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ICT - Stay free of the 'F' factor

What's it about?

When was the last time you tried "flying by the seat of your pants" teaching, trying something a bit different and deviating from your plan? These always seem to be the most memorable lessons which give us the buzz that makes it all worthwhile. But mention technology and for every teacher who believes it keeps their work fresh, a dozen more develop sweaty palms, writes Jan Webb. Never mind the X factor; these teachers have the F factor - fear.

There may be hitches using technology in class but by modelling a healthy approach to challenges and problem-solving we empower pupils to try new ideas themselves.

It can be daunting using a new tool and might involve the ICT co-ordinator to ensure a free download is available on the machine you're using. It's crucial to check that online tools you access at home also work in school. Check school and local authority policies. Work with colleagues to give you momentum and use Twitter and TESTESS forums for mutual support.

Involve pupils, too, so you are learning together. This creates a culture in class where it's OK not to know everything, to make mistakes, learn from them, listen to others' ideas and find solutions together.

Try one new thing at a time. And remember that lasting success comes from the evolution of practice.

Where to go

There are various websites which are recommended to help get you started, including UnderTenMinutes, apps4class and ICT VideoHelp. Meanwhile, Teachers TV has produced a video in which pupils explore virtual worlds and teachers comment on the educational benefits of programmes like Second Life.

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