Masterclass enters phase 2

19th September 2003 at 01:00
One year on from the launch of Masterclass at SETT 2002, the initiative has some way to go to achieve its ambitious aim of creating a shared vision of information and communications technology's role in learning, teaching and management in schools, and the capability within each local authority to take this forward.

However, there are some achievements to report, says Marie Dougan, the Masterclass development officer at Learning and Teaching Scotland.

"More than 600 Masterclass participants across the country - teachers, principal teachers, depute heads, headteachers, local authority officers and lecturers in teacher education institutes - have fostered and encouraged the sharing of good practice in ICT.

"Participants have key roles in developing ICT within their authorities and institutions and they have an input and influence in developing national initiatives. They are very much involved in leading seminars at this year's SETT show and will also be involved in the development of Spark, the proposed national schools intranet."

Resources, ranging from checklists for school managers to presentations and videos for staff development, have been produced during training by the Masterclass participants. At this time, these are only available within the Masterclass community but there are plans to develop the most valuable ones and make them available to teachers.

An online community has been developed for Masterclassers to share ideas and resources, says Ms Dougan. Authorities were given a Masterclass grant, which has been used to purchase additional resources, such as digital cameras, projectors and whiteboards, and each authority has also developed plans for developing Masterclass locally.

Important lessons learned during phase one include the need to raise the vision of ICT among headteachers. "We are proposing to take steps towards this by organising a programme of Masterclass leadership in ICT courses, which will involve 300 headteachers, from all authorities in the country," says Ms Dougan.

"In phase one, the mixture of participants from different sectors, roles and authorities worked very well. All participants welcomed the opportunity to discuss ideas with colleagues from across the country."

Experience with the early Masterclass model has recently led to it being adopted more widely, with directors of education and school inspectors taking ICT Masterclass courses. The early years ICT programme also now includes a Masterclass element, with specialists attending a series of courses based on the Masterclass model.

Scottish Executive funding for phase one of the initiative during 2002-3 was pound;2 million. During phase two, which is about to begin with pound;1.5 million from the Executive, the Masterclass community will be increased by around 50 and additional training in topics suggested by the participants - such as Internet literacy and applications of digital video - will be offered.

SETT

Stuart Robertson of the Scottish Executive Education Department and Marie Dougan of LT Scotland will talk on Masterclass: The National Impact on Thursday at 10.30am

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