Laptops for Teachers: An evaluation of the TELA scheme in schools (Years 1 to 3)

Publication Details

The purpose of this evaluation was to investigate the impacts of the Laptops for Teachers Scheme (TELA) on Years 1 to 3 teachers’ work in the Waikato region.

Author(s): Bronwen Cowie, Alister Jones and Ann Harlow, with Mike Forret, University of Waikato.

Date Published: July 2010

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Section 5: Incentives

To reform their practice in ways that are consistent with the 'spirit' of reforms, most teachers would have to learn new notions about teaching, learning and subject-matter, however, teacher learning is influenced not only by the opportunities that are available for learning but also the personal resources of the teacher, including their prior knowledge, dispositions and beliefs (Spillane, 1999). This evaluation sought teachers' opinions about the factors that had influenced them to integrate ICT into their work.

The incentives for teachers to integrate the use of ICT included the exclusive use of a TELA laptop computer as a result of the Ministry initiative, and if the school took up the opportunity to participate in the ICT PD cluster scheme, teachers were able to be involved in extended professional learning alongside other teachers from their own and other schools. Other Government policies/professional development initiatives appeared to act as an incentive for teachers to use their laptops although it was difficult on account of the number of initiatives a school was involved in. Within schools, there were certain laptop uses expected of teachers, in particular the use of electronic data and administrative tasks such as report writing. There was usually some form of formal professional development for teachers to learn about electronic administrative tasks, and these tasks often led to laptop use in the classroom by teachers but this relied heavily on the school providing teachers with access to a reliable technological infrastructure. It was active leadership that encouraged a collaborative culture in a school for teachers to share effective strategies and techniques that was said to be most effective in leading to the integration of laptops into teachers' professional lives.

Alignment of Government policies

Teacher commentary highlighted that schools and teachers do not respond to policies in isolation. In New Zealand, the Ministry of Education provided opportunities for schools and teachers to be involved in several initiatives over the period of the TELA evaluation (2002-2008). Teachers described their involvement in AtoL, ICT PD, Literacy, NumPA, e-Learning and Inquiry Learning to name a few. The e-Learning strategy states that teachers 'must be supported in developing and enhancing their own ICT knowledge and skills, through professional learning and consistent ongoing support across the education sector' (Ministry of Education, 2006, p.10), but sometimes ICT and investment in supportive school infrastructure was not considered to be a priority in schools so teachers found they could not use their laptops effectively in the classroom, or were unable to connect to the school network at home to continue their work after school.

ICT PD clusters

The ICT PD model involves schools clustering together to either share expertise and/or to meet together with an expert who leads teachers from all the cluster schools in a new learning about ICT use. Around two-fifths (41%) of Years 1 to 3 teachers were receiving ICT PD cluster training in the final year of the TELA evaluation. The focus group teachers who were mainly from small schools indicated the possibilities for collaboration and learning were greatly enhanced when schools clustered together to share 'what works' and to explore innovative ways to solve problems. Those primary teachers who had been in an ICT PD cluster group were very appreciative of the support of their ICT PD facilitator, liked the hands-on practical ideas, valued visiting other schools in the cluster and had used the laptop to collaborate with teachers from other schools, with some continuing to do this with teachers in their syndicate.

"ICT PD cluster meetings [were useful] because they gave teachers a chance to share ideas, listen to experts etc." (2008 comment)

Teachers felt that the ICT PD contract had raised the profile of ICT in schools and the amount of support provided. Some had taken their learning further by taking tertiary level papers.

"When we did the ICT PD cluster we could do some papers through Auckland University and one of them was Action Research, which is Inquiry Learning, which we took back in as part of our development in schools. And then we went on to do the next one – e-Learning and it was all to do with webquests and how to put webquests together. The assignments were to plan lessons and take them with the kids and share it with the facilitator who gives you feedback and you get points that count towards an ICT qualification." (2008 focus group comment)

Teachers from schools involved in the ICT PD Cluster programme were able to attend a yearly conference – ULearn and had found this beneficial.

"As part of our ICT PD cluster we had conferences that we could go to but there are others and you learn so much from them at varying levels. Some people that come in with no knowledge can go to basic courses to try things and others can go to Keynote speakers – I think it is important to be able to take part in them and they should be Government funded because they are expensive. You choose the workshops that are relevant to your Apple or PC system. There's such a wide range of things to go to that you can just have the extra things in your room to enhance what is happening in there and everyone can be a bit more confident with it – you can learn about working with gifted and talented students or how to use ICT with special needs children." (2008 focus group comment)

Those attending could learn about a new development and bring that knowledge back into their teaching, although some teachers indicated that there was rather too much information and little or no hands-on time with ICT.

