Appukuttan, Shailesh and Robinson, Denise (2008) ASSOCiate Online: embedding ICT skills and collaborative learning into the teacher training curriculum and Continuing Professional Development for the Lifelong Learning Sector. In: ALT-C 2008, the 15th International Conference of the Association for Learning Technology: Rethinking the Digital Divide, 9th - 11th September 2008, Leeds, UK. (Unpublished)

The challenges of incorporating ICT and subject specialist skill development into initial teacher training in the Lifelong Learning Sector (LLS) in an effective way that links into work-context, is one that has been addressed in government policy (e.g. Equipping Our Teachers for the Future, DfES, 2004) and inspection reports (Ofsted, 2003). Teachers in this sector are close to those who are part of the digital divide and thus the impact of such teachers has a considerable multiplier effect. ASSOCiate Online develops in an interactive and engaging manner, the skills and strategies that trainee teachers need to teacher their subject.

The session explores the importance of preparing today’s teachers by incorporating and applying ICT skills within the curriculum and enabling them to engage with their peers and future students to reduce the digital divide between digital immigrants and digital natives (Marc Prensky 2001). The activities will demonstrate cross sector/institutional collaboration among practitioners and trainees in developing pedagogies appropriate to their subject specialist knowledge and application (e.g. find appropriate buddy/mentor). The session proceeds to evaluation of curriculum models and implementation into teaching and learning with a blended learning example, and then considers the relevance to Continuing Professional Development.

The workshop starts with a short presentation about the background of ASSOCiate Online project, the development of the OurSubject Moodle VLE and how this contributes to the amelioration of the digital divide. Participants will then login and enrol to a specialism as a trainee and add their specialism profile, before they 'find a buddy' who matches their NQF Level and sub-specialism but from a different Lifelong Learning Sector. Participants can then send a message, engage in discussions and have some time to explore other features of the system. Participants will then evaluate their experience and consider the requirement for preparing teachers for the future. The session will then look at proposed curriculum model examples and how they might be incorporated into teaching and learning and CPD which will be followed by a summary and evaluation.

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