Dave Smith, ICT Adviser for Havering School Improvement Services reflects on the launch of the ICT Mark Network.
Networking is the new CPD, sharing ideas for free and inspiring others need not cost. The ICT Mark Network is a great new initiative from Naace and the organisers of Bett that provides financial and other support to help you to set-up a group of your own.
On Thursday 18th October 2012 I attended one of the ICT Mark Network launch events in London. With the participation of schools, local authorities and ICT Mark assessors, the event had a real buzz about it as Jan Webb of Naace and Joe Willcox of Bett Show organisers i2i Events Group explained the benefits of how to get started.
The ICT Mark Network provides a way for ICT Mark accredited schools to work with those aspiring to become ICT Mark accredited to share best practice in ICT. Additionally, the Network acts as a way to get more schools involved in the Self-Review Framework, applying for the ICT Mark and attending the Bett Show.
In austere times there are not many initiatives providing schools with start-up funds to help set-up a CPD network. The ICT Mark Network even has the benefit of a dedicated Network Co-ordinator to support you in getting started.
It really is simple…
1. Sign-up as an ICT Mark Champion
2. Plan a launch event in your school
3. Invite local schools to your event – a list of schools will be provided, as well as support telephoning schools and providing promotional materials
4. You can even get financial support for your event to help cover refreshments!
5. Sign-up your Group Members
6. Encourage continued networking and learning – with some great ideas for this provided by the ICT Mark Network Co-ordinator
7. Plan a group trip to Bett – again there is funding to help!
This was one of the best events I had attended in ages. The attendees discussed ways in which they could share best practice – sharing specialisms, such as the use of tablet devices, learning platforms, open-source tools etc. There was excitement around the sharing of ideas across a wider geographical area, helping to plug the gaps in local authorities where there is no-longer organised school improvement services to host networks.
Joe went on to explain how there is going to be a dedicated area at Bett 2013 for ICT Mark Network members to share ideas and help signpost the exciting seminars and other free CPD events to further enhance whole-school improvement through ICT.
These groups will provide an important focal point for the sharing of ideas and the encouragement of schools to become ICT Mark accredited. Currently there are around 1200 schools with the ICT Mark. The ICT Mark Network can only help to ensure that more schools are accredited. For me that is a positive thing, as this can only serve to have a positive impact on pupil outcomes.
So there it is then. Now is the time to sign-up to the ICT Mark Network. Learn from everyone, share ideas and even receive support to get started. It truly is a great initiative.
For more details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Smith is ICT Adviser for Havering School Improvement Services. You can find him on Twitter @davesmithict and @haveringict, or via email email@example.com.
Visit the ICT in Havering Blog www.haveringict.edublogs.org
The next ICT Mark Network events are taking place in November:
Telford Venue: Southall School, Rowan Avenue, Dawley, Telford TF4 3PX
Date: Thursday 1st November 2012
Time: 4.00 – 5.15pm
Shropshire Venue: Woodfield Infant School, Woodfield Road, Copthorne, Shrewsbury, SY3 8LU
Tel: 01743 343812
Date: Thursday 15th November 2012
Times: 4.00 – 5.15pm
Up to three delegates are invited per school. For more information or to book a place, contact Richard Smith, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 07527 464322.