Trends in the Use of Technology in Australian Schools
In a bid to prepare students for competing favorably in the digital world, the Australian Government has supported the use of technology in Australian schools. Consequently, schools in Australia have not been left behind in the quest for consolidating the use of technology in teaching and learning.
Australian Schools – Microsoft’s Innovative Schools Program
Several schools in Australia have spearheaded the use of technology in their curriculum. This led to the selection of seven Australian schools to participate in Microsoft’s Worldwide Innovative Schools program in 2011. Microsoft’s Worldwide Innovative Schools program involves helping teachers and leader schools on the effective use of technology in teaching and learning. Under Worldwide Innovative Schools program, Different schools get different titles mirroring their contributions in using technology in their curriculum. The title ‘Mentor school’ is for schools that have an effective schools program which aids students in learning and in demonstrating their technological knowledge. There is also the ‘Path finder’, which is for schools that have demonstrated peerless efforts in coming up with innovative school programs. Some of the Australian schools that have been crowned with the aforementioned titles include; Varsity College and Hermit Park State school, Dallas Primary school, Victoria and Taroona High School, Silverton Primary School, Newton Moore Senior School, among many others.
The Australian government and the Australian schools have taken laudable steps in ensuring that the use of technology in learning and teaching bears fruits. Despite the debates elicited by the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, its benefits within the schools that have adopted it continue to silence the naysayers. The National Assessment Program (NAP) online is one of the move by the Australian government to modernize the use of technology in schools. This online assessment will have various merits like increased accuracy in measuring student achievement, quicker results and increased accessibility. Territory, State and Federal Ministers for Education have initiated the National Schools Interoperability Program (NSIP). This program is aimed at improving the access of digital learning system and information by improving on digital learning infrastructure nationally. Via National Digital Learning Resource Network, which is under the umbrella of National Schools Interoperability Program, Australian Schools have benefited from over 50, 000 high quality resources.
Bring your Own Device Policy
According to the 2013 Australian School Library Survey, conducted by Softlink, one third of Australian schools encourage students to bring their own device. The department of Education and Communities in NSW has a formal Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for the first time in 2014. Students in most public high schools in years 8 and 9 are encouraged to bring a tablet, an iPad or a laptop if they missed out in a government laptop.
Other Forms of technology used in Australia schools
Electronic Whiteboards, Cameras, Software
The use of technology in learning and teaching accommodates the wide range of students, and presents unparalleled opportunities for interaction with both the learning devices and fellow students. A range of software and photographic devices presents students with countless ways of expressing their creativity and talents, and opportunities to collaborate.
The Victorian Education Department is championing virtual classes in the use of technology in Australian schools. With virtual classroom, the need for going to certain classes will be a distance memory, as student and teacher are able to communicate via use of electronic media such as chat and video conferencing. Virtual classrooms not only enable real-time communication but also facilitate the students taking the class at different times.
Impact of the use of technology in Australian schools
Learning and teaching across Australia has changed significantly because of using technology in the classroom. Below are some the benefits of technology in Australian Schools:
Teacher have reported and increased motivation in schools that have adopted technology in their learning process. The use of technology expounds on some subject better. For example is would be easier for a student to understand how muscles move on a video than reading it in a textbook. This not only results in motivation but also vivid comprehension.
The use of technology has created the need for teachers to collaborate and sharpen their skills and knowledge on how technology can best help then in their teaching.
Technology has brought convenience and flexibility second to none because students can now use the technology to study within and outside classroom. Teachers also enjoy the convenience of easy compilation of a student’s achievement profiles thanks to the use of technology in Australian schools.
Information is readily available for both students and teachers. There are tools and resources to foster better usage of learning online. For example, The Australian Communication and Media authority that is offering teacher, students and parents’ cyber safety resources.