In using the framework to make judgements about the use of technology Colleges will also be able to measure their level of ‘e-maturity’. Becta are hoping that all Colleges, if they have not already done so, will be able to make progress to reach a ‘performing’ level of e-maturity, which is just short of outstanding.
During the morning session attendees flagged up their level of e-maturity across two spectrums, one for ILT maturity and the other for systems integration.
On viewing the criteria I assessed the College’s level of e-maturity and level of systems integration as outstanding.
The image below, taken by a colleague during the session, indicates where on the two spectrums attendees benchmarked the performance of their Colleges. South East Essex College's flag is yellow. The red flag indicates the national average amongst Colleges and other providers.
(Image courtesy of lizthebiz)
Pencil lines faintly visible bottom left in the ILT spectrum at the top of the image indicate additions I made to the criteria for the level of ILT maturity. Given the changes to the Common Inspection Framework announced in March this year my colleagues agreed that the use of technology to promote and encourage the Learner Voice will need to be central in every College's ILT strategy.
In sharing our experiences I described how during the past 10 years South East Essex College has made a strong commitment to using technology to support learning and business processes. I explained further that technology now lies at the heart of the functioning of the College and with respect to ILT there has been no need to speak of 'e-learning', no need to adopt ILT 'champions', no need to issue ILT 'strategies' to encourage staff and students to use intranet-bases systems and services.
A strong theme that emerged during our discussions was the role of the learner in the effective use of technology. Students now attend Colleges with a range of expectations and needs that did not exist just 5 years ago. With new and emerging technologies more and more students are expecting to use a range of technologies to underpin and support their time at College.
Our students are becoming avid uses of College based web services; as I write this there have been over 200 posts in the student forums this morning discussing a range of issues such as swine flu and what to do for their end of year prom. The Forums are not just used by students. Information Systems have this morning launched a trial of a new student email system and are using the forum as a platform to ask students to volunteer for the trial and receive student feedback on the system.
At the end of the workshop it became clear that benchmarking against a framework to measure a College's use of ILT is only part of the story. Ironically, my assessment of the college's standing with respect of ILT only highlighted the work that still needs to be done. It is now clear and will remain the case in the foreseeable future student engagement with the College's systems will be the final arbiter in any use of technology to support teaching and learning.
Students who attend South East Essex College access their course plans and schemes of work anytime, anywhere, they can search over 2 million pages on our College intranet, they can complete their ILPs online, use resources that have been deposited in our Learning Resources Pool, they can communicate with others using forums, email their tutors and they can plug their own devices into our wireless network. The final challenge though is that a College's use of technology will only be effective if it directly meets the needs and aspirations of students.