Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Digital Education Revolution - where's the PD for staff?

Something which occurred to be whilst I was attending the Digital Education Symposium in Adelaide was that the Federal Government is spending $1.2 billion over five years as part of its Digital Education Revolution (DER) on hardware, infrastructure and resources - but has not really addressed the need to upskill and build capacity of educators in the use of ICT in education.

Part of the DER is:
"Working with States and Territories and the Deans of Education to ensure that new and continuing teachers have access to training in the use of ICT that enables them to enrich student learning."
But there's no real commitment or clear vision to across the board implementation and support of Professional Development (PD) or Training and Development (T&D) of staff.

So why is there a lack of commitment to produce the PD/T&D - the time - the energy - the resources - and the funding - for staff??

Is it:

- out of the Federal Government's 'jurisdiction' - education is a State/Territory responsibility under the Constitution - so does the Federal Government have no 'power' in the provision of training staff?

or is it:

- because this pot is far too hot to handle - thank you very much? Anyone who works in the area of professional development of staff in the area of ICT in education knows what a hard trolley it is to push!!

or is it:

- so much easier to measure how many computers and learning objects there are and how much faster internet connections have become than it is to measure the increased capacity of staff or the improved learning outcomes of students - will a
NAPLAN test be able to measure this?

And as reported by Ewan McIntosh in his account of the 2007 McKinsey Report earlier this year .... It's not about spending more money on resources to improve educational outcomes - it's about improving the abilities of our educators in their delivery of education.

"There are three key points to ... success:
  1. Getting the right people to become teachers
  2. Developing them into effective instructors
  3. Ensuring that the system is able to offer the best possible instruction for every child"
    I wonder if our Federal Education Minister - and her team - have read the McKinsey Report?

    I wonder how similar Australia's version of the McKinsey Report will look like in 5 years time?

    1 comment:

    RhysatWork said...

    A very interesting point you raise Allison. I can say that the teachers at Cleve Area School will be getting a little PD to start the ball rolling as part of the CEDAR project (see http://cedar-project.blogspot.com )I have already booked them in for a session on capturing and uploading photographic and video content next week. I was amazed on my first visit how much the computer skill levels vary from teacher to teacher. Many of the teachers I spoke to found the computer an enigma.

    At BJ Network Consulting Australia, we are in the process of putting together a series of sessions aimed at this PD gap which was filled nicely in the VET sector in the past by LearnScope.

    If anyone out there is interested in what we are planning they can feel free to contact me by going to my blog http://e-learning-central.blogspot.com