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Australian Professional Teacher Associations October 12, 2013

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

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 … 🙂



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