing a modular framework in which 5 modules are dedicated for ICT- and media-related issues, whilst the other modules focus on strategy development.

The first Joint Staff Training Event has tested the modular framework both from the perspective of comparing the countries and regarding the mutual relations. Here, a specific challenge was, to what extent the issues are ones for school directors and/ or for teachers. Also, the testing brought forward the country-specific possibilities to work with such a framework. Some participants could raise several options arising from their strategy work, whilst others were struggling with equipment- and acceptance-related problems.

In the next phase the project will work more closely to shape the strategies for the four schools and to incorporate them into the modular framework. This work will then be continued to shape a Forum (repository) of Open Educational Resources.

Concerning the possibility to use Learning Toolbox, this depends on the progress and interest of individual partners. Probably the LTB could help them to illustrate the framework for real use cases.

The RISE project: Studying regional innovation hubs and the strengthening of social enterprises with focus on cross-border cooperation (Erasmus Plus)

This description is based on a discussion between the author and Miguel Civera (ITB). The author is responsible for the written content.

The project “RISE” arises from the conceptual background of “Design thinking” and from the related culture of presenting emerging innovations in “Pitching” events. Based on the longer experience of ITB with Project Management training in vocational schools, the rise project takes a further step in piloting with ‘innovation hubs’ and ‘pitching competences’ with focus on social enterprises and cross-border cooperation.

The project is funded by the Erasmus Plus programme and it has partners from three countries – Germany, Spain and Slovenia. From each country the project has an expert partner organisation and an application partner organisation. In Germany the partners are ITB and Wilhelm Wagenfeld Schule. Altogether, the partners bring into picture slightly different fields of expertise (VET and business management) as well as different cultural regions in Europe.

The project works with a process model that envisages four phases main phases that are guided by respective workshops of the consortium and concluded as the main intellectual outputs:

  • Drafting of social entrepreneurship concepts
  • Validation of the ideas (including training concepts and the business models)
  • Creation of the innovation hubs (incorporation into school culture and publicising of the work)
  • Introduction of the Social Entrepreneurship Badge (development of a joint format of recognition in terms of learning achievements and competences for the labour market).

Here it is worthwhile to note that the learning processes include several supporting methods like storytelling, pitching and Lean Start-up methods. In all countries the school teachers and the school students are involved as equal team members. Altogether, the project seeks to promote sharing of ideas between different partner regions and to shape a European learning culture.

In the comparison between the projects RISE and TACCLE-4 CPD we focused on the use of the Learning Toolbox (in general) and as support for ePosters (in particular) as a common interest area.

The NABUS project – Promoting sustainability in construction by developing training and learning arrangements

This description is based on a discussion between the author and Joanna Burchert (ITB). The author is responsible for the written content.

This project has worked parallel to the DieDa project with a specific emphasis on supporting training activities as well as training of trainers in the context of ecological construction and renovation work. The target groups have been trainers, apprentices and participants in continuing training.

The project has covered different occupations in the construction sector – mainly bricklayers, carpenters and joiners, but also others – with an interest to specialise in ecological construction work. Here, a major interest is in working with ecological construction materials, e.g. strawbales and clay. But the range of topics is wider – covering also other aspects of sustainability and ecological well-being. Thus, a major focus is on daily work and the construction techniques but other issues come up as advice for clients regarding the sustainability of materials and recycling issues.

Here the role of research is mainly to support the training activities in terms of participative accompaniment, documentation and evaluation. Given the high emphasis on engaging the practitioners, a major forum is the Facebook group Nachhaltig bauen und sanieren

The DieDa project: Pedagogic development of self-organised learning with focus on learner-sensitive differentiation and introduction of digital media (BMBF)

This description is based on a discussion between the author and Joanna Burchert and Lena Setzepfand (ITB). The author is responsible for the written content.

The DieDa project was launched as a theoretically active R&D project that studies the current interpretation of ‘Self-organised learning’ in continuing vocational training. In addition to studies the project highlights examples of good practice and is contributing to the introduction of digital media.

The project works with trainers and learners in continuing training. It studies learning in the courses and independently of them. The project collects interview materials and the researchers are involved in participative observation – and in initiatives to introduce new forms of learning (MOOCs, BarCamps, Tweets).

The project started working with courses on ecological construction work – but following its theoretical and pedagogic interests of knowledge – it has broadened the range of studies to cover other kinds of training in construction sector, in technical occupations and in occupations of social work. Likewise, it has studied shorter training courses as well as training programs for upgrading skilled workers.

