Home' Teacher : November 2009 Contents The 'digital education revolution' promises
to put Australian schools at the forefront of
21st- century learning by providing students
with access to their ow n portable one-to-
One-to-one programs offer the potential
for students to experience unlimited learn-
ing opportunities anytime, anywhere, in
ways that are relevant, engaging and suited
to their individual learning styles, and which
extend learning beyond the traditional
school day in ways that were never possible
with traditional computer laboratories.
The one-to- one approach is a very dif-
ferent paradigm to the traditional model
of schooling and requires a major cultural
shift. While there are some clear logistical
challenges in getting hardware into stu-
dents' hands effectively, it's hardly revolu-
tionary. Technology is the part most people
are focusing on, but it's really the easy part.
The real revolution is happening in the
classroom, where teachers are leveraging
the potential of the technology. Success will
depend on how they approach this change.
Everything else is just noise.
There are three factors that are critical
if we want effective change: teachers who
are confident to be inquisitive explorers of
technology; teachers who are supported by
appropriately balanced professional devel-
opment; and teachers who are comfortable
in taking small steps for incremental change.
Look at how students approach and use
technology at home and at school. They
experiment; they take risks; they're not
afraid to make mistakes because the tech-
nology will let them try again; they share
experiences; and they follow their interests.
Basically, it's a try, try again approach.
Good teachers are always looking to
improve. They try new things. They notice
what works and what doesn't work. Things
that work well are kept until a better way is
available. Things that don't are reinvented or
dropped. It's a try, try again approach as well.
Put the two together and it looks like
there's a good fit between teachers and
technology, but there's a slight problem:
traditional approaches to schooling require
teachers to be cautious, correct and always
in control. We need to shift that if we're to
enable teachers to engage with technology
through experimentation and making mis-
takes. The role of a contemporary teacher
is to model good learning within a frame-
work that is increasingly asking students to
learn, unlearn and relearn. In the case of
technology, this includes having a go, fail-
ing, changing the approach and adapting.
The focus of a contemporary pedagogi-
cal designer is shifting from content to
process. Put otherwise, the contemporary
teacher creates conditions in which students
become expertlearners. This means provid-
ing constructive, meaningful and rich learn-
ing experiences in a context where student
technical skills are unlimited and varied.
Teaching the same content in the same way,
in the same place and at the same time is an
outdated and inefficient model.
Content is still important, but content
can come from a variety of sources with
varying levels of integrity.
44 TEACHER NOVEMBER 2009
SURE, WE RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A DIGITAL EDUCATION REVOLUTION,
BUT THE MOST EFFECTIVE CHANGE IS EVOLUTIONARY NOT
REVOLUTIONARY, SAYS JANE MACKARELL.
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