Organisational capacity

The Fleminton Reading and Writing program is based at the Flemington Neighbourhood House, which is a delightful Victorian house located in tree-lined Farnham Street, and adjacent to a park.
Classes are also held at the Flemington Library in Racecourse Road, Flemington. The computer classroom, which is located upstairs, houses ten networked computers with internet access.
Classes are friendly and informal, and are conducted by highly qualified and experienced staff. Students are able to learn at their own pace, and progression into the next level is negotiated with the teacher. Learning at Flemington is both an educational and social experience.
Students come from many different backgrounds and cultures. This diversity requires a commitment by both teachers and students to respect each other and tolerate difference.

Organisational commitment and readiness

orgnaisational_capacity_perspectvies.jpg
The staff at FRWP were asked to plot themselves on a perspectives continuum that sought to plot their e-learning journey and give us two moments in time - before and after the project. The diagram on the right is a visual representation of the perspectives document and indicates where they placed themselves at the conclusion of their project. (For more information about the research perspectives, visit http://www.acfe.vic.edu.au/Cleveruse).
It indicates a commitment and readiness by the organisation to continue to develop ICT enabled teaching solutions for their community. It also shows quite clearly that FRWP has the capacity to do this, with considerable experience in this field.
They report that the COM is very supportive of the program, and that they have a big commitment to ICT.
There is a strong understanding that computers have to be integrated into everything- including activities such as cooking classes.
The program of rebuilding computers has also helped to mainstream the use of computer across the community. ESL teachers are also using computers in their classrooms and teachers encourage ESL students to move into the computer classes to maximise their chances of obtaining the necessary employability skills.

Technology Infrastructure

FRWP admits that the technological infrastructure at the centre does not always keep up with the demands they place on it and that there are problems such as:
  1. Not enough computers across all the rooms - thye are wheeled in on trolleys.
  2. Uneven knowledge by different levels of people- inadequate knowledge and skills in the general teaching staff .
  3. FRWP does have wireless internet which should make ubuquitous use easier.
  4. There are the practicalities involved in making choices – laptops have small screens, USBs get lost…

Teacher readiness / capacitygeof.jpg

The team felt that the project had had a big impact on teacher capacity and teacher readiness as it brought in a range of ideas from the AccessACE statewide professional development meetings. It professionalised the delivery focussing on a very specific objective targeted at retention with a much more focussed target than ever before.
A second teacher has been appointed into the program. She is an ex- student, iand s currently completing her Cert IV TAA . Her confidence has increased enormously.
Other teachers at the centre are very interested in how computers can be used for ESL and literacy. Access to computers is still a problem for them as the major ESL teaching room has no fixed computers. They do, however, have access to computers on trolleys.


Blended learning as a business option

FRWP has a commitment to the community. Althoug they are interested in investigating the use of technology to increase their business activity into the future, they would never sacrifice their community focus. Fee-for-servide opportunties are limited, and although they could charge more for those who could afford it, the demographics is such that they don't attract the wealthier people in the community.
They are committed to online as part of ablended learning solution, and want to make it a bigger component of classes. It will be increased in Manrico’s classes in 2008.
The future will see the exploration of three potential fee-for-service course areas - TAA, MYOB and IT. The delivery will always be blended in that it will still include a signifcant face-to-face component.