In the empirical studies the project has explored the learning biographies, priorities and dislikes of trainers and participants. Also, they have examined, to what extent their learning behaviour is directed by pressures to enhance their employability, by training markets (and market values of credentials) or by empowered decisions to follow their own interests.

The main forum of the project is the group blog “Lernen neu denken“. In addition the project is publishing articles. Regarding the practical innovation, the project is carrying out an online discourse in the form of a C-MOOC.

Concerning the use of Learning Toolbox, the project sees a great potential. However, the main point here is that LTB should not be dropped to the users as a ‘ready-made-solution’ but they have to find their needs and their interests to use it.

TACCLE1 and TACCLE2 projects – promoting teachers’ capability to create digital contents and use web resources

The first TACCLE project developed a generic handbook for teachers (in general) to familiarise themselves with digital media and web tools of that time (2007-2009). The choice to produce a hard copy handbook was not self-evident, but turned out to be the right one. Teachers preferred to have a book that they could explore – rather than searching through the websites of that time. Also, the texts were written in the style of teachers (from the users’ point of view) rather than in the style of technical experts or researchers. Now, many years after the project has been completed, the project website has been reshaped to inform of the TACCLE books and of the TACCLE courses that continue the work,

The second TACCLE project worked as a web-based project. It focused on different subject areas or teacher groups, such as STEM (in German MINT), Humanities, Creative and performing arts, Core skills and Primary education. The project worked with teachers from the participating countries and produced handbooks to be downloaded from the web. And as was the case with the first project, the second one was accompanied by TACCLE courses that made it possible for other teachers to benefit from the ongoing work. The project is documented on the website that also has active news sections:

The third TACCLE project is working with primary education teachers that are teaching computing, coding and programming for children between 4 and 14 years. The project is using a single website that supports multiple languages:

Digital Media, Web Tools & Training of Trainers – Overview of current projects alongside TACCLE4-CPD

This overview is an interim product of the EU-funded project TACCLE4-CPD “Strategies, Models and Tools for Continuing Professional Development for Teachers in e-Learning”. The acronym TACCLE stands for “Teachers’ aids for creating content for learning environments”. TACCLE4 is already a fourth European project in the TACCLE project family. The abbreviation ‘CPD’ stands for different forms of continuing professional development. And the expression e-Learning should be understood as an inclusive concept – taking into account multimedia learning, blended learning, online learning, mobile learning in different variations. (Below the first main section will give insights into the development of the TACCLE projects.)

In the TACCLE4 project other partners from Wales, Belgium and Romania will work with the theme ‘continuing professional development’ focusing on teachers in general schools or adult education. The task of ITB is to cover the field of vocational education and training (VET) – taking into account teachers and trainers. (Below, one of the subsections will give insights into the plans of ITB.)

In this phase it is interesting that there are already several European and national projects in which ITB researchers work with the themes “Digital media, Web tools & Training of trainers”. Therefore, it is worthwhile to map a situation and to provide an overview of the project environment in which the TACCLE4-CPD is the newest actor. By producing this overview we try to facilitate mutual exchanges and learning from each other.

Below, the first main section gives insights into the previous TACCLE projects and into the plans for the current one. The following main sections will present a group picture of the neighbouring projects with reference to their contexts, target groups and research & development challenges.

Notes on Strategies and Models for Continuing Professional Development for Teachers in e-Learning

  1.    Models of delivery

Trying to map the different models of delivery and the range of activities which constitute CPD is not straightforward due to the highly varied pattern of provision.

In order to make sense of the range of provision which exists, Vogel (2010) suggested a framework based on Land’s (2001) work.  She suggested that different delivery models of ICT CPD could be located somewhere along the following axes

  •      Technology-centred – pedagogy-centred
  •      Learner-centred – institution-centred
  •      Centralised – local
  •      Extrinsic –  intrinsic motivation
  •      Formal – informal
  •      Situated – generalised
  •      Support – development ethos
  •      Voluntary – compulsory

The traditional model of sending staff on courses is general seen as ineffective in failing to provide opportunities for practice and failing to involve colleagues to support new initiatives (IfL, 2010). Furthermore, courses are decontextualised from work cultures, constraints and practices.

However, the dichotomy is probably painted too starkly.  CPD may be delivered in house by outside ‘experts’ or external CPD programmes may be delivered through on-line courses, be heavily contextualised and use a problem centred approach.

