jump to navigation

Are we there yet? October 17, 2013

Posted by Tony in Education comment, Education Notes, ICT in education.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

My point: New Australian Curriculum, a new exciting subject called digital technologies on the drawing board; we need teaching resources and teacher professional development to make it happen and we shouldn’t wait until the subject documentation is confirmed by the government authorities as that will put us months/years behind.

The Australian Curriculum is an exciting place to visit and should be read by those interested in what is happening in Australian schools.  I do sometimes worry that some have comments about the system without knowing  the content that is taught.

The Australian Curriculum is innovative and creative, it’s contemporary and it does what a good curriculum does. it allows teachers the scope to do what they do best …. to be creative and teach!   ACARA has done a marvellous job and Australian taxpayers have received value for money, no doubt!   (Don’t listen to the ‘journos’ from the Australian newspaper, they’re doing a job: beating up a story and drawing conclusions, in the hope they attract readers and have an impact on government policy).

The phase 1 and phase 2 subjects, the ones already released for trial have some amazing resources for teachers.  One example is  English for the Australian Curriculum ,

The challenge is in the, not released yet, Technology Learning Area (one of eight learning areas)  there are  two subjects : ‘Design and Technology’ and ‘Digital Technologies’ which don’t have the contemporary resources freely available for the other subjects.  Compounding the challenge Digital Technologies is also a new subject so high quality resources, directly linked to the learning outcomes,  are in short supply.  There are some; check out Scootle and search for ICT resources, but there needs to be many more.

We need to do something about this, lets hope it happens before the curriculum is implemented in Australian state and territory education systems so that teachers have a chance to implement the subject well.

No we are not there yet and we have some-way to go!


2014 ACCE Study tour October 15, 2013

Posted by Tony in Uncategorized.
add a comment

  Join Aussie educators for a 16 day edTech study tour to the USA 

  • network with Australian and international teachers and edTech leaders
  • visit ICT enhanced learning environments
  • tour ICT corporations
  • enjoy VIP privileges at the 2014 ISTE conference

San Jose San Francisco New York City Atlanta San Jose San Francisco New York City Atlanta 

Typically the ACCE Study Tour will have site visits or briefings at a series of ICT corporations. While not all sites will be visited in 2014, we will select from those we’ve seen across 2009-2013 (Promethean, Adobe, HP, Intel, Google, Cisco, Oracle, and Apple). As well as this tour’s focus on the gamification of education, the 2014 tour will include visits to institutions which enhance teacher training and professional development through the explicit use of ICT. We’ll also delight in the opportunity for some professional play time at technology museums in San Jose, San Francisco and Manhattan and enjoy some quality face to face time with leading ICT educators from the USA.

The ACCE Study Tour package includes your registration at the ISTE 2014 Conference. With over 18 000 conference participants, ACCE Study Tourers truly appreciate the privileges afforded us, especially the VIP seating at all keynote presentations and study tour group meetings with ISTE Board Members and North American ICT industry leaders. Of course, the invitations to attend conference receptions provide us with further international networking opportunities.

Oh .. so wrong! October 14, 2013

Posted by Tony in Education comment, Education Notes, Uncategorized.
comments closed

My dad drilled into us as kids –  if you don’t have something positive to say in a conversation, think of something!  He didn’t mean don’t have your own opinions, or don’t argue or don’t participate in a conversation, but he did mean at least find something positive to comment on, as there is always something good to be found.  I do wish our national papers had listened to my dad.

I was horrified by what was written in a major Australian newspaper about digital resources designed to support  English  in the Australian Curriculum.  It was the tone and the implications (and it was so uninformed!).

“STUDENTS will create an artwork from trash, play the logo quiz, study car and perfume ads, and watch YouTube videos in their high school English class under lesson plans produced for teachers by the national English teacher organisations.”

I thought the Primary English Teaching Association responded well.

(My dad, on principle, would find so much good in the Australian Curriculum ….)

