In terms of pre-service training, research cited (2001, p.33) suggests that the best models integrate the use of ICT across courses rather than teaching them separately. But again, the problem of a lack of connection between pre-service education and school systems and a lack of valid and meaningful examples of ICT in school classrooms, again emphasises the importance of people in the equation and the need for apprenticeship type models of pre-service training. The authors however, point out that there is little evidence that this apprenticeship approach is commonly employed in systems worldwide (2001, p.49).
In terms of ICT PD, one-off courses for teachers such as TILT, have been shown to be ineffective in several studies but still these methods persist (2001, p.51). It is pointed out that alternatives such as Personal Learning Communities are difficult to sustain and work best at the local level. This again supports the assertion that ICT mentors or coaches need to work within schools and support learning communities operating at a school level. The mentor model can meet all of the requirements dictated by this research (2001, p.58):
- Experiential, engaging teachers in concrete tasks
- Grounded in inquiry, reflection
- Collaborative and Interactional with a focus on shared knowledge among educators and a focus on teachers' communities of practice.
- Connected to and derived from teachers' work with their students
- Sustained, ongoing and intensive, supported by modelling coaching and collective problem solving around specific problems of practice.
- Connected to other aspects of school change integrated with a comprehensive change process.
A system of pre-service apprenticeships with trainees spending 3 days a week in classrooms and 2 days in teacher education courses with student teachers employed as teachers' aids, but with rights to monitor classes, would support recommendations made by this report (2001, p.81) and allow teachers more:
- Opportunities to reflect on their own practice through their modelling to student teachers
- Time away from the classroom to engage in reflection.
- Support for increasing adult to child ratios in the classroom.
- Opportunities to meet with peers during the working week for the purpose of sharing ideas and solving problems.
Toni Downes; Andrew Fluck; Pam Gibbons; Ralph Leonard; and others, (2001) Making better connections: models of teacher professional development for the integration of information and communication technology into classroom practice. Available at: http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/school_education/publications_resources/profiles/making_better_connections.htm#authors [Accessed June 16, 2010].