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MirandaNet Fellowship Profiles (MirandaNet Archive - as of March 2015)
The introduction of the Workforce Reforms 2007 led the Work based Learning Provider I work for to bring all teacher training in-house and as a result the Academy was formed. I was fortunate enough to be one of three tasked with this project. The Academy's first priority was to explore and establish an innovative and cost effective model of delivering Initial Teacher Education and Assessor Awards to internal students across the United Kingdom. Responding to the 2007 Workforce Reforms the Academy proposed a blended learning delivery model for the threshold qualification 'Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector'. The blended learning model involved a mix of face-to-face teacher-to-student contact and teaching remotely via a remote classroom using technology. To support this hybrid model of teaching a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) was designed assessable via a web portal that enables students to access a repository of resources. Contributing to forums, students are able to converse with other students and tutors asynchronously to obtain advice, guidance, share good practice as well as participate in extension activities to reinforce and develop learning in planned sessions. In addition, using specialist software, students also take part in real-time remote virtual classroom sessions on a weekly basis.
Although the model has basically stayed the same the Academy has come a long way since those early days of 2008 including a wide portfolio of qualifications being delivered and growing team of twenty. It has been a steep learning curve for all concerned in particular myself, who prior to this project would never had believed teaching and learning could be so effective without substantial face-to-face time with fellow students and the tutor. My experience over the last four years has seriously challenged my values and beliefs and has completely changed my philosophy of teaching. I have had the opportunity of exploring and investigating in areas such as remote observation of teaching practice and building a culture of a 'can do' attitude. I would like to think I have been instrumental in the development of the Academy's rather unique pedagogical approach to teaching and learning. My involvement in using technology to enhance the learning experience has now led me to explore further the work of others with regards to the cultural and political barriers in addition to variables of self-regulation that might create a tendency for procrastination. I am interested in identifying what if any impact this has on how the student engages with the virtual learning environment. I am currently working on a case study which will enable me to gain a more holistic view as opposed to isolated factors of this particular aspect of the Academy, therefore capturing the complexity of such practice and enabling an in-depth understanding of how JHP students (and teachers/tutors) engage with this modus operandi.>
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