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Good, but not quite the champ

They may be labelled "ICT champions" but, please, don't call them that.

They don't like it and want a more appropriate title since any talk of champions is immediately dismissed by colleagues.

Three years into the masterclass initiative to create a cadre of skilled, enthusiastic teachers with vision and technical know-how in ICT, researchers have once again confirmed that the 650 who are on the programme are making an impact in schools. Initial findings last year showed positive support for its progress.

Other major ICT initiatives, including the supply of digital cameras and whiteboards, are helping to change the outlook on new technology but the Learning and Teaching Scotland-led masterclasses are contributing to the cultural change, according to the George Street Research agency's study for the Scottish Executive.

Nearly eight out of 10 teachers (78 per cent) on the masterclass programme believe it has a catalytic effect on the use of ICT.

The researchers note: "While loath to regard themselves as ICT champions, masterclassers are active in a wide range of champion activity, albeit that this is still more evident within schools than within their own local authority area or outwith the area.

"Masterclassers are most likely to say they have had an impact on the use of equipment in schools and to have improved knowledge about ICT but some are also influential on policy and developing best practice."

Meetings for masterclassers run every two months while just over one in two teachers on the programme use the online facility to exchange ideas and good practice. More should do so, the researchers advise. They conclude that masterclassers need more support and opportunities to meet up. Many feel isolated.

Evaluation of the masterclass initiative is posted on www.scotland.gov.uk.

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