As we look to really transform our use of technology in our district, we're getting one clear message above all others (and there are plenty of messages: Mac vs. PC, open source vs. proprietary, web-based vs. local software, open access vs. greater restriction, etc.) and that is the need for serious training.
A study conducted by an Australian e-learning group shows that while many teachers use the Web, few are as confident as they should be in their use of computer technology. Worse, only a small minority are finding success at integrating the technology into the classroom.
The survey quizzed more than 1,100 educators, including teachers, tutors and principals and found that while 79 per cent said the internet was an essential part of their work only 36 per cent considered themselves proficient and confident.
An even smaller group (27 per cent) believed the internet was transforming the way they engaged their students within and beyond the classroom.
Educators cited a range of barriers to using online technologies including poor infrastructure and bandwidth, limited access to computers, limited confidence or expertise in computer technology and the increased blocking and filtering of internet content.
Geez, sounds familiar. I guess they really aren't so different down under.
The researchers made one particularly interesting point:
"Of course we need levels of protection, but we've got a generation of kids who are saying that they actually have to power down when they go to school," [Education.au chief executive Greg Black] said.
"My fear is not only that we're putting kids off learning, but we'll start to make governments question whether or not it's worth all the investment they're putting into the digital education revolution."
As most of us know, the technology is there to do some really incredible things both in and out of the classroom. Now we just need to find the time and resources to allow our teachers to exploit the tech.