Whilst there are limited studies of the effectiveness of CPD as a whole there are numerous small scale case studies. These include:

  •      A Professional Engagement Group (PEG) model as a community-based alternative in a school within an institution’s Faculty of Education with small groups convening, sometimes only briefly, round a given problem and facilitated by academics (Hanrahan at al, 2001)
  •      A structured, rapid and iterative problem-based group activity to introduce academics in the departments to Web 2.0 technologies focusing on bridging the gap from knowledge and skills to practice in the classroom
  •      E-mentoring in which a buddy system was set up between a lecturer who was inexperienced with technologies and a learner who was confident with them.

Several universities run professional development courses on line. For example, Glyndŵr University offers the Postgraduate Certificate in E-learning, delivered entirely on line and aiming to increase the knowledge and skills needed to apply technology effectively to support teaching and learning across a range of educational and training contexts.

The University of Greenwich runs a professional development programme leading to a Certificate in e-Learning, Teaching and Training (CeLTT) to help staff understand both technology and pedagogy. The course is offered fully online or as a blended programme.

Camel Stoke College has ‘Holy Hours’ set aside for staff development whereby all tutors have two hours per week for ICT CPD. This was in response to a skills audit, which revealed that many middle and senior managers are embarrassed by their lack of IT skills. Staff are asked to identify their own priorities and skills deficits. Since introducing the scheme they have been overwhelmed by requests for one-to-one training.

There are increasing opportunities to use on line resources for personalised CPD. However the IfL (2010) )report that “although there is a large variety of media and technologies through which members can gain new skills or develop their practice, as part of CPD, in general more members either had not used or heard of ‘new’ technologies, than had.”

However, there is a substantial take up of e-Portfolio tools for professional development.The major barriers to using such tools were lack of time, low confidence in how to use different tools, difficulties with technology and that their employer required them to submit their CPD records by different systems.

It is also notable that technology can be used to support CPD outside the area of teaching and learning. For instance, technology can be used to scaffold CPD for management issues or for career progression, using social networking, recording and reflecting learning to help reinforce the message of the effectiveness of technology for learning.

In summary, research indicates that the source of CPD provision itself is less important than the learning approach which is adopted. CPD which is designed to be collaborative is reported as effective in a majority of studies whereas CPD designed for and delivered didactically to teachers by a third party is not.

In their review of Continuing Professional Development in ICT for Teachers, Daly, Pachler and Pelletier (2009) concluded: “The core issue to emerge from the review is that teachers need to be at the centre of their own learning if they are to change their deep-seated beliefs and habits regarding the use of technology. Otherwise, surface-level adoption occurs.” (p6)

  1. Constraints and barriers

Amongst the different barriers which have emerged in recent research are the lack of adequate access to technology especially for practising themselves and for embedding in their classroom practice and a lack of intellectual challenge offered by a purely skills-based approach and a focus on de-contextualised skills without reference to any underlying pedagogy.

Teachers were also alienated by what they saw as hard-sell approaches by zealous ‘experts’ and the often insensitive attitudes of people outside the profession who were implicitly or explicitly critical of their current practice. This reflects the point that teachers perceive a credibility gap when taught by non-teachers.

In some institutions, ICT CPD is heavily linked with buying particular products from commercial providers. This may be dictated by purchasing policy, by technical support departments or service level agreements rather than by assessment of learning needs. In addition, vendors are often responsible for the CPD linked to the use of a particular platform or software application.  This may stifle exploration of other available software and act as a barrier to innovation and the adoption of new applications as they become available.

Lack of support from managers may also be a significant barrier. The analysis of the IfL survey of their members (IfL, 2010(b) concluded that “for technology to have a real impact, support for teaching, learning and CPD needs to be central to the organisation. When our members were asked if they felt supported by their employer and managers, 35% of the survey respondents said they felt unsupported and lacked the confidence to explore new methods in the classroom

There appears to be a tension between addressing individual and whole-school development needs. Teachers report that the latter usually dominate the CPD agenda. However, treating teachers as individual learners is important if deep-seated beliefs about learning are to be reviewed and attitudes changed regarding the role of technologies in the classroom.

Policy tensions and imperatives may also deflect from coherent and consistent development of pedagogic approaches to the use of technology for teaching and learning, especially in dictating the use of time and resources.

  1. What are the successes / critical success factors?

A summary of the research reveals the following key factors as critical to effective ICT CPD:

Peer learning / skill sharing

Teachers who have more experience are given structured opportunities to share with those who have less and there are no hierarchical divisions between ‘experts’ and ‘non-experts’. Most importantly, this sharing process is valued and legitimated. This depends on the institution having a strong sense of community and a shared ethos of peer learning. This has to be built rather than imposed.