"You pick the areas that you want to go to and you sit there and get browbeaten for two hours, then you go to the next one. I did enjoy it, I loved every moment of it, but it's not hands-on enough. I would rather it was: 'I am going to pick one thing to do and when I come back after three days I am going to know how to do this'. You do get to see all the things that are there, but you do not get the hands-on, I came back with too much." (2008 focus group comment)

"I came back from ULearn last year with a digital microscope (that was my own purchase so that it wouldn't disappear into the senior room). For juniors it is fantastic. It is hooked up to your laptop and the data projector screen." (2008 focus group comment)

Once a three-year ICT PD programme had been completed by cluster schools, some schools were able to keep the alliance going. Rural primary focus group participants reported how the ICT PD Cluster facilitator was kept on by several schools after the contract had finished. The facilitator would regularly call into each school to continue training the staff in ICT areas where there was a need. This initiative could be traced in part to the fact that the principals met regularly to share what was happening in their schools and to support each other. This was another means for supporting each other.

Other Government initiatives

When a school was involved in a Ministry of Education initiative such as AtoL or NumPA, where teachers are encouraged to collect, analyse and act on student achievement data as part of the teaching and learning process, the requirement may have been to pass on digital records to show progress of some sort or another. This amounted in some cases to a significant requirement for teachers to use electronic data, and particularly where this was a whole-school requirement, teachers quickly became accustomed to those uses of the laptop.

"Part of it (the Literacy contract) is data analysis, comparing your school with other schools. We sent our Star analysis and looked at norms. I've got a wee task to do – to put on the 5 year olds' data that we were reflecting on anyway. The data analysis is very good." (2008 focus group comment)

The evaluation found that with practice and over time teachers' uses evolved and grew and on occasion an initial requirement led to a school culture of laptop use for certain tasks and then on to more individual and creative uses in the classroom. This did not necessarily occur spontaneously however, as it was more a combination of factors that were found to act as an incentive for teachers to use their laptops.

Formal professional learning opportunities

School-wide professional learning and development

Where there were expectations within a school for the preparation of electronic materials, for example: student reports; student data recording and analysis; student absence recording; and lesson planning and preparation, whole-staff professional development was often organised by the school in a more formal way to prepare teachers for consistently meeting these expectations. There were after-school meetings to discuss and model activities such as use of the school management system, electronic data entry or report writing using a template. This was also seen as having some value for skill development.

Formal professional development

TELA policy stipulated that teachers would undergo 40 hours of professional development related to the use of the laptop. Initially, there was an issue of apparent inconsistencies across schools in the provision of the mandated 40 hours of professional development. Focus group comment each year indicated that school management and leadership support for teacher laptop use was variable in terms of budgetary allowances for both professional development and hardware/software.

Formal professional development involved individual participation in formal laptop or ICT professional development conducted by an 'expert', where teachers attended regardless of their individual expertise or current need for the knowledge – more of a 'just-in-case' type of professional learning opportunity. By 2008, almost three-quarters (226–74%) of Years 1 to 3 teachers responding to the questionnaire had received formal laptop-based professional development (2006–65%: 2007–71%). In 2008, over half (124/226–55%) of these teachers had received training through being a part of an ICT PD cluster group. When asked what the focus of any laptop-based professional development they had undertaken was, teachers indicated that over the three-year period there were increasing opportunities for learning about the use of the laptop for teaching: the specifics of a software program (2006–27%: 2007–37%: 2008–38%), and support/ideas for in-class use (2006–24%: 2007–34%: 2008–48%). There were also a higher proportion of teachers undertaking formal professional development in the use of school administration systems each year, as this continued to be an ongoing upgrade exercise in schools (2006–24%: 2007–34%: 2008–37%).

Although teachers appreciated school-wide/organised professional development, generic professional development was said to lack immediacy and personal relevance. Furthermore, some focus group teachers noted, and the questionnaire responses indicated, that much of the available professional development was targeted to needs of beginning users. When asked what was the most useful aspect of laptop-based professional development many felt that it was best if there was a hands-on component to the learning, and that to become proficient it was necessary to practise.

