InTuition taster: Learning tech - learners help teachers gain confidence in digital skills

Digital is becoming an integral and important part of many aspects of teaching and learning. However, many teaching staff still don’t feel confident, or have the skills, to make the best use of technology in their work, writes Peter Kilcoyne.

Addressing this gap in skills and confidence is a huge challenge to the sector, especially in times of major changes in the curriculum as well as limited resources for CPD and specialist staff to support the use of digital learning.

Could learners who have skills and confidence in digital technology be part of the solution to these problems by acting as mentors to teaching staff?

This is a question that four collaborative pilot projects funded by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) through the Outstanding Teaching Learning and Assessment (OTLA) programme aims to address. In these pilots, student mentors are working in partnership with teaching staff to develop innovative learning solutions
which will be implanted in the students’ classes.

Two different approaches are emerging in the pilots. The first is that the mentors are learning about existing college technologies (for example, Moodle, Google classroom or Office 365) and supporting teachers in using these. The second involves learners bringing technologies into college that they may use in their everyday lives and exploring how these may benefit teaching and learning.

The pilots finish in April and will be followed by a range of dissemination activities and reports, which it is hoped will lead to effective use of student digital mentors spreading across the FE and work-based learning sectors.

Peter Kilcoyne is Director of Information and Learning Technology at the Heart of Worcestershire College. He is also manager of the Blended Learning Consortium.


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