The Institute for Learning (IfL, 2010(b)) report: that “evidence shows that the CPD most likely to lead to the desired impact is based on learning from others – from shared resources, from peer support and working together and through formal and informal networks.” (p10)

Small group learning

As noted above, there has been a trend away from mass ‘Inset’ sessions towards group work as a valid form of CPD activity. Groups may be based around skill levels, different software interests, subject specialities or different target groups (e.g. Women returners, Special Educational Needs etc). There were many positive reports on the effectiveness of this approach as a vehicle for discussing practice and planning new approaches.

Informal learning

Informal learning may be more important than formal courses.

“Informal conversations are vital, as is dedicated time to allow teachers to talk together and plan for new approaches in terms of their use of ICT in learning and teaching.” (Daly, Pachler and Pelletier, 2009)

Informal learning, by definition, cannot be planned but can be facilitated by creating time and space for networking, inclusive leadership styles, democratic staff relationships and the development of staff as a learning community.

Clear links between CPD and practice

The additional benefits of using ICT must be very clear. CPD activities have to be immediately relevant to the individual teacher and applicable in the classroom.

As teachers become more familiar with the technology, there is an increasing demand for subject specialist CPD, an area which is not well developed and frequently not a priority. It is also likely to be one in which there is least in-house expertise available.

A sound pedagogic base and reflexivity

There should be a shared of understanding of how learning occurs, how it can be planned and facilitated and what constitutes effective teaching and learning.  This may be stating the obvious but there are criticisms of some commercial providers who were perceived as having a different baseline.

The design of the ICT CPD should incorporate effective use of ICT for learning. That is, it should practice what it preaches. Teachers need to experience and participate in e-learning activities as part of their professional development.

“The incorporation of group work, collaborative problem-solving, independent thinking, articulation of thought and creative presentation of ideas are examples of the ways in which teachers’ CPD might focus on pedagogy, with a view to how technologies can support these processes.”  (Daly, Pachler and Pelletier, 2009).


A clear vision for ICT CPD focused on pedagogy and teacher development was seen as a prime factor by staff and providers.

If the overall objectives and a coherent strategy are in place this can help avoid or overcome operational problems of time and funding.  Effective leaders can build capacity by maximising the range of expertise that staff already have and drawing them together as part of a co-ordinated approach to CPD. This could include, for example, identifying excellent practitioners who use creative approaches in the classroom (using traditional pedagogies), staff with ICT skills, staff with experience of facilitating peer learning groups, staff with staff training and communication skills.

“Organisations with a real interest in developing teaching and learning also identified working in teams, mentoring, and engaging in action research as most likely to lead to brilliant teaching and training.” (IfL, 2010 (a), p10)

Working with newly qualified and trainee teachers

New teachers, particularly younger ones, may be able to make a valuable contribution to the ICT CPD of established staff and this should not be over-looked.

Ownership of equipment:

Teachers and lecturers need to feel that they can ‘play’ with their own kit in order to develop familiarity and confidence, that they can use it for learning outside working hours and that they can customise it in a way which reflects their particular needs (UNESCO, 2006). This was a big issue for teachers but often at odds with institutional policy despite the fact that the preparedness of teachers to use their own time for learning actually saves money!

Time usage

Teachers resented time wasted on a lot of formal CPD, especially if it was not directly related to classroom practice, but valued time they could spend with colleagues to generate ideas and plan activities that could be implemented in the classroom.

“It has been shown that teachers need regular time during the standard working week in order to discuss Teaching and Learning. They need both knowledge of the research base and continuing ‘structured opportunities for new learning, practice, reflection and adjustment’ (Coffield, 2008)

Involvement of non-teaching staff

Senior management felt that this was important but perceived as less so by teachers.

Use of mentors or learning coaches

Apprenticeship and support are very important for in-service teachers in acquiring knowledge and adopting innovatory approaches in their classrooms.

Observation of practice

According to Daly, Pachler and Pelletier (2009), watching colleagues use ICT in the classroom was seen by the majority of teachers as one of the most valuable forms of CPD. However, very few had had the opportunity to do so.  Another strategy which was popular was chance to observe and work with external experts who visit classrooms to teach CPD by working with students.

Networks and communities of practice

Kirsti Ala-Mutka et al (2008) recognise the usefulness of social software in ICT CPD. They argue that establishing and participating in teacher networks and following innovative practice development in the field is a crucial part of effective CPD

“Initial and in-service teacher training should disseminate insights and best practices with new innovative approaches, encouraging teachers to experiment with digital and media technologies and to reflect on the learning impacts of their own teaching practices.”

