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The National Grid for Learning Summary of progress report 2

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The National Grid for Learning Summary of progress report 2

The NGfL Team

Support for the NGfL project is co-ordinated through the New Educational Developments Division of the Scottish Executive Education Department with much of the responsibility for specific developments resting with the NGfL Scotland team. Since their appointment nearly three years ago the team, which is based within LTS, has played a vital role in the development and delivery of the NGfL covering the areas of infrastructure, staff development and educational content. LTS has also appointed a Head of Future Learning and Teaching within the organisation to manage the NGfL team. The team has been further strengthened by the addition of a Principal Development Officer for NGfL, a number of Content Editors and a dedicated administrative staff.

As well as schools and colleges, the NGfL reaches out to communities through community education and through the People's Network in libraries. To support access to the benefits of the National Grid, the NGfL team also co-ordinates the development of a national website for Scottish education and learning ( www.ngflscotland.gov.uk ) and a dedicated information service for all matters relating to the implementation of the NGfL in Scotland.

The Infrastructure role continues to involve promoting and advising all education sectors on the relevant issues relating to the development of ICT infrastructure within their particular areas, and encouraging partnerships and collaboration across these sectors to avoid duplication of effort and funding. Support is also being provided to the Executive and Local Authorities on the rollout of the Scottish Schools Digital Network (SSDN), which has officially been named Spark.

The focus of the Staff Development role has changed from a concentration on the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) training for teachers and school librarians to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and the development of communities of interest supported by online collaborative working environments.

The Communities role is to develop and extend the use of ICT to promote lifelong learning, social inclusion and the enhancement of the school and family learning process. A further aim is to facilitate partnerships and collaboration between individuals and organisations that develop digital content or provide access to technology for the wider community. The dissemination of information and the provision of support and ICT training are vital to this strategy.

The Content role involves ensuring that the NGfL initiative is effective in stimulating and supporting the production and availability of high quality educational content. There has been a shift towards the development of online resources that will enhance learning, although CD multimedia products are still created when that is the most appropriate medium. This role also involves advice, assistance and collaboration with a wide range of providers from different sectors to promote the development of digital content and learning opportunities.

The Web Services role involves managing the effective design, construction and delivery of a range of online resources for learners and practitioners. At the same time the NGfL team works to ensure that the service complies with all relevant national initiatives and policies.

The NGfL Information Service is another role undertaken by the team. It involves the dissemination of information about NGfL progress and the promotion of the initiative across all sectors of education and lifelong learning in Scotland. Communication of relevant information and findings of NGfL events and projects is a key aspect of this role.

Research on the Impact of ICT Initiatives in Scottish Schools

This research project took the form of two national surveys of pupils and teachers. Phase 1 took place in 1998-1999 and provided baseline measures against which future progress can be measured. The main findings were set out in Interchange 63, published by the Scottish Executive in 2000, and available online at www.scotland.gov.uk/library2/doc16/ic63-00.asp .
The second phase considered the extent of the impact of these initiatives two years later.

Phase 2 findings included the following:

  • the use of ICT is increasing both in and out of school;
  • a large majority of pupils and teachers have access to a range of technologies - particularly computers - with most connected to the Internet;
  • the uses of such technologies is fairly varied;
  • technical problems, and inconsistencies across platforms and applications were sources of frustration for pupils and teachers;
  • teachers were frustrated by ICT training which had not kept pace with technological developments;
  • in terms of pupils' ability to use ICT, performance levels had changed little since Phase 1, however; improvements in performance were seen in those aspects of education which supported 'research' i.e. using the World Wide Web and CD-ROMs;
  • there was concern that pupils who do not have access to computers at home may be disadvantaged in comparison with those who do.

A full copy of Phase 2 findings is available at www.scotland.gov.uk/insight