20 Jul 2009

Teachers get £5.6 million technology training programme

New initiative will enhance professional skills of ICT and non-ICT teachers and help to transform ICT-related learning.

A nationwide programme to help teachers bring technology more effectively into the classroom is launched today by The Open University and e-skills UK.

Funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), the £5.6million programme will help education professionals, from primary through to secondary and college level, build their information and communications technology (ICT) skills, stay up to date with the latest developments and meet the needs of an increasingly technology-savvy generation of young people.

The new programme will help teachers of all subjects make effective use of ICT as an inspirational and effective learning tool, and boost the technology skills of their students.

There will be a special focus on building the professional competence of technology teachers providing them, amongst other things, with first hand experience of the ways in which IT is used in business and to drive innovation.

The programme brings together the world leading, virtual learning environment of The Open University with e-skills UK’s extensive employer reach and innovative education and IT skills programmes.

Karen Price, CEO e-skills UK said: “We live in a technology-enabled world. To prepare young people for successful futures we need to transform the way in which technology is taught and used in education. This places new demands on the skills and knowledge required of teachers. The UK already has many excellent technology teachers as well as teachers who are inspirational in their use of ICT in lessons. We believe that this programme will raise the overall standard to that of the very best, enhancing and enriching education for young people and their teachers.”

Professor Brenda Gourley, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said: “From Facebook and Wi-Fi, to iPods and YouTube, today’s school pupils are some of the most technologically savvy people in society. The Open University has been driving the use of innovative technology in education since it began 40 years ago and we are looking forward to helping teachers become even better at harnessing the potential of technology in their own classrooms.”

The programme combines state-of-the-art distance learning that can be tailored to individual needs, with face-to-face learning at local venues or hosted by employers. It will be supported by a dynamic online community.

The aims and objectives of the programme reflect the recommendations of the recent Rose and OFSTED reports to create a world-class learning environment in the UK by transforming the approach to ICT in education.

About e-skills UK
e-skills UK is the Sector Skills Council for Business and Information Technology. We work on behalf of employers to ensure the UK has the technology skills it needs to succeed in the global economy.

About The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the United Kingdom's largest university and the world leader in distance education. More than two million people have studied with the OU since it began in 1969. The OU has more than 200,000 students in over 40 countries studying for a variety of degrees and vocational qualifications ranging from short courses to PhDs.

Independent authorities have consistently ranked the OU in the top five UK universities for teaching quality and virtually all of the University’s research areas have received ratings of national or international excellence. OU students are more impressed with the quality of their courses and the support received than those at any other UK university, based on the findings of the National Student Survey. The OU has been at the top of the rankings every year since the survey began in 2005.

The Open University's style of teaching is called 'supported open learning'. ‘Open learning’ means that students learn in their own time by reading course material, working on course activities, writing assignments and perhaps working with other students. ‘Supported’ means support from a tutor and the student services staff at Regional Centres, as well as from centralised areas such as the Library or Open University Students Association. Some courses include a residential or day school, held at various times and locations.

E-learning – making intelligent use of media such as computer conferencing, email, CD-Roms, DVDs, the internet and of course, television and radio programmes – has always formed a major part of the OU’s courses and student support services, and the OU is regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution.

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