More technology doesn’t mean less inequality

Bellow is a great link to an article about inequity in education, specifically targeted at ICTs. The digital divide in Australia is narrowing as more people become internet users. Three billion people globally are online today, with some eight new users every second. This could become a social justice issue, especially as education itself, especially in tertiary level education is becoming distance or online education. Inequality, in technical use, refers to the varying degrees of physical access to the internet and how that might affect an individual’s usage. For example, lack of broadband in rural America has been shown to negatively affect socio-economic opportunities, out-migration and social connections in remote communities.

This is similar to Australia, not everywhere has the NBN or will even have the opportunity to do so. Some communities do note even have ADSL, they rely on satellite, which at best is terribly slow. So how can this divide be bridged. ..

Anyone?

http://theconversation.com/more-technology-doesnt-mean-less-inequality-48180

Google aps for education

Google now offer a fantastic range of ICTs for teachers to make there planning and organisation easier. This includes and is not limited to:

Google classroom

Gmail

Google Drive

Calenders

These are all interlinked and Google claim that by embracing it as part of your school can save 52 teaching hours per year, 90% less labour, 99.9% uptime, 329% return on investment and $0 cost per user!

Interestingly they also offer education courses to improve application into the classroom, or for those more advanced become ambassadors and go into schools to demonstrate why Google apps for education can help all schools and students.

Worth a read!

https://www.google.com/edu/products/productivity-tools/

https://edutrainingcenter.withgoogle.com/

australian professional standards for teachers – 2.6 Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

As the end of my placement draws closer I wanted to ensure I am beginning to have enough information for my portfolio. This includes the standard

2.6 Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

As the course synoposis for EDC3100 discusses The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. The assessment item(s) that may be used to assess student achievement of an objective are shown in parenthesis. On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. design and implement worthwhile student learning experiences in which ICT are integral to the curriculum and where learners are encouraged to use ICT to locate, organize, research, (interpret, analyse), communicate, represent and (create knowledge) appropriate to particular contexts [Assignments: 2, 3; Professional Experience. Professional Standards: 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 5.1, 6.3, 7.2]
    1. describe, discuss and apply teaching and learning theories and frameworks that inform ICT pedagogies [All assignments; Professional Experience. Professional Standards: 1.2, 1.6, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.5, 5.1]

You would therefore believe that this gives you ample opportunity to gather enough evidence.

Digital Citezenship

I found this great government supported website on digital citizenship. It has tips not only for students in the primary and secondary sector, but also parents.

It has games for students to learn about there digital footprint and information and resources for different stages of high school. It has courses to inform teachers how to implement the resources including the use of templates and tools to support schools to implement the Digital Citizenship program.The professional learning course familiarises teachers with the materials in this resource and guides them through the process of implementing the program in their school.

Lastly it has a link to esafety, a website with good information in regards to cyber-bullying and kids helplines fir students to talk to someone anonymous about any issues they might be having around and ICT bullying incidents.

https://www.esafety.gov.au/help

http://www.digitalcitizenship.nsw.edu.au/

Could technology replace teachers?

I happened to stumble across an article which discussed the possibility of ICTs taking over from teachers in years to come.

If I am honest I thought that it was quite funny, it truly must only be those not involved in education that think this could work. For instance how would a machine control students, get them to focus or ensure all students are working productively.

I mean, could you build a house without builder, including having the correct tools? Could technology really have students work together and ask questions which nurtures real meta cognition or hold high expectations of students?

Although, technology has come so far in the last one hundred years, could it be possible in another hundred?

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jun/20/technology-not-replace-teaching-learning

http://www.ictworks.org/2011/08/26/can-machines-replace-teachers-educational-technology/

Professional expereince, little to no ICTs

My placement for this subject has been at a Steiner School. For those of you who don’t know Steiner education is an alternative to standard schools and falls under the private sector. For more information about Steiner education, see the link below.

While I am still deciding whether I like the schools philosophy and teachings it is interesting to note that the teaching at the school in which I have been placed has very little in the way of ICTs.

