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3.4.2 Changing Barriers into Enablers

342 laptopsThe development of digital literacy practices is problematic in circumstances where teachers access to appropriate resources is limited (Becta, 2004). Many teachers and students student teachers comment on the practicalities of accessing equipment even when it is available in school and see it as a barrier to their practice. The constraints of timetabling, for example, may mean that it is difficult for class to use an IT lab; in other circumstances malfunctioning equipment may require relocating to another classroom, something that takes times and is not always feasible. Unfortunately, these experiences can lead the teacher to the conclusion that it is often better to plan a lesson without technology to ensure it goes well! (See Case Study 12)

Since the demise of the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) in 2010 there has been a general decline in the degree of support nationally for digital literacy programmes in school and this has the potential to create inequality in school provision and the development of expertise. What remain are the regional networks that have formed around broadband consortia to work with local authorities or individual schools and school alliances to provide resources, advice and continuing professional development. Many of these have created pockets of excellent practice that have developed from established relationships between HEI training providers and the school sector building on existing school partnerships. Serving these constituencies are the small and medium scale creative industries, digital technology enterprises and voluntary/non-profit making organisations that produce materials, provide support and encourage the development and dissemination of pupils work. For schools, with limited resources it is sometimes possible for them to form partnerships with agencies such as City Learning Centres (CLCs) or local businesses. Such links are also valuable trainee teachers enabling to access and deploy a range of technology and skills while working with experts and specialist tutors in context relevant to their study, (See Case Study 13).

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