"Helped to motivate me to use web-based programmes, however, I still do not feel confident. I need to use them more and have ongoing support." (2008 comment)

Professional learning as a process reliant on the individual

Many teachers spoke about professional learning as an individual process that involved exploration of, and experimentation with, their laptops and expressed a preference for time to explore how to use their laptop.

"Time away from the classroom to develop knowledge on using a different aspect of the laptop and then being able to take a small group from class to train as experts to help teach the rest of the class." (2008 comment)

"Really just the confidence to go away and try things out for myself. Gaining ideas about how to use laptop effectively." (2007 comment)

"Much of my most recent laptop-based PD has been what I have needed to find out as needed. I am in the fortunate position of loving my notebook and wanting to use it. I frequently help others on staff." (2007 comment)

Teachers at some schools paid to attend typing/computing night classes themselves, and recognised that having the laptop was a personal commitment.

"I did a Word course on my own in the evening that helped fill in some gaps in my own knowledge." (2008 comment)

One-sixth (16%) of Years 1 to 3 teachers indicated 'time to experiment with laptop capabilities and to practise with use for teaching' was the most important factor affecting their use of the laptop in the classroom.

Technological infrastructure

The school technological/ICT infrastructure has been found to impact directly on what teachers can and cannot do with their laptops. The questionnaire and the focus groups provided teachers with an opportunity to comment on some of the issues surrounding the provision of the infrastructure within which they used their laptops.

As noted earlier, teacher access to the Internet and a data projector had increased over the three years to 96% classroom Internet access and 77% easy access to a data projector.  When teachers were asked what technical support was available in schools for their laptops, collegial support for technical assistance remained the most frequent response across the years (2006–80%: 2007–82%: 2008–82%). Around three-quarters (74%) of teachers said their school had an ICT lead teacher or a computer committee (2006–77%: 2007–72%), and over half (52%) were supported by a full-time or part-time technician (2006–49%: 2007–56%). In 2008, two-fifths of teachers said that their school employed an outside expert to assist with technical problems.

Illustrative Example - Robustness of Laptops
Teachers did not necessarily want hi-specification laptop computers in schools; they wanted equipment to be stronger and more robust, able to withstand constant unplugging and being carried around. Some laptop hard drives and many batteries were reported to be 'not lasting the distance' – lasting for 12 months rather than three years.

Teachers appreciated increased access to the school network and Internet from their classrooms over the three-year period. By 2008, almost all Years 1 to 3 teachers (97%) had classroom access to the Internet and just over half (53%) could use their laptop to connect to a wireless network in their classroom. There was an increase in easy access to additional equipment available to teachers over the three-year period, with teachers reporting easy access to digital cameras (up from 90% to 92%), printers (up from 78% to 80%), data projectors (up from 55% to 77%) and hi-tech photocopiers (up from 28% to 45%). Although still not usually available, the proportion of teachers with an interactive whiteboard had doubled from 7% to 14% over the three-year period. To maximise the efficiency of their use of laptops as a teaching tool, teachers need easy access to additional equipment. When teachers were keen to use their laptops, if they worked in schools where there were few classroom computers and/or a lack of peripherals such as data projectors, teachers felt that expectations for ICT use could not be easily met. 

Digital Camera Use - An illustrative example from a Year 1-3 focus group teacher:
After an ICTPD development day, when we had seen how they worked, I bought four little digital cameras at $40 each and gave them to a group of children to take home and take photographs of anything they wanted around their home and they made up a story of their life on the farm, then the next group took them home. They downloaded the photos onto the laptop and put music with it and their own voices walking you through it. I actually learnt quite a lot about my kids and where they were situated. Some of them live another 20 minutes from my school and I have never been to their farm. I got to have a look at their bedrooms – it was a bit of a scare for some of the parents to see the presentation at the end of the topic! (2008 focus group comment).

Active leadership

School leadership exercised by the principal, and a small group that included senior management representation and/or expert individuals, was considered important for guiding and supporting school ICT/laptop developments and, consequently, individual utilisation of laptops/ICT. In schools where leadership decides on a school-wide ICT focus, the school essentially becomes a learning community where everyone is learning at the same time and teachers are supported to upskill in the use of ICT for various tasks. Focus group teachers commented that board of trustees support was essential for school development of the infrastructure needed for laptop use. They believed that it was important that board members and principals had access to opportunities to learn about the potential of the laptops. In some rural areas, the principals regularly met around ICT and other matters. These principals were said to be motivated to stay in touch to be up-to-date with their peers, especially those principals in rural sole-charge schools.