It is not that the school discourages ICTs however resources are not in abundance. I have had to work hard to implement ICTs where possible and set students ICT tasks to complete at home. It has however challenged me in many ways to really implement ICTs in ways to increase educative outcomes, rather than simply replace.

Bellow is Steiner education integration document on ICTs, worth a read if you ask me.

http://www.steinereducation.edu.au/steiner-education/

http://www.steinereducation.edu.au/files/ascf/ascf_vol_1_ict_integration_position_paper_oct_11.pdf

Initial teacher education part 6

It can be seen that differences do exist between the topics of teacher entry into universities in Australia. This can be seen in both the opposing views of the government parties and also, closer to home, the views of our fellow pre-service teachers. The results found within the survey was majority a landslide of opinions supporting that which we agree to be the most successful and appropriate course of action to ensure the right sort of people are entering teaching careers. This being that yes indeed teachers should place in the top percentage of people for literacy and numeracy and that yes an emotional intelligence interview would help determine the aptitude and personal skills required prior to acceptance into a teaching degree. Our fellow students and members of the community also agreed that raising the OP to 12 would not necessarily produce superior teachers.

It is thus concluded that an effective teaching entry program requires a higher level of acceptance scrutiny from universities across the nation. The government would benefit greatly from seeking the opinions of the future teachers of today, as they are in fact the potential leaders, nurtures, and educators of our countries children.

Initial teacher education part 5

Letter to local member of Liberal Party

I am writing in regards to the issue of teacher entry levels into university courses in Australia. This issue I feel is that of high importance and requires the urgent attention of the local political party. At present teacher entry into the local university requires an overall score (OP) of 16 or more. The Labor government is proposing changes to this entry, raising the overall score (OP) to a 12 or more. This will affect not only the local graduate teachers but also all teachers nationwide. For this reason, I ask that you address the issue in this letter with great importance and with urgency.

Education Minister, Peter Garrett holds a contrasting view to that of the Labour Government, believing that ‘smarter teacher do not necessarily make better teachers.’ To a degree, we agree with this statement. He also states that an emotional intelligence interview would be ideal for pre-admission into teaching degrees. This enables the university to first ensure that the candidate is in fact suitable for teaching, in both their temperament, willingness and also their literacy and numeracy levels. I am not questioning the fact that teachers do require a high level of literacy and numeracy to be able and successful teachers. On this matter, I in fact agree with the Labour Government that teachers should indeed be in the top thirty percentile of the state. The issue is that of the OP ranking, as this does not necessarily determine the most suitable teachers. I agree that pre-service teachers undergo an interview and aptitude test prior to being accepted into any form of teaching degree, as suggested by the Education Minister. This interview will not only determine the student’s literacy and numeracy levels but also seek to establish the student’s suitability and desire to be a teacher.

As a pre-service teacher I believe that this is a solid start to changing the views of our modern teachers and also ensuring that the right sort of person is entering into such a personable, trusting and skilled career. This may be only a small start the changing the view of education as I see it, but it is a step in the right direction. Teaching can begin to be held with high regard like that of our role model county Finland. The teachers being produced from university will not only hold a degree but also hold the skills and character that this country needs to support and nourish the young Australians of today.

I trust that you will hold this issue in the highest regard as I do, and will work towards ensuring the policy that passes the government is in the best interests of not only our future teachers but also the parents, carers, community and children whose future the government holds in their hands.

Thank you for your time and support.

Yours Sincerely

Tarquam Robinson

Initial teacher education – Part 3 & 4

  1. Methodology

One hundred first year education students were chosen to complete a short survey on the 01.05.13. The survey aimed to seek the opinions of future teacher graduates in relation to the proposed changes to teacher entry into university

  1. Findings

For the purpose of this report we surveyed one hundred first year education students at an unnamed university. Students were asked voluntarily to provide their pathway into university, age and three questions we selected based upon teacher entry into university. A comments section was also provided for those students who wished to elaborate on their view. The results overwhelmingly contrasted to one particular outlook.

