Your head teacher may well have received information from Becta and the NEN (National Education Network) about the opportunity to bid for funding to create digital online learning resources. The project will fund 30-50 schools to create and share resources, with each school receiving grants of up to £25,000. In their words:
The Government’s e-strategy (Harnessing Technology) identified the practice of teachers using and sharing digital learning resources as providing an important way of improving outcomes and benefits for learners as well as producing greater efficiency, effectiveness and value for money across the system. The aim of this programme ‘Repurpose, Create and Share’ is to build capacity, knowledge and skills around the embedding of digital resources into learning and teaching materials for the benefit of learning outcomes.
Or, in my words, provide some funding for your school to create some digital resources for your teachers, and others. One of the success factors I have seen in schools making good use of learning platforms is that they have a sense of ownership of the teaching materials they use. In the Shireland Learning Gateway, Shireland Collegiate Academy have invested in a content development team, who the teachers can use to create great digital resources – using skills that most teachers don’t have. However, it is the teachers (in Shireland and their partner schools) that define the learning outcomes, the ways of teaching etc, and then they hand over their notes, lesson plans etc to the content team to create the digital resources.
This funding stream seems like a great opportunity for other schools to invest the money in something similar – where your teachers can define the resources they need, and you can then fund the creation of the digital content. The money can pay for teacher release, as well as expertise in content development, technical support etc.
More details on the scheme are on the National Education Network page, with a longer PDF document explaining all of the details. Hurry though – the deadline is less than 3 weeks away, on the 22nd February.
(It made me smile when I read that Becta are asking that the projects “show genuine innovation in use of digital resources, learning design, learner engagement and subject/curriculum coverage”. You might want to read this story before deciding how innovative you want to be!)