The use of E-portfolios as a tool in ICT CPD

The OECD (2010) recommends that all teachers develop an e-portfolio to support, record and reflect their CPD. This serves three purposes. Firstly, it encourages teachers to use ICT regularly and systematically to support learning. Secondly, they will understand the potential of using e-portfolios with their students and will have first-hand experiences of the issues, problems and benefits they offer. Thirdly, it will serve as a model to encourage student teachers to use ICT during their ITT.

iCatalyst from MirandaNet are CPD providers. In their publicity they describe key features of the programmes they provide.  Many of these can be transferred and generalised across ICT CPD:

  •       a mixed-methods or blended learning programme which provides mentoring and resources to scaffold learning about subjects that are relevant to the challenges for teachers in schools
  •       [opportunities for] the learners to negotiate customised programmes based upon their own practice and the vision of their institution (these may be individual or based on small groups).
  •       the use of internet technologies to maximise flexibility of where and when the programme is accessed;
  •       the creation of mature sustainable e-communities of practice where views and knowledge both of teachers and of students, can be shared to the benefit of all.
  •       the development of Knowledge Hubs where all resources developed are made available to the community of practice and where new knowledge and evidence-based theory can be created as a result
  •       leadership development so that participants will eventually become field tutors and run the programme themselves
  •       an approach which is based on co-production of knowledge, a co-determination of meaning, collective problem solving and multiple perspectives among learners
  •      work-based accreditation techniques that motivate participants to continue to learn and contribute to the community of practice.
  1. Issues in the provision of CPD for teachers in the use of technology for e-learning

Diversity of practice, innovation, dissemination and Communities of Practice

Our literature suggested considerable diversity in practice in Continuing Professional Development and a welcome wealth of innovation. However, research is lagging behind in investigating different patterns of practice and all too often innovation is not being effectively disseminated, especially in the Lifelong Learning sector. How can we overcome this ‘research gap’? The use of technology to support the development of distributed Communities of Practice may offer an effective and inclusive solution. However, experience suggests a difficulty in developing Communities of Practice from the top down. How can we facilitate the emergence of Communities of Practice through which teachers can control their own knowledge development and sharing? What should be the role of different agencies and stakeholders in such a process?

Skills training or a focus on pedagogy and changing dispositions?

Although individual teacher’s confidence and competence in using technology is seen as important, evidence suggests an over-emphasis in Continuing Professional Development on skills training in itself at the expense of deep understanding and application of skills to developing learning and teaching. How can we achieve an effective balance between the two approaches? Is it possible to combine a focus on pedagogic processes with individual skills development? How is the development of skills best supported? How can we overcome the tension between individual professional development and whole institution approaches to using technology for teaching and learning and ensure CPD programmes address deep-seated beliefs about learning in order to address attitudes and dispositions regarding the role of technologies in the classroom?

Capacity building

The traditional model of sending staff on courses is general seen as ineffective in failing to provide opportunities for practice and failing to involve colleagues to support new initiatives. Furthermore, courses are often de-contextualised from work cultures, constraints and practices.

Research indicates that the source of CPD provision itself is less important than the learning approach which is adopted. CPD which is designed to be collaborative is reported as effective in a majority of studies whereas CPD designed for and delivered didactically to teachers by a third party is not. Research also suggests barriers to effective CPD include the lack of adequate access to technology especially for practicing themselves and for embedding in their classroom practice and a lack of intellectual challenge offered by a purely skills-based approach and a focus on de-contextualised skills without reference to any underlying pedagogy.

What are effective strategies for developing the capacity of organisations to develop and deliver programmes of CPD? What support is available in planning and evaluating CPD programmes. How can we ensure teachers have adequate opportunities to use their learning within their personal practice?

Co-mentoring and the observation of effective practice

Co-mentoring or buddying appear to be particularly effective models for developing innovative practice in the use of technology for teaching and learning. These approaches are somewhat different to traditional approaches to Continuing Professional Development. Is there a need to re-consider how we define CPD? Despite the potential of using observation as a means to model and demonstrate effective practice, it appears to be little used at present? How can we develop new cultures in sharing ideas and expertise?

Developing and implementing e-Portfolios

The use of e-Portfolios by teachers can encourage them to use ICT regularly and systematically to support learning. Secondly, they will understand the potential of using e-portfolios with their students and will have first hand experiences of the issues, problems and benefits they offer. Thirdly, it will serve as a model to encourage student teachers to use ICT during their ITT. Should the use of e-Portfolios be required as a means of recording personal learning and Continuing Professional Development? Should teachers be allowed work time to develop their e-Portfolio?