The following results show that within this particular set of education students there is a particular sweep of adolescent students who are straight from high school. This included eighty-six students straight from high school, two from TAFE pathways to university and twelve mature age students from other walks of life.

The three questions surveyed were based on; will raising the OP level to twelve or higher create ‘better’ teachers, the second asked if the student believed that teachers should be in the top 30% for literacy and numeracy, and the third whether interviews prior to acceptance into a teaching degree may better determine the people that possess the temperament and skills required to be a teacher. The results from the first questions are extremely one sided with 36% of the class agreeing that the OP should be raised to 12 or higher, whilst 63% of the class strongly disagreed with the notion. Two of the students who completed the survey remarked, “Really smart people do not necessarily make good teachers”, whilst another student argued “I strongly believe that a good OP should be needed to study education with an OP between 1-10”.

Question two provided simular results that were very one sided, 68% of the class agreed that teachers should be in the top 30% for literacy and numeracy, whilst 32% argued against. Two students stated, “There are not enough standards in place for literacy. On placement my SBTE was very poor at spelling. How can students develop literacy if the teacher cannot spell”. Whilst another student specified, “Teachers must have literacy ability!”

Question three, an overwhelming 74% of students believed there must be interviews prior to university acceptance, whilst 26% argued against the proposed interviews. Some of the student comments included “Personality should be considered, they may not be as academic but they may be experienced emotionally and socially”.

These findings confirm that the government need to review its agendas prior to implementing its proposed policies and confirms that a majority agree that implementing an interview process is more suitable than raising OP levels.

Initial teacher education – Part 2

  1. Literature Review

The area of investigation examines teacher education criteria for entry, there are many agendas and policies which have different views and opinions on the matter.

All of the agendas and policies have similar goals; they all want Australian teachers to perform at their optimum level in order for students to achieve not only in school but also in society. (Australian Institute for Teaching and school leadership, National professional standards for teachers [AITSL], 2011) state that teachers have a large weight of preparing students for becoming valuable members of society in order to lead a prolific life.

While it’s known to all that teachers do influence students, many government officials and agendas are now in the process of raising entry levels into universities in order to produce higher educated teachers and in many minds, better teachers. (Review of teacher education and school induction, First report – Full report, 2010) stress that entry into a bachelor degree, or a combined degree would be based on a minimum of a 12 OP score or higher. In addition they also state that five year programs for pre-service teachers would have to include a bachelor degree plus a two year master degree or a double degree in studies that would lead to a master’s degree, whilst knowledge to teach literacy and numeracy is a must for all.

In contrast education minister Peter Garrett (“Garrett slammed on teacher standards,” 2012) states the best teachers he has met are not the most academically gifted but were fantastic teachers as they draw the most from their students and have a real drive to succeed and are passionate about what they do. In another interview (“Interview on teaching standards, Gonski, ABC News Breakfast with Michael Rowland,” 2013) he argues literacy and numeracy levels need to be at the correct level prior to university entry.  He explains that students would be assessed for literacy and numeracy early in their courses and that some universities already have this in place, this is to ensure the national goal of being in the top five performing nations by 2025. In addition he also believes that emotional intelligence testing should be in place for all universities, to see people’s willingness and suitability for teaching. As the quality of teachers ultimately determines the results the students achieve.  In agreement the (Better Schools a national plan for school improvement, higher standards for teacher training courses, 2011) state there should be interviews to ensure students have the emotional intelligence, resilience and commitment to teaching.

Other nation’s levels of entry do vary, as seen in Finland. Shown in the (Review of teacher education and school induction, First report – Full report, 2010) teaching in Finland in both secondary and primary education requires a minimum of a three year bachelor degree and a two year master’s degree. All potential applicants must also partake in a written exam, aptitude test and a personal interview prior to acceptance into the teaching degree.

It is without doubt that teachers need to be academic achievers. Although each political agenda has different opinions on the requirement to have interviews prior to university, all simultaneously agree that higher levels of literacy and numeracy are a must for all aspiring teachers. Due to the differences highlighted above, we will be investigating the opinions of 100 first year education students to seek the opinions of the future teachers of Australia