I do think teachers should visit the site.  A visit by someone who knows what happens in a classroom will see how wrong the journalist was. Check out the site –  E4AC

Also while browsing have a look at these sites:  Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, The Arts. as they are fantastic examples of digital resources that are appearing to support the new curriculum.

I am starting to think I should put our national education journos in the same category as I have Collingwood Football Club supporters; but then again, that might be doing a dis-service to those black and white fanatics.

Australian Professional Teacher Associations October 12, 2013

Posted by Tony in Education comment, Education Notes, ICT in education, Uncategorized.
add a comment

I had the great fortune to attend the Qsite conference recently in Queensland.  I enjoyed the two days and learnt a great deal.  I did, though, have a conversation that has made me think, so I thought I would share it and see how oz-teachers respond.

My experience went like this …. “Tony, you are President of ACCE (the Australian Council for Computers in Education), you must be worried about the number of IT conferences next year, in an ACCE conference year, as that would be how you are relevant and make money for the association!”

So my thoughts …. Yes, it does worry me, as there does seem to be conferences appearing everywhere, as they are are perceived (rightfully or wrongly) as money makers.  There are a number of private operators who run conferences as a business, good luck to them, if they can make a profit.

What I really think, though, is that ACCE (and in turn, many of the other professional associations in Australia) are much more than a conference and are very relevant for many reasons.  The conference, in ACCE’s case, is a time when Australian Educators meet and celebrate what has happened in the past two years from a variety of perspectives.  Yes they listen to keynotes, they go to workshops, they present referred and non referred papers, but what they also do is they network and celebrate achievements and are connected to all that is happening.

For example, in the past 18 months, ACCE (acce.edu.au) has had three representatives working with ACARA on the Australian curriculum – digital technologies, one representative working with AITSL on a teacher focus group, has launched a $30,000 grant program to support the resourcing of the digital technologies curriculum, lead a successful study tour to the ISTE in the US, worked with Google, Oracle and Promethean, supported the oz-teacher community with a grant to help maintain its hardware,  initiated the Monday night online professional learning network (ACCELN) for Australian teachers, held a national conference in Perth and released a number of journals, including a new online version.  These things aside, ACCE has also maintained its normal work load of supporting the state and territory associations and giving them the opportunity to share ideas and resources, it has worked with the ACS (The Australian Computer Society)  on a number of initiatives and recently been involved with the Group X initiatives.

Yes the conference, ACEC2014, is really important, and yes, it does make ACCE money, but not a great deal!   And importantly, ACCE seeds what profit it does make, directly back into the Australian Digital Technologies community; but there is still something more that the original Qsite questions has made me think about and has lead me to ….

…. Australian Professional Teacher Associations, not just ACCE,  are important as they give teachers an opportunity to share across state boarders, they allow teachers to have a focused input into national initiatives and a chance to influence national policy; and I think they give teachers an opportunity to belong and be supported, outside the jurisdictional structures.  In fact, i think they provide an opportunity to belong!

So my answer ….. Australian Professional Teacher Associations are as relevant today as they have been in the past and they have an important part to play in our Australian education community because they do a great deal.

See you in Adelaide next year and you can tell me what you think … 🙂

Are we having the right conversation? October 4, 2013

Posted by Tony in Education comment, Education Notes, ICT in education.
1 comment so far

Albert Einstein said “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education”, and wasn’t he correct?

The winds of change are blowing again in Australia and the term ‘formal education’ is beginning to appear again in the national educational discussion?

This discussion focuses on the content of some areas of the Australian curriculum and how it’s resourced.  For goodness sake, this is not the debate we need to have, we don’t need to “return” to formal education we need to educate our students to be contributors in our world.

We need to talk about empowering teachers to teach and helping students learn.  We need to stay out of teachers’ and their students’ way and let them get on with education! They are trained, they are prepared, they are educated, let them do their job.  Let them decide what is the best way to teach!

For me the education process has fundamental problems that need to be discussed and fixed and not a discussion about the role of the teacher. What happened to the discussion about individual student needs, and why students learn differently? (more…)