CM March 8, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 21

Canadian Professional Development Programs in K-12 Telecommunications

New Discussion for ONLINEED list

Across Canada, K-12 teachers are being supported in using telecommunications through a wide variety of professional development programs. I believe that educators across the country stand to benefit from better knowledge of what is being done. To this end, during the month of March I invite you to use this list to share information on p.d. programs in telecommunications. Guidelines and a brief description of the SchoolNet Support Teachers Pilot Project follow.

In parallel with this discussion, I am conducting a study for Industry Canada's SchoolNet, to determine the nature of training in the educational use of telecommunications. All data for this study will be gathered this month. This note contains an invitation to contribute to that study beyond what is posted to this list.

A summary of the contributions will be posted at the end of March and details will be published on the Web.

Invitation to join ONLINEED

This note has been cross-posted to several lists other than ONLINEED. Please forward the note to anyone you think might wish to contribute. If you are not an ONLINEED subscriber and wish to participate in the discussion on this topic, please send a message to

with the message

subscribe onlineed

for example

subscribe onlineed Bill Egnatoff

Discussion Guide--Professional Development Programs in K-12 Telecommunications

This list was created to discuss the establishment of a national certificate for teachers in the educational use of information technology. I would now like to invite subscribers to share information about existing programs of professional development. The emphasis this month is on Canadian programs, but contributions from other countries are most welcome. I would also invite comments on how we might benefit from compiling this information. Here is a suggested outline for contributions to the list:

  1. Name (or capsule description) of program
  2. Organizers, partners, sponsors (boards, individual schools, ministry, faculties, other agencies, business)
  3. Purpose (aim, outcomes)
  4. Organization (who's doing what, where for whom, how, how long)
  5. Scope (contents, activities)
  6. Impact, Sustainability (how its working)
  7. Assessment and Evaluation (mechanisms for finding out what teachers are learning and how well the program is working)
  8. Funding (special sources, main budget, volunteer contributions)

An example: The SchoolNet Support Teachers Pilot Program

The SchoolNet Support Teachers Pilot Project employs new teachers to provide in-school support in the use of telecommunications in education. The project is sponsored jointly by six school boards, four anglophone and two francophone, and Industry Canada's SchoolNet. PARTNERS, a partnership organization, is responsible for management and coordination. Queen's University contributed to the design of the project and is conducting an evaluation study for SchoolNet. One newly qualified teacher is under contract to work in each of the six boards.

The SchoolNet Support Teachers Pilot Project began in September, 1995 and is now entering a phase of evaluation, extension, and interconnection with related work across Canada. Originally slated for four months, it was extended by mutual agreement of Industry Canada and the boards, once the benefits and the need to continue were clear. The project runs until the end of June 1996. Reports on the first phase (Sept.-Dec.) are in preparation and will be submitted this March.

The project was planned in close consultation with board directors and superintendents. The detailed work of the SchoolNet Support Teachers was planned by the board computer coordinators and the Support Teachers. The Support Teachers meet every two or three weeks with coordinators and researchers to report on progress, to share resources, and to organize collaborative activities. The Support Teachers submit monthly reports on their work to the coordinators, researchers, and each other, which contributes to the evaluation study and gives them a clear picture of their accomplishments.

The SchoolNet Support Teachers are effective, welcomed, and entrepreneurial. They have identified needs and garnered resources, developed teaching and learning materials, offered workshops and tutorials, worked directly in classrooms, and provided detailed reports to the research team. They have built awareness in and beyond schools, developed commitment, and initiated long-term planning to sustain what they have begun.

Depending on the needs of their boards, the Support Teachers have: created an inventory of board resources, teacher experience, and need; developed acceptable use policies; conducted hands-on workshops orienting teachers to Internet and SchoolNet resources and services; developed Internet guides for teachers; created or supported the creation of Web pages; collected resources on the Internet for school use; assisted with the installation of hardware and software (to help meet board deadlines); helped technical support staff understand the needs of teachers; worked with teacher-librarians to prepare them to help their colleagues; worked alongside teachers in their classrooms to integrate telecommunications into the curriculum; supported the establishment of telecommunications-based curriculum projects; spoken about their work to groups of parents, principals, superintendents, directors, trustees and the SchoolNet National Advisory Board; and conducted television and newspaper interviews on their work. In all this work, the focus has been on what the SchoolNet Support Teachers can contribute as qualified teachers towards the ongoing work of teachers in the schools and towards the sustainable development of the use of telecommunications in education.

In the second phase of project (Jan.-June 1996), the support teachers are not only continuing the work begun, with greater emphasis being placed on curricular projects, but are also providing a wide range of consultative services to SchoolNet. These services include representing SchoolNet at conferences and other meetings, contributing to the development and evaluation of SchoolNet resources and services, and confering with people involved in related projects such as one now underway in Alberta.

The evaluation of the second phase includes a study of related programs across the country (to guide the establishment of linkages), a more detailed assessment of the direct benefit to teachers of the work of the Support Teachers, a compendium of the work of the SSTs including teaching resources, policies, and procedures, and an examination of the sustainability of the work begun.

The project team submitted two proposals (panel & talk) to the Education stream of the INET'96 conference (June, Montreal).

Invitation to participate in the parallel study

If you would be willing to contribute to the study that I am conducting this month, please contact me directly (see signature below).

Do you have documents that you could submit?

Would you be willing to participate in a telephone interview?

Could you provide details of a program (beyond what you might submit to this list) by email or other electronic means?

I look forward to your contributions.

Dr. William J. Egnatoff, Assistant Professor, Computers In Education
Faculty of Education Queen's University at Kingston
Kingston, Ontario Canada K7L 3N6
Tel.: (613) 545-6000-1-7290 Fax (613) 545-6584