Tools of the trade: Sally Hill

Concluding our short series exploring how teachers can hone in on the right tech to suit their needs

Sally Hill is project manager at OneStep CPD

What are teachers looking for when it comes to edtech training?

As with all CPD, training needs to be bespoke and actionable. Too many sessions focus on general skills that are hard to put into place, or introduce teachers to things that would be fantastic to do but require resources they don’t have. I’ve spoken to schools that have had great sessions on how to do all their marking and feedback online within lessons, but have no tablets or netbooks in their school to do it. Tech training needs to focus on upskilling individual teachers within their context.

What training is available for free, and how effective is it?

This is a tricky one. If teachers are simply looking to hone their digital skills, there are some great free sites. For the basics, organisations like Google offer simple, applicable advice on how to use technology better. Then there are more specific sites like Codeacademy that teach you to code. In terms of actual CPD in how to use technology better in the classroom, or how to deliver IT lessons effectively, I personally don’t know of any site that does this for free.


In related news: NCCE announces 23 national computing hubs to support CPD and make links with industry and universities


Where are teachers currently getting their training? From their institution, from tech suppliers, or from their own independent research?

From our research, CPD provision in schools is hit-and-miss, and not a single teacher has mentioned technology skills training. As with most CPD, it seems to be teachers finding it out on their own or asking colleagues for help.

That being said, when a school signs up to a new supplier, there is usually a training session on how to use the technology, with a customer support team available in the future for issues or upskilling.

How would you sum up the current state of teachers’ edtech competencies? And how much edtech is currently untapped, as teachers aren’t getting the training to use it?

This varies massively from school to school. Our research showed that some schools have an IT lead, a teacher who receives training and then disseminates it across the staff. This training is generally on a specific technology, such as tablets or netbooks and how to use these in lessons.

On the other hand, we have also spoken to teachers who are very insecure in their technology skills and feel unable to use the technology effectively. This is understandable, as most training focuses on measurable progress and results. For example, schools may not put money into training their teachers in technology when this has a smaller direct impact on English and maths results.


Useful websites:

The Digital Teaching Professional Framework: et-foundation.co.uk/supporting-practitioners

Microsoft free courses: education.microsoft.com/courses

Google for Education: teachercenter.withgoogle.com

Adobe Education Exchange: edex.adobe.com

Apple Teacher/Apple Professional Learning: apple.com/education

Futurelearn MOOCs: futurelearn.com/courses

Education and Training Foundation (ETF) Enhance Digital Teaching Platform: enhance.etfoundation.co.uk

ETF report on barriers to edtech adoption: et-foundation.co.uk/research

ETF national training needs analysis for the FE sector: et-foundation.co.uk/training and et-foundation.co.uk/news

2019 EdTech Schools: ednfoundation.org/EDTECH50

European Schoolnet: eun.org

Enhance Digital Teaching Management Dashboard: