The BECTA ICT in Practice Awards supported by The TES and sponsored by BT could be the most important awards for ICT ever given in the UK, not just for all who are taking part but for everyone who is working with information and communications technology (ICT) to ensure a better and more relevant education for the next generation.
The ways of using ICT for teaching are still a matter of debate. Are there ways of using this technology that will extract maximum benefit? Does the technology work better in some subjects than others? How does this technology affect classroom management? What kind of environment needs to be created in schools for learning with ICT to flourish? What is the most appropriate kind of advice and support for teachers in this area?
Many brave practitioners from across the UK have been nominated. Entries came from the Orkneys in the north to Cornwall in the south, Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Entries closed at the end of July, were read and assessed in August and shortlisted candidates were told in September. During October and November, five teachers in each category will be visited and eventually two will go forward to an interview before the winner of each category will be announced. Lord David Puttnam will announce the winners and present cheques to each winner at the BETT show in January
The eight categories are:
ICT in Practice: School Management Secondary
ICT in Practice: School Management Primary
ICT in Practice: Subject Teaching Seconday
ICT in Practice: Subject Teaching Primary
ICT in Practice: Special Educational Needs Secondary
ICT in Practice: Special Educational Needs Primary
ICT in Practice: Advice and Support
ICT in Practice: Widening Participation in Further Education
The main themes for all awards are:
* commitment to the use of ICT for teaching and learning
* an understanding of how their work has contributed to raising standards
* the ability to inspire and motivate students and colleagues
* visionary and sustainable ongoing plans.
Caroline St John-Brooks, editor of The TES makes the point: "The TES has long recognised the importance of ICT in education. These awards will illuminate the fine work that is happening in our schools and colleges and - we hope - inspire others to develop their own imaginative and practical ideas which will really work in the classroom."
Owen Lynch, chief executive of BECTA, says: "The success of teaching and learning with ICT is fundamentally linked to teachers. I am delighted these awards will highlight their skills, expertise and creativity." Lynch is determined that this will not be one of those events that happens and then is forgotten. The underlying purpose is not to find winners but to unearth the good practice that is going on all over the UK. From January, articles, videos, websites, CD-Roms and case studies will flow from this and feature the work not just of the winners but of many of the people who entered.