In October I decided to take the bold move, as Leader for ICT, and put the SOICT units of work into my teachers’ hands and see what they do. Give them complete freedom about which they choose to do first. At an ICT Leaders meeting, where we were discussing SOICT, my idea was met with comments such as “How will you make sure they don’t just choose units they can do on Powerpoint?” “What if they get rid of old units which they should be doing and don’t replace them with like-ones?” “All year groups will end up doing the same thing.”
Most other leaders were implementing the full scheme straight away, ditching all other ICT planning, or they were using the units in only one year group at a time to pilot and roll out slowly. They really didn’t like the unpredictability of my method…. however… I didn’t like the idea of going to each of my year groups and telling them what they would be doing. I knew I would be met with opposition and “buts”. I also didn’t want to tell my ICT technicians – who were extremely busy with other jobs, that I needed new software installed and hardware checked for all the new units of work.
So what was my plan to avoid chaos?
I approached my staff at a staff meeting in October, shared with them all the positive aspects of the new SOICT units of work and gave out the packs. I told them that between October and Easter (Aut 2, Spr 1 or Spr 2) they had to choose as a year group one unit of work to complete. I was giving them the freedom to throw out any old unit of work they hated and the children found boring. They had to choose a unit from the new scheme which they felt they could manage, linked with some other learning they were doing and used software which we already had in school – if possible. The initial rumblings around the staff room were positive and eager. So I quickly added that if they enjoyed one unit, they were free to do another!
Of course, this isn’t the end of the story. In January I spoke to them again, reminding them that they had to complete one unit. I also highlighted that we had an enterprise week coming up in March and that some year groups may find a good unit to link to that work. I then sent round a link to a survey monkey questionnaire of 10 questions which evaluated the unit they had completed. You are welcome to view the survey here (please do not submit a reply though!) I told them all that the responses to this survey would inform my next move with the units of work.
So far, compared to all other ICT staff meetings I have done (and there have been many!), I have received a more positive response to SOICT than anything else. Teachers are keen to try something new and are happy to be given the freedom to find their own links to other subjects and be creative. Yes, eventually I will probably adopt the whole scheme of work and may have to do some training for some year groups for some of their more unusual units of work, but until then we are becoming more varied and exciting in our ICT teaching, without me needing to prod everyone and that is a good step forward!