Catalysed's CATALYST Programme is designed to align your needs as an educator with the affordance of digital technologies. According to the best available research this has the potential to create a four month improvement in learning gains .
The first module of the programme, Analyse, helps a school understand their current level of digital readiness, both as a school and as individual educators, in order to ensure that there are no barriers to effective technology integration.
What are the benefits?
The Analyse module is a diagnosis of where a particular school stands in terms of their use of digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning. This combines a practical assessment of physical ICT, the use of surveys to ascertain the level of digital literacy of staff and students, and an analysis of existing policies and practices and how these support the use of ICT. Completing this module will produce for you a detailed report on your schools digital readiness, allowing you to make an informed choice for developing your digital infrastructure.
How does it work in practice: School X's story
School X thought they were doing relatively well with their use of digital technologies in teaching and learning, and had several great examples of teachers making effective use of them to support teaching and learning. However, they were concerned that this use appeared to be in pockets, rather than school wide.
They decided to run the Survey of Pedagogical Digital Needs to clarify their position, using their own staff to do so in order to keep costs down, and spent the next 3 weeks running short interviews with key stakeholders to gather the data.
The report from Catalysed showed that they were strong on E-safety and had good commitment from senior staff, but highlighted two issues that needed further work. Firstly it transpired that their wireless infrastructure wasn't providing enough data for their students, so digital technologies that required students to use mobile devices usually failed. Secondly it showed that although their policies were good and up to date, not enough staff knew about them, so they were confused about what they could and could not do with digital technologies in the classroom.
Two levels of analysis: School and individual
Making digital technologies work effectively for you in education is not a trivial matter. Although research has shown that teachers are keen to make the most of digital technologies in the classroom, they often encounter too many barriers, such as lack of support from senior management, lack of access to resources, or poor infrastructure.
"Teachers have a strong desire for the integration of ICT into education but they encountered many barriers to it."
Typical problems include outdated or ineffective hardware, confusing and conflicting policies and practices, or disengaged and technophobic staff. Catalysed is aware of the many potential pitfalls, and hence has multiple tools which is can bring to bear in order to surface these issues, and hence deal with them effectively.
Based on extensive research about what type of barriers a school might encounter, and how these are interrelated, Catalysed has developed a "Hierarchy of Pedagogical Digital Needs" to identify all potential barriers to effective use of digital technologies. This hierarchy ensures that foundational needs such as reliable wifi and e-safety are met before attempting to move to more complex and powerful use of technologies to enhance learning.
This hierarchy has been translated into a Survey of Pedagogical Digital Needs that can be used either independently by a school, or in partnership with Catalysed, in order to surface barriers at multiple levels of the hierarchy.
The Hierarchy of Pedagogical Digital Needs is designed to surface school wide issues, but it cannot help identify individual attitudes - and there is strong evidence to suggest individual attitudes are the hinge point upon which effective use of digital technologies rests.
In order to find out how well individual teachers understand how to use digital technologies effectively to support teaching and learning Catalysed has developed a free online quiz: The TPK Quiz, which is short for the Technological Pedagogical Knowledge Quiz. This is based on the TPACK framework , a proven approach to understanding an individuals pedagogical digital competence. Results from the TPK quiz can be overlaid onto individual AIM models, providing a baseline from which to plan for development.
In addition Catalysed can also bring to bear the TeLRA, or Test of e-Learning Related Attitudes (TeLRA) survey. Another product of academic research in this field, the TeLRA can reveal individual attitudes to e-learning against four themes, helping to identify areas of strength and challenge.