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Teachers' International Professional Development


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The Teachers' International Professional Development (TIPD) programme was introduced by DfES in May 2000. The programme provides opportunities for teachers in England to develop their teaching skills by experiencing best practice in a number of key themes through short-term international study visits. Such visits also aim to create valuable international links between schools, facilitating international school partnerships and the sharing of information on a global level. TIPD will provide 2500 places per year between 2000 and 2006 and the programme is delivered for DfES by 3 providers: the British Council Education and Training Group, the League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers, and the Specialist Schools Trust. Each Local Education Authority (LEA) in England has its own allocation of places.

http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/professionald...ent/whatistipd/

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I visited Atlanta Georgia as part of the pilot scheme for this initiative . It was an exceptionally well organised and interesting trip and I would recommend similar visits to anyone. It may be down to individual schools how well these trips are advertised in the staff room so you may have to make your own enquiries. Don't be put off by the fact that these visits always seem to take place during Half Term holidays . It's worth it .

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I visited Melbourne as part of this scheme - a really revealing and interesting visit. I learned a great deal about the potential of ICT in schools following our visits to Victoria's Navigator schools but was a little disppointed that no lasting contacts, projects or links were able to be established.

On my return I tried my hand at putting together a Website for participants.

Like Anne I can recommend the scheme most highly. :P

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The above posting from Andy matches my own experience . Staff in the schools I visited could not do enough for us but in spite of enormous enthusiasm on both sides no lasting contacts were made. I would very much like to have returned some of the hospitality I received but life in schools moves on at a fast pace.

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The above posting from Andy matches my own experience . Staff in the schools I visited could not do enough for us but in spite of enormous enthusiasm on both sides no lasting contacts were made. I would very much like to have returned some of the hospitality I received but life in schools moves on at a fast pace.

Agreed on all points.

It would have certainly been good to have had a forum like this in which to share ideas and experiences and develop projects following our visit.

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  • 4 weeks later...

John I can't seem to access the site from that link - it might just be having technical difficulties right now, but could you check the address?

Cheers!

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It is working at the moment. However, the TeacherNet website does appear to go down a lot. Not an uncommon problem for government sites. They all take ages to load. Although I have broadband I find some government backed sites like Becta's very frustrating to use. Does anyone know why this is?

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It is working at the moment. However, the TeacherNet website does appear to go down a lot. Not an uncommon problem for government sites. They all take ages to load. Although I have broadband I find some government backed sites like Becta's very frustrating to use. Does anyone know why this is?

I have broadband access too and I have experienced the same problems. Government sites and government agency sites in the UK are the worst offenders for constantly reorganising the structure of their sites and failing to indicate where important documents have moved to. BECTA, the TTA, the DfES, the NGfL and Curriculum Online wesites are labyrinthine. I manage two websites that contain many links to pages at all these sites - some useful stuff there - but when I do my monthly link check I keep getting "page not found" and "time out" errors when trying to access them. Government and government agency sites often go down at weekends - I guess this may be due to site maintenance. Whoever is responsible for managing these sites does not appear to realise how frustrating this is and that it is a guaranteed way of convincing novices that the Web is an inconvenience rather than a blessing.

Imagine what would happen if a library were organised in this way, with librarians constantly creating new reference numbers and reshelving the books!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Andrew Moore

The BBC is joined up. It has many sub-sites, but all show the common logo and use a common design format.

The UK government and its agencies are not at all joined up. So each department or agency has its own sites from one or more different publishers, and on servers all over the place, many of which are not up to the job.

It's good to have distinct personalities and themes (but then so do CBBC and The Asian Network, yet both clearly belong to the same parent organization).

The problem (not unlike what happens with LEAs) is that those with the power to make decisions do not know enough to ask for the right thing. That's not really an excuse for Becta - and technically the Becta Web site is quite coherent and usable. (The problem in this case is that its advice-giving role means that Becta cannot identify specific things as good, but rather asks the right questions and leaves the user to find his or her own answers.) Becta has been guilty of distributing information in PDF files, but locking them to stop the end user from copying the text - which is pretty dumb, since the user typically wants to quote the documents.

The sites go down because the servers cannot cope with the traffic at weekends, when teachers have time to visit them. The BBC has more bandwidth for its visitors. We could solve this with local mirrors.

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Guest Andrew Moore

The original National Curriculum site had the whole of each subject at a key stage on a single page - so you could get all the text at one go, and save it locally.

The silly people who think we can cope only with a few words on any one page have now broken it into little pieces - this makes it incoherent and barely usable by a teacher who wants to get at the whole programme of study.

So now it looks much prettier and less threatening. But is is much less useful.

Did they ask teachers before making the change? I doubt it. Or maybe they asked the teachers who never use the Web.

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The silly people who think we can cope only with a few words on any one page have now broken it into little pieces - this makes it incoherent and barely usable by a teacher who wants to get at the whole programme of study.

So now it looks much prettier and less threatening. But is is much less useful.

I absolutely agree! I have often quoted Web guru Jakob Nielsen, who points to research indicating that we read 25%-30% more slowly from the computer screen than from the printed page - and this figure of 25%-30% is confirmed by a number of independent studies.

While it is a good idea to present Web material in small chunks, with more white space than on the printed page, it very annoying having to skip from page to page in order to read a whole document. The sensible thing to do is to produce two versions, one to be read online and a downloadable version in Word DOC or PDF format that can be printed and read offline. When we started designing the ICT4LT website we aimed to do something like this, but we did not have the resources to produce two versions - and updating them. So we have settled on an online version that is annoying insofar as you have to keep scrolling up and down in order to read it but, as we say on our homepage, it's not a good idea to read large chunks of text from the screen and we advise people to print out anything that they wish to read in comfort. Consequently, all the ICT4LT pages can be printed as they are.

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