Reflections on ACCE2016 conference (Brisbane, Sept – Oct 2016)

  • The acceptance of online courses as a formal professional learning approach for teachers appears to be more mainstream in some other States than in Tasmania. While DoE offers online courses, the traditional face to face model appears to be more mainstream. For example 2,500 Qld teachers have engaged with their “Developing our Teachers in STEM” online PD, with another 1100 about to start.
  • National support for the Australian Curriculum Technologies curriculum (and in particular the Digital Technologies curriculum) is already strong and there are more initiatives on the way such as additional MOOC professional learning, a national technology loan scheme and a set of coding competitions. Tasmanian schools will benefit from the nationally-developed resources, and schools should include these resources in their planning for Digital Technologies.
  • A number of sessions at this event highlighted the value of collaboration between education systems/schools and other organisations such as museums, universities and schools in other countries. While many schools do indeed engage in such activity there seems to be potential for this to be systematised or at least supported and promoted formally by the agency.
  • Many of the people and organisations working in digital technologies in education make their materials available through open licensing. This approach is being implemented across DoE and should allow us to more readily contribute to a growing collection of knowledge, research and resources while also drawing on the work of others. Highlighting this value and the philosophy behind it would be strategically useful.
  • Workforce development for supporting Digital Technologies implementation is an emerging issue. Many universities no longer offer a computing specialisation in their teacher preparation degrees (due to low enrolments), and jurisdictions are looking at alternative models to prepare existing teachers to deliver this curriculum.