Wednesday, March 05, 2008

TA Training

This video addresses TAS (Teaching assistants) and their experience of ICT. 'The Mouse doesn't bite is a very appropriate title for this film and represents the feeling among many TAS I meet.

In the 2007 NFER survey of Teachers ICT engagement and ICT skills, we read the following:

About two thirds of teachers felt that they have the skills and support to enable
them to use the technology that is available:

So, that means there is one third, who do not feel they have the skills to use the technology that is available. Yet the report has not considered the role or needs of teaching assistants. Many of these people are excellent teachers, in all but name and can assist teachers in working with groups of children through the medium of technology, though because of a lack of skills, technophobia or at worst lack of access their input will be through the means of paper based activities.

What a shame and what a missed opportunity when there are so many easy to use tools available for both IWB and computer based learning. For example: Education City, Clicker 5 , Maths Packs , 2 Simple Software ( and the list goes on)

There is also the support that TAs can provide in terms of easing the administrative burden of admin tasks, remember those 21 tasks that were set out in the National Agreement in 2003, with the view to easing the pressures on teachers, these should be designated to someone other than the teacher, clearly some of these tasks will be taken on by a bursar or office staff, though those in the list below could be carried out by a TA with a good level of ICT competence and skill.
Extract from the list of 21 Tasks, further details from Teachernet here

  • Typing or making word-processed versions of manuscript material and producing revisions of such versions.

  • Word-processing, copying and distributing bulk communications, including standard letters, to parents and pupils.

  • Producing class lists on the basis of information provided by teachers (teachers may need to be involved in allocating pupils to particular classes).

  • Preparing, setting up and taking down classroom displays (teachers will still make decisions about what material should be displayed in their classrooms).

  • Ordering, setting up and maintaining ICT equipment and software.


Within the video above, we see some of the above but alongside this the TA also:

  • Using relevant software to support a child with special needs
  • Training other TAs to create banners for display
  • Researching websites for teachers and TAs to use in their lesson
  • Using the IWB to teach

In Redbridge we are looking to design a long course for TAs, and I think the last four bulleted items seem to me to be the most exciting areas to focus on.

As ever I'd be grateful for any thoughts, criticism or feedback in general.


Linda H said...

Hi Anthony,
Interesting post. I'm doing a one day Supporting with ICT in School workshop for my current batch of trainee TAs next month. Maybe we should put our heads together. I'll be putting the resources and my teaching materials on the usefulwiki Teaching Assistants area.

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