Interview: How teacher CPD is going transatlantic

Tablet Academy

The Tablet Academy is a leading provider of consultancy and training in mobile technologies for education. Previously known as iPad Academy, now independent and device agnostic. Founders Professor Steve Molyneux and Mark Yorke believe the ability to use technology is becoming as fundamental to a child's development as a child's ability to read and write.

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Pictured: Dr. George Saltsman // Image courtesy of supplier. Pictured: Dr. George Saltsman // Image courtesy of supplier.

Tablet Academy CEO Steve Molyneux discusses his partnering with Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas to improve CPD for British teachers.

How did the Tablet Academy first become involved with the Lamar University Certificate In Technology Enhanced Teaching?

Tablet Academy first became involved with Lamar University through the collaborative work I have been doing over the past 20 years on Digital Learning initiatives with a number of American organisations, from Universities to the Department of Defense. I met with Professor George Saltsman back in 2008 during a project at Abilene Christian University, as the first university to deploy iPhones to all its students to support their learning. George then moved on to become director of the Center for Digital Education and Innovation at Lamar University, and I was invited to join the University as a visiting professor in global education leadership. George and I have been disheartened for some time by the fact that fantastic teachers around the world get little academic recognition for all the hard work they put into their own Professional Development, as well as and the work they do with their students using a range of technologies. Lamar University offers a complete online global Masters and Doctorate programme in Digital Learning and Leading. At Bett 2015, George and I met up together and hatched a plan to reward teachers academically.

What does this course offer the modern teacher's professional development?

CPD is key in ensuring that teaching staff get the very best from advanced in modern teaching techniques and educational technologies. Not only they gain a better understanding of what the technologies have to offer, but also gain a range of skills on how to capitalise on the tools available to enhance their teaching practice.

The ‘Certificate in Technology Enhanced Teaching’ consists of two parts. Part one is the completion of three self-study online courses, while part two is the submission of an evidential ePortfolio demonstrating technology use in teaching and learning. Teachers who, for example, are ADEs (Apple Distinguished Educators), MCEs (Microsoft Certified Educators), MIEEs (Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts) or Google Certified Educators can claim exemption from part one if they wish but we recommend teachers look at these as they are aligned with the Technology Literacy learning objectives of the UNESCO ICT-Competency Framework for Teachers (UNESCO ICTCFT).

The three online courses are: ‘Teaching with technology basics’, ‘Teaching with technology 2016’ and ‘21st Century learning design’ and are designed to assist teachers in a fuller understanding of how technology can be used to enhance 21st Century education.

The second part of the programme requires participants to maintain an ePortfolio of digital assets that demonstrates their understanding of technology in support of teaching and learning; the application of technologies in their teaching practice; and the impact that this implementation has had on their students. This ePortfolio is assessed by a faculty member of Lamar University, a grade awarded and a certificate issued.

Successful participants in the programme are awarded a non-credit bearing ‘Certificate in Technology Enhanced Teaching’ which can be converted, at a later date, into full university credits representing 1/6th towards the Lamar University online M.Ed. in Digital Learning and Leading.

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Tell us about how long the course takes, as well as the the pricing and scholarships available.

The course can take as long as the participant needs to complete it. There is no deadline, as we realise the pressure of work that teachers face. However, we would hope that teachers complete the programme within 12 months.

The cost to participants is £100+VAT per person to cover administration and assessment costs. However, we do have a Tablet Academy Scholarship programme in place whereby schools or colleges can apply to have as many or as few of their teachers take the programme for free!

Institutions complete a Scholarship Application form which asks three simple questions:

1. How will your institution benefit from having your teaching staff participate?
2. How will individual teachers benefit from participation?
3. What impact on their students would the institution expect?

What kinds of successes are you seeing with the project thus far?

The programme is in its infancy, but we have seen a great deal of interest from both Primary and Secondary schools, as well as Academy Trusts, Federations and independent schools. We have a number of schools who have taken advantage of the scholarship to offer their teaching staff participation on the programme as part of their Professional Development.

Having teaching staff who possess such a certificate and have, by completing it, demonstrated their competence within the UNESCO ICT-Competency Framework for Teachers benefits the member of staff, the school and ultimately their students. The portfolios that teachers create as part of the programme can also be used to share best practice within the school, across school as part of a trust or federation, and can be used as evidence to OFSTED of the excellent work that teachers are doing in the use of technology to support teaching and learning.

Schools interested in the programme can find out more at

What are your hopes for the future of the Tablet Academy / Lamar University partnership?

Our partnership with Lamar University is growing from strength to strength, and we are already working with them on a number of projects. One such project is the conversation of a School Bus in Texas to a STEM Bus in the same way that we converted a Double Decker in partnership with RAF Cosford. A second is the foundation of Tablet Academy USA, through which we will deliver the same services that we deliver in the UK, but to initially Texan Schools and then to other states.

We would be happy to talk to any school, trust or federation about the full range of services we offer and can be contacted at

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