What is Technology Together all about?
- Whole school development – it doesn’t focus on individual teachers alone, but attempts to help all staff within a school (teachers, support staff and administration) to support each other’s technology learning.
- Creating a climate for learning – it aims to develop a culture within a school which is supportive of teachers’ professional development; one where dialogue between teachers is increased and teachers come together to support each other.
- Acknowledging and accepting change – it helps individuals come to terms with the constant and rapid rate of technological change and encourages all teachers to accept and embrace this change and become independent and confident ICT learners.
- Increasing teachers’ confidence and motivation to use technology – it is founded on the premise that adoption and integration of ICT is influenced by teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, values, motivation, confidence and learning strategies. It focuses as much on these as on development of specific skills.
- Immediate learning outcomes for students – it stimulates teachers to engage in creative and innovative ICT integration activities in their classroom. It works to diversify teachers’ ideas and knowledge about how they might integrate ICT and then to implement their learning in the classroom with immediate outcomes for students.
- Enhancing teachers’ professionalism – the approaches embedded in Technology Together are those advocated and promoted in many professional contexts and by many professional bodies and recognised as enhancing quality teaching.
Technology Together is founded on principles of action learning and is implemented through cycles of planning, acting, observing and reflecting. Schools set aside approximately 12 months, for which ICT and the Technology Together process become a focus in the school.
Technology Together guides schools to identify teachers to play key roles such as leader, facilitator, companion mentor and ICT expert. However, Technology Together is a whole school approach, meaning that ideally all staff in your school (both teaching and support) will be involved, although perhaps in different ways and to different degrees.
Technology Together promotes a culture of staff learning together and is owned and driven by staff within the school. While you may have support and guidance from ‘outsiders’ from a university, another school, an educational district office or an outside organisation, ultimately it will be most successful if the approach is embraced within the school.
A key feature of Technology Together is scaffolding teachers to set themselves technology learning goals. No matter what their current level of knowledge or skill, all school staff can take on new challenges! We use a goal setting structure which engages teachers in setting both ‘big picture’ and immediate goals focused on skills, pedagogy, recreation, metacognition and/or leadership.
What is the metacognitive approach?
Technology Together is founded on the understanding that adoption and integration of ICT by teachers (and students) is greatly influenced by their attitudes, beliefs, values, motivation, confidence and learning strategies. Technology Together therefore employs a metacognitive approach which encourages teachers to ‘think about their thinking’ and ‘learn about their learning’. We believe this develops teachers’ confidence with computers and their willingness to try new integration ideas. It can also have a significant impact on their understanding of how students learn, and how they can support their students to become strong, metacognitively aware learners.
Technology Together is not focused on the use of any particular computer resources. In fact, Technology Together is based on a philosophy of ‘making do with what we have’. It doesn’t matter whether your school is well resourced or not – you can still become a Technology Together school.
The major investment that your school needs to make is in teacher time and enthusiasm. Technology Together presents a wide range of strategies that make make effective and efficient use of whatever time is available, including focused use of staff meetings, fostering collaborative informal learning opportunities and encouraging teachers to learn with, and from, their students in the classroom. That said, it is essential that teachers view the process as valued and supported. Making some release time available is an important way of demonstrating this.
The best place to start is by reading the introductory sections of the Technology Together book. This will explain in much more detail what the process is all about. The book will then guide you through ten steps in planning to implement Technology Together, including:
- Deciding who to involve and when
- Introducing Technology Together to staff
- Considering your ICT vision
- Allocating roles
- Conducting the school analysis
- Facilitating goal setting
- Planning your mentoring strategies
- Managing release time
- Embedding strategies for reflection and discussion
- Planning to showcase and celebrate achievement
Once you decide to implement Technology Together your school can register for access to the Participants’ Zone of this website, which will provide you with access to many resources and the opportunity to use the online staff and student surveys. If you’d like to know more about Technology Together, please do contact us directly (see the contact page).