Very supportive leadership in schools

Teachers were asked about the influence of the principal, the deputy or assistant principal(s), syndicate leaders and senior teachers, and the position of the ICT lead teacher. Table 10 details the extent to which different school leaders were found to be very supportive in helping teachers to use their laptops effectively as a teaching tool.

Table 10: Very supportive leaders in schools (2006-2008)
Leadership Support 2006 (n=271) % 2007 (n=340) % 2008 (n=317) %
Principal 30 29 33
Deputy Principal 22 30 26
Syndicate Leader/Senior Teacher 23 26 26
ICT Lead Teacher 59 60 59

The highest proportion of teachers (three-fifths across the years) found the ICT lead teacher in schools to be very supportive. Around a third of teachers reportedly found the principal to be very supportive and a quarter found the deputy principal and the syndicate leader to be very supportive in helping them to use their laptops effectively as a teaching tool. When asked about support from the principal and the deputy principal, teachers at all levels of ability from schools where there were expectations were more likely to say they were very supportive, however, whether or not there were school expectations for laptop use, teachers at all levels of ability found the ICT lead teacher to be very supportive.

School-based expectations for laptop use

School leaders have a role in setting expectations for teacher laptop use – these expectations signal what uses of the laptop are of value in a particular school. In many schools, the first use of teachers' laptops was in the administration and communication areas. There may have been a requirement for teachers to use the school management system to input achievement data and attendance figures, or to use a template available on the school server to write reports which initiated teachers into using their laptops at school – the use of laptops for administrative tasks and report writing was expected by just under two-thirds (63%) of teachers' schools. Staff may have been emailed or asked to email information to the administration or management personnel – in-school email communication was an expectation of around two-thirds of teachers' schools (67%). This teacher gave the example of teachers being required to change to digital recording of the attendance register:

"When that came in, that we had to do the roll on the laptop, there was a lot of increasing of knowledge, a lot more interest in the laptops from some teachers who were a bit afraid of them. It's on now so you may as well use it for something else. It's been a very good thing." (2008 focus group comment)

Many Years 1 to 3 teachers reported that there were expectations for their use of the laptops, and in these situations there was evidence that teachers found school leaders to be more supportive and teachers used laptops more frequently and for longer periods. Four-fifths (81%) of Years 1 to 3 teachers in the final year of the evaluation reported that their schools had expectations for their use of laptops – in many cases there were several expectations. In addition to use for administrative tasks, around half of the schools were reported as expecting the laptop to be used for planning (53%) and for classroom teaching (48%).

A higher proportion of teachers in schools where there was an expectation for laptop use (98%) had access to the school network from their classrooms, than in schools where there was no expectation for laptop use (93%), were more likely to use their laptops more than once a day (expectation–81%: no expectation–53%) and for more than eleven hours per week (expectation–40%: no expectation–28%). Years 1 to 3 teachers in schools where there was an expectation for laptop use were also more likely to have received formal professional development in the use of the laptop.

Table 11 looks at how teachers perceived leadership support in schools where there were expectations compared to those in schools where there were no specific expectations for laptop use.

Table 11: Leadership and expectation for laptop use (2008)
2008 Very Supportive %
Principal  Deputy
Syndicate Leader
/Senior Teacher
ICT Lead
Expectation for laptop use (n=255) 37 29 28 61
No expectation for laptop use (n=62) 15 15 16 53

Where there was a school expectation for laptop use, teachers were more likely to feel well supported by leadership. This support was evident in better laptop access to the school network in classrooms, a greater likelihood of professional development opportunities and more frequent use of laptops by teachers in schools where they knew there were expectations for use. This data was supported by focus group commentary. Expectations for teacher laptop use were not always 'in writing'. Some teachers in the focus groups knew that the BOT and the principal expected 'ICT involvement' or that they 'like us to do ICT', but more often than not were unaware of specific expectations apart from having to enter student data onto the school server. Some felt there was 'not a strong drive' for laptop or ICT use in the school. Those who were aware of expectations were very positive about using their laptops and extending use into classroom teaching, as they seemed to have become more confident over the three-year period and were keen to learn more about the potential of laptop use in teaching and learning.

The big 'unwritten' expectation for teachers was that of making use of the laptop for schoolwork at home. There were 245 comments from teachers who appreciated the flexibility of workplace allowed by the laptop and being able to work at home on a portable computer was considered a positive aspect.

