AccessACE final report

Clever uses of ICT in ACE: Key Messages

The AccessACE project demonstrated that a clever use of ICT is highly contextualised and that a range of key factors impact on its success. Each of these following key factors is discussed in detail in the the report. report_front_page_small.jpg
  • A clear understanding and shared strategic vision of the role of ICT in educational delivery is crucial in defining and measuring organisational success.
  • ACE needs to have the underpinning infrastructure in place, and needs to develop blended learning programs that work within the IT constraints of the organisation.
  • There needs to be a recognition that the introduction of ICTs into established, more traditional practices is a change management issue; communication is they key to making it work.
  • The integration of ICTs into ACE educational delivery and business practices is vital to future sustainability.
  • Online delivery for regional and remote organisations is a very practical solution to their particular challenges around geographical spread and smaller class sizes.
  • Cost effectiveness will come with subsequent delivery instances. As with any new program, there are up front costs. These can be significant when introducing ICTs.
  • Professional development (in-house, regional and state) needs to cater for mainstream adopters and will require diverse strategies and styles.
  • There is a strong need for a mentoring program; just-in-time and just-for-me peer support.
  • Effective IT support is crucial.
  • Introducing ICTs extends the boundaries for learners and teachers outside the classroom and significantly extends the organisation’s potential educational reach.
  • A good induction / orientation process ensures successful learner outcomes.
  • The embedding of ICTs in ACE program delivery can make a significant impact on program design through more learner centered teaching approaches.
  • Participating organisations agreed that the key to succeed is to start small.
  • There are many free, low cost, easily accessible tools available that can make a real difference in supporting, engaging and retaining your learners.

In terms of teacher experience with and confidence in technology, some could be described as early adopters, but the majority would fall into the category of mainstream users. Almost all are digital immigrants[1]. What they do have in common is their passion for teaching and learning and their commitment to learners in ACE.

The trials demonstrate that good teachers, even when relatively inexperienced in any particular online technology can deliver successfully if these key success factors are present and managed well. It demonstrates that although the size of the organisation impacts on access to resources, it does not necessarily guarantee success. Small organisations with limited resources also performed well.

You can download the final report by clicking on the link below.

Tips for teachers

These ‘Tips for Teachers’ were contributed by teachers and managers from ten Victorian Adult & Community Education (ACE) organisations who participated in the 2007 AccessACE project. Their highly individual projects involved the trial of a locally developed blended learning approach designed for a particular ACE learner group, in either accredited or pre-accredited training. The projects incorporated many uses of information and communication technology (ICT) including online learning environments and social software. The organisations were very diverse, both in size and capacity to deliver.
The learner groups and the technologies were also very varied. Project outcomes in terms of reach, results and potential to improve learner retention were impressive.
The learner groups included a range of young VCAL students, students with disabilities, mature aged learners in a range of settings including women studying in return to work programs, young men studying to pass the Police entrance exam, rural and remote learners, as well as students from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities across Victoria.
The technologies ranged from virtual classrooms and online delivery platforms such as Moodle and the TAFE VC to the effective use of data shows in the VCAL classroom. Many trials incorporated a variety of free and easily accessible Web 2.00 technologies such as wikis, podcasts, slideshows, pictures from Flickr, and much more.
Each project team was asked to share three tips for teachers - lessons they had learned during the course of their project that would help other teachers interested in including more ICT into their teaching.

They have been categorised under three headings:
1 Planning and preparation 2 Working with ACE learners and teachers 3 Using technology

Click on the link below to download the complete document.

[1] A digital native is a person who has grown up with digital technology such as computers, the Internet, mobile phones and MP3. A digital immigrant is an individual who grew up without digital technology and adopted it later. A digital native might refer to their new "camera"; a digital immigrant might refer to their new "digital camera". Source: Wikipedia: Accessed January 2008