In this report there is a very refreshing feeling that it is the students who are driving the change, and that this study intends to “bridge the gap between student preferences and learning with the realities of the classroom”. In our fast changing globalised society, technology adoption by students plays a key role in shaping the future of education. Leading this change through “building capabilities within the profession” is the challenge of our time and this report provides exciting examples of Australian best practice. The highlights include:
- Flexible learning spaces are being embraced as ways that we reshape education into a more collaborative, interactive and technologically enabled practice.
- Use of peer-observation, group reflection and lesson analysis are key drivers of internal change and Roseworth PS – an Independent Public School in Perth – leads the change by utilising two one-way glass walled classrooms equipped with videorecording technology. Worthy of notice is also the fact that this “clinical observation” setup is the product of a University partnership.
- Online interactive platforms such as Moodle are being successfully utilised to reshape the way curriculum is developed, structured and delivered. Moreover, these technologies have also been successfully used to redefine the confines of the classroom through virtual learning space, multi-media integration and remote access to resources and feedback.
- Princes Hill Primary in Melbourne leads the change in terms of differentiation by using a combination of flexible learning spaces, or “learning neighbourhoods” as they call them, enquiry based learning, negotiated outcomes and technology to meet each student at his or her own level.
As these examples demonstrate, the key message of the report is that educational change is happening “now” and that there are important lessons to be learnt from these examples. To foster this change on a state-wide scale, the report’s “Blueprint For the Future” makes 15 thought-provoking propositions. To mention a few:
- Rethink facility planning to accommodate dynamic, technology-enabled learning models
- Adopt a clinical teaching, internship model of education as the standard for the nation
- Build a national clearing house for great ideas and programs in professional capacity building for teachers
- Develop strategic partnerships with the corporate and business sectors, and for international partnerships
Technology is not only redefining the demands of the teaching profession but also, when leveraged correctly, broadening the opportunities for school improvement. I am eager to witness the contagious nature of these changes.