"The school and local community have increased their expectations of what can be done at home and the standard of work produced, eg, wikispaces, keynote presentations, etc." (2008 comment)

New entrant teacher. I spend more time on classroom cleaning, preparation and displays because I know I can work on the computer after tea. Most days I don't leave school till 5:30. (2008 comment)

The positive aspects of being able to use the laptop at home included the convenience and flexibility of being able to choose where and when to work. Teachers liked the safety of working at home rather than at school after hours, the comfort of working at home and the way it allowed them to be with their families in a relaxing atmosphere. Having a laptop at home freed up the home computer for other family members. The work they were able to do at home included continuing and completing work, planning, writing reports and emailing. When there was laptop access to the school network and to the Internet teachers found there was easy access to information – a positive aspect of being able to use the laptop at home, as well as the fact that the laptop was the sole repository for all schoolwork. There were sometimes frustrations as well, such as in rural areas where teachers had no laptop access to the school network from home and had to save work onto USB or disc to transfer data to the school network. This was a frustration for at least a fifth of teachers responding to the questionnaire – there were 63 comments in 2008 about difficulties of working at home on laptops.

"Can't access files that are stored on school network, have many times been frustrated that I needed to have downloaded documents, templates etc onto my memory stick before leaving school." (2008 comment)

"My laptop only prints to school printer, every time I want to print at home I have trouble and have to reinstall the printer." (2008 comment)

"I waste a lot of personal time browsing Internet for school/doing school work at home. Costs me more, our school Internet provider subsidy doesn't cover my broadband bill." (2008 comment)

Support from a designated ICT teacher

In many schools there was a designated ICT lead teacher (74% of Years 1 to 3 teachers reported that their school had an ICT specialist), whose role included upskilling other teachers, helping staff to use new software and even sometimes to be a technical expert and see to any minor repairs. By the end of the three-year evaluation period, around three-fifths (59%) of teachers reported the ICT lead teacher to be a very supportive mentor. The ICT lead teacher in a primary school, although a designated position, did not necessarily mean that the person had an ICT qualification or was given any release time to carry out the expected duties, and was more than likely to be a full-time classroom teacher. Although designated ICT leaders who were lone specialists within a school were often part of an active email network with others, it was evident that these more advanced users also needed opportunities to extend their knowledge and expertise. In interviews, teachers discussed the need for these expert individuals to further their own learning as part of their own professional development, and also so that the school as a whole could continue to progress. The need for these individuals to have school leadership support and to be skilled in the communication and sharing of ideas was also raised. It would seem that if school leadership does not recognise the value of this 'in-house expert', burnout could result.

"The ICT leader suddenly decided over the holidays that she didn't want to do it, so she's had all the knowledge but now she is not telling us what has gone on before and needs to be done. I think some of this was to do with the fact that she was doing a lot of it in her own time and she wasn't getting any release to do it. [This teacher had gained an ICT qualification while working in this role and her unfulfilled goal had been to get some release time for ICT leadership in the school.]" (2008 focus group comment).

As well as an officially designated ICT lead teacher, it seemed that all teachers in a particular school were aware of which colleagues had expertise in the use of ICT. These teachers were approached for help on an informal and ad hoc basis. Those teachers in the focus groups who had such expertise discussed the time commitment this involved. Colleagues indicated they were very aware of the demands placed on these teachers but neither group were able to suggest a solution to this problem – both groups acknowledged schools may not necessarily have the funds to employ a designated ICT support specialist. Young teachers who have always used ICT and family members who have expertise in either the use of laptops, or who offer technical expertise, were a part of this group.

A school culture of collaboration

A school culture of collaboration is likely to be a good incentive for teachers to integrate ICT/laptops into their daily teaching in the classroom. Spillane (1999) in his research into teachers' 'zones of enactment' (referring to the space in which they make sense of, and operationalise for their own practice, the ideas advanced by reformers), found that the extent to which teachers' enactment zones extend beyond their individual classrooms to include rich deliberations about the reforms and practising the reform ideas with fellow teachers and other experts, the more likely teachers are to change the core of their practice.

