Microsoft Innovative Educator Programme

Fionna Mortimer
11th April 2021

The Covid 19 situation in 2020 highlighted the need for everyone to be able to use digital technology efficiently. The fact that a great deal of teaching can be effectively undertaken remotely using digital tools amplified the need to look closely at the skills of the team and identify gaps in digital skills then to identify areas of improvement. I needed to initiate a way of each staff member to easily analyse their skill level and agree a suitable action plan for CPD to enhance and expand their competence in digital practices in order that they do not fall behind in their teaching skills.

Targeted Audience

The departmental staff

Resource effectiveness in solving the identified problem

The Microsoft Innovative Educator Programme was an ideal resource for our department on a number of levels, it provided good quality, informative information in a stylish, easy to use format which could be adapted to suit the wide variety of base level skills withing the department. It also had the added benefit that it was free so I did not need to gain college approval for courses. The staff agreed a pathway and the course content from a vast array of choices, they could complete in short periods and did not have to commit to a prolonged training programme therefore their teaching was not affected. All staff were targeted to complete at least the Microsoft Innovative Educator badge which was gained after 2 hours of training but many have completed much more. They enjoyed the training and found that they could apply the newly acquired knowledge immediately. We added a section at the team meeting to discuss the courses and to share which they found to be most useful. It has been invaluable and I highly recommend this to other managers. UPDATE BASED ON FEEDBACK Each of the staff had very different start points as some are IT teachers, some are young and therefore adapt to digital technology quickly, some still need to get used to using the digital technology so need patience and practise. I found that the Microsoft Innovative site had such a variety of courses which although signpost to their own products also offer excellent insight into the pedagogy of using digital technology, software and devices. It was important to individualise the plan for each member of staff. We used the 1:1 process to look at the survey they carried out and we agreed the plan of courses which they felt would be of most benefit. For example there was a new teacher who decided they wanted to take the The Student Teacher Education Program which went from digital citizenship to the full 21st Century learning design which was created in collaboration with Partnerships of 21st Century Learning so was far more in-depth. At the other end of the scale it was vital that those who were not confident with their own skills upgraded them as well as learn how to adapt the learning environment for their learners. Therefore some commenced with the Dyslexia awareness course which was created in partnership with Made By Dyslexia, Presentation design 101 to enhance the resources being created and Getting started Digital classroom plus for some we added continue the learning with Office 365 and OneNote. The reason I decided to adopt this resource is that the college subscribes to Office 365 therefore these are the tools that the staff and learners will predominately use. My intention is to move forward in the future to use the Adobe training and for some staff this will be part of their 1:1 plans at the latter end of this academic year and into 21/22. Due to the college commitment to add the EDTEch badges to the mandatory training of staff half way through the year it seemed unfair to add yet more digital training at this point. I always try to test and complete the training before i allocate to staff so am working my way through the EdTEch and the Adobe training at the moment. I have found the accessibility area of great interest and am actively implementing as much if this as possible into the preparation of resources when working with staff across the whole department. From my own 1:1s I can see that the activities that I am carrying out with the staff are being looked at by my line manager with a view to encouraging others to follow the plan.

Use, impact and benefits seen from learners

The resource itself is directly for staff however the impact of the learning gained has been used directly with the learners as I have seen staff use the translate tool, the dictate tool, the learning tools on OneNote Classroom as well as noticed that they have adapted the accessibility using the Windows 10 features for various learners. The skills have been shared with the learners so that they can then use these tools in their work and home life. In addition, I have seen the sharing of good practise across the department with animated discussions on the way in which to adapt and utilise features which they had previously not known existed. I expect to see that the learners a better-quality environment to work in which reduces barriers to engagement therefore we should get less anxiety about completing the course and higher retention rate.

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