Mark Beetlestone is an IT Lecturer and Curriculum Area Lead for Enterprise and Digital Industries at Fareham College with cross-college responsibility for the creation of a digital strategy. He is also a participant in the ETF’s Practitioner Research Programme in partnership with SUNCETT at the University of Sunderland. Mark’s research has focused on how to upskill staff digitally and it was in this context that he ran Fareham’s pilot of the ETF’s Enhance Digital Teaching Platform during 2019.
We have piloted it in two curriculum areas so far, firstly Health, Social Care and Childcare, and secondly Learning Support. The staff in Health and Social Care really liked it and said it felt like a breath of fresh air. They found the material on digital safety especially helpful, because of the potential for social media bullying amongst students, which is now a widespread concern of course. The Learning Support staff thought the online training modules were great, liked the fact that they didn’t take too much time, but also wanted more about specific tools to use with learners. That said, we understand that the emphasis of the Enhance training is on pedagogy rather than specific technologies. Although we piloted with just two departments, the training was so popular it went viral, with people from other departments asking about it as well!
Teachers get sent training all the time. Most of it is mundane, boring, dry. A lot of it is made a long time ago for other markets such as schools. The Enhance Digital Teaching Platform training looks good, it’s inviting, and it’s both useful and interesting. Also, teachers like the fact that you can hop on and off easily. Trying to hold a one-hour CPD session for staff across the College is almost impossible. This service allows staff to tackle training at their one pace and in their own way. Even the most initially reluctant members of staff said they’d do more modules.
Many staff at the College come from industry, they are brilliant at what they do but they may not have had much opportunity to use technology and develop their digital skills. We are aiming to upskill staff right across all departments, so we are going to use the ETF’s online training service and the underpinning Digital Teaching Professional Framework to form the basis of our digital CPD offer this year. Part of that will be cultivating champions in each department so there is a “go-to” person in each area who can relate use of edtech to each subject specialism. At the same time, I’ll be working on an overarching digital learning strategy, taking account of what other colleges are doing well.
The Management Dashboard has been a big selling point with SLT. It’s useful for monitoring uptake of the online training modules and to see which are the most popular modules. That tells us what people want to know which can guide what face-to-face training we offer. It helps us to tailor our use of the platform and the framework to our own CPD strategy.
Further details are available on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform Management Dashboard pages.