I’ve noticed some real growth in the responses in the discussion forum. This is in contrast to the first course, in which the content didn’t leave room for the kind of growth I would see as important. Where the first part of IICT was more concerned with some very operational skills in terms of antiquated technology and tools (Smartboards, Microsoft Word 97, etc) this course has dealt more with emerging web 2.0 technology, and has allowed for an elevated conversation in the discussion forums regarding how to effectively integrate technology into teaching practice, rather than merely learning the how-to aspects of traditional technology.
The components on blogging were particularly relevant to my current sensibilities around getting students sharing their work, having them see themselves as authors with an authentic audience, and availing themselves to feedback from their peers. It is also a great way for teachers to connect their classrooms to both the parent community, and the outside world : allowing parents to become partners in the learning, and helping to create a professional learning network who has the ability to see into the classroom.
I think that the strategic planning components were also of interest. If the purpose for “students” who emerge with a specialist in the IICT AQ is merely to effect their own practice, then this component may be seen as a bit off course: the teachers who take this course may not be in a position to effectively promote change within their schools; but this type of reflection, even if it is impossible for the course graduate to implement, is important for understanding the type of changes that are necessary at a school level in order to understand how to effect changes at the classroom level. My hope is that the results of these strategic plans filter to the administration at the school, who is better equipped to make these visions (or components of them) a reality for the school. As a teacher who found ways to do it on my own, with a blend of free computers that required constant maintenance that was not provided by the school or the board, I know that this model is not sustainable, and can lead to frustration. A teacher on their own in a school can be a good start; but if the vision is not there to strategically leverage that expertise, and share that enthusiasm with staff, you won’t affect change.