Awards in education have an important place and in the area of ICT they are crucial. IT has moved naturally into business, but it has not yet penetrated as deeply into the working of a school. That is just a matter of time. The current crop of awards highlight schools and teachers doing work worthy of attention and point a way ahead for others.
The ICT in Practice Awards (www.becta.org.uk newspracticeawards) highlighted Jonathan Boyle's work in design and technology (pictured, above). Most of his lesson material is available on the school intranet both to students in school and at home, breathing life into the concept of "schools without walls". Norman Johnston's ICT work in his classroom has transformed the prospect for the children in his Belfast special needs school. Norman and Jonathan gained something from their awards, education gained more.
The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency's (Becta) website awards (www.becta.org.ukschoolswebsiteawards) have done much to show schools that a website can be more than an online prospectus. One has only to look at the Hampstead School site to see how vibrant the work is.
Becta's newest awards are the Creativity in Digital Video Awards (www.becta.org.ukcreativityawards). They aim to encourage pupils and teachers to explore video technology (see pages 20-21). Becta is looking for edited videos from pupils all across the UK. The videos produced on PC or Apple computers have to be linked to the curriculum. The winning pieces will be featured nationally by 4Learning and the winning schools will get a Digital Video Learning Kit - an iMac, iMovie2 and a Canon digital camcorder provided by the award sponsors, Apple and Canon.
Becta's ICT in Practice Awards sponsored by The TES, Pearsons and BT are now in their third year and the entries close at the end of July. The teachers who have been rewarded, so far, have shown not only good practice but they have shared their work at the BETT show and in online seminars, becoming ambassadors for ICT in learning. A teacher like Carl Sherlock, at the time of the awards in a small school in Abergavenny, shows that you can achieve a plenty with a small budget and a great deal of imagination.
The focus of these award is on sharing and Becta ensures that all the expertise is shared through the website CD-Roms and case studies. These are not awards that finish when the cheques are presented; all the short-listed entrants have been made the subject of articles in The TES and have been invited to speak at national conferences. More important, BECTA has created an online community of all those who have taken part in both years "a repository of expertise and enthusiasm".
If you have an ICT story to tell and good news to share, think about entering. Full details can be found on the website. A free CD-Rom and booklet is available for prospective entrants.
What the winners of 2002 said
"The awards impact cannot be measured. It has done so much for the pride and self esteem of pupils, staff and parents."
"The recognition that what I believe in is also worthy of an award is a great feeling."
"Nothing compares to this award. Perhaps it is the huge amount of money or maybe it is just the professional way in which everything was done."
"If I can do this , so can you."
Becta ICT in Practice awards: www.becta.org.uknewspracticeawards
Global teachers Millennium Awards:
Provision will work best when the child has received a thorough assessment, parents and staff have received training and arrangements are in place to have the kit maintained.