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Review looks set to end the successful ICT PD cluster programme

Ministry reveals that new PD initiatives are “likely” to supercede clusters in the next year.

The Ministry of Education has announced it’s reviewing the future of the ICT PD cluster programme. And the very success of the initiative – which has involved 25,000 teachers and 67 per cent of New Zealand schools in the last 10 years – looks likely to prove its eventual demise.

“The maturity of the project leads us to ask the question as to whether clusters are now the best vehicle for supporting the development of e-learning in New Zealand,” said Neil Melhuish, the Ministry’s Project leader: e-Learning Capability. “For example, it does not support clusters that left the programme several years ago, but which have ongoing professional development needs.”
As well as considering the effectiveness of the ICT PD cluster programme, the review will explore other options for increasing teacher skills and knowledge.
It’s part of a wider Ministry investigation that’s also looking at teachers’ professional development in the ‘Gifted and Talented’ and ‘Future Focused’ (including sustainability) areas.
“It’s important to emphasise that this does not affect existing clusters or those entering in 2009, and that it does not mean the end of collaboration and clustering of schools,” added Melhuish. “Also the current projected level of funding for ICT PD activities is unchanged.
“The review simply aims to ensure the best use of resources for improving teacher skills and student outcomes. This means it’s likely that over the next year new PD initiatives will emerge that build on the legacy of the ICT PD programme.”
© INTERFACE Magazine, October 2008

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