Teacher commentary in this study attests to the efficacy of professional development, albeit not formal professional development provided by external experts but rather peer mentoring. Teacher learning was heavily influenced by internal factors in a school, such as help from colleagues. There needs to be a collaborative culture in a school for teachers to share effective strategies and techniques for integrating laptops into the classroom. Given the evolutionary nature of ICT and its possible uses, it seems likely that opportunities to share will continue to be important and it is becoming increasingly imperative to communicate and be collaborative via electronic means. Increasingly, it would seem that all teachers have an obligation to use ICT, so that their students are not disadvantaged in comparison with those of teachers who are exploring its use in teaching and learning.

The emergence of a laptop culture within a school appeared to hinge on the interaction of leadership, infrastructure and professional learning opportunities, culminating in a comprehensive systems approach to laptop integration, which encouraged collaboration among teachers in support of laptop and wider ICT use. Where all these factors worked in synergy, teachers were propelled towards collectively changing the way they worked and integrating the laptop/ICT into their professional lives. It is more likely that a school culture will develop when teaching staff have a collective knowledge of the ways ICT might be used in their day-to-day work and an awareness of its impact upon students' learning. Some teachers mentioned that at their schools there was a very collaborative school culture. These teachers found there was a great deal of informal sharing with 'everybody working well together'.Having teaching units on the laptop instead of in a planning book made it very easy to collaborate with colleagues about a lesson and there was a general perception that teachers were gradually doing more of this as they learned more. Knowledge in the school could be passed from teacher to teacher through a collaborative culture of learning. The benefit of collegial help was that it could be both timely and relevant. This was largely because a colleague was easily accessible and had a reasonable understanding of the individual's particular teaching situation and needs. Teachers preferred professional development that focused on their day-to-day activities and colleagues 'on the spot' were able to fulfil this ideal. Colleagues could support teachers in exploring how their own teaching/learning materials could be adapted/transformed.

Years 1 to 3 focus group teachers who had participated in the ICT PD cluster programme where they not only collaborated with teachers in their own school but had opportunities to collaborate with teachers in other schools, reflected that initially they had no choice but to become computer literate. By the third year of the evaluation, they appreciated their participation and were continuing to be involved in professional learning pursuits – many teachers were wanting to take the 'next steps' in ICT development such as troubleshooting, downloading programs, everything a technical expert would do or to learn 'what other tools are out there and how they might be applicable for me and my teaching – how I can make movies, podcasting and things that are out there that were not there four years ago'. For these teachers, an increased confidence and enthusiasm for using ICT had become significant motivational factors, providing the incentive to sustain and develop this use.

A process that involves immediate colleagues

Sharing ideas with other staff members was mentioned positively as a source of professional development by Years 1 to 3 teachers, with three-quarters (73%) reporting that other teachers in the school were very supportive in helping them to use the laptop effectively as a teaching tool. Colleagues as mentors provided examples of how ICTs could be used with their students. They provided access to models of how a laptop could be used in a safe and secure environment; assistance was available when the need for it occurred and in the context where ICT was to be used. Teachers emphasised the importance of opportunities to work in a sustained way with more expert colleagues as mentors. Many Years 1 to 3 teachers (87%) indicated they used their laptops for the collaborative development or sharing of units or lesson plans.

There was discussion amongst focus group members as to whether informal peer mentoring was enough. One view was that input from experts or 'outside people' was necessary to extend thinking, although more time was spent discussing the lack of easy access to regular needs-based professional development.

Organised occasions for sharing

Primary teachers in particular, considered the benefits from peer mentoring were optimised when the whole school focused on ICT and/or laptop use. Typically, this meant that there was senior management support for laptop use. It sometimes meant teachers had access to time to learn during the school day. Individual teachers who had innovated with their laptop/ICT use and/or who had attended a professional development day or a conference were often asked to share their learning with others at staff or department/ syndicate meetings. Some schools ran breakfast meetings for this. These were voluntary but teachers reported that they were well attended and valued.

"After an area lead teacher ICT meeting, I just say, 'This is what we learnt last time, this is what we set up'. If people want information, they come to see me individually. So you do PD back at school with it." (2008 focus group comment)

The findings of this evaluation indicate that teachers experienced professional learning for laptop use as a process of individual investigation; a process that involved, or at least was best when it involved, immediate colleagues; a process that might take place across a school as a whole; and a process that could involve teachers working across a cluster of schools to share problems and solutions.


  1. The Numeracy Project Assessment (NumPA) is a diagnostic tool that is designed to give teachers quality information about the knowledge and mental strategies of students. NumPA takes the form of an individual interview with students.
  2. The board of trustees is a group consisting of the principal, a staff representative and elected parents that govern the school.

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