[Offtopic] Teacher & School ICT wish lists (1)

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Tue Feb 24 02:04:08 EST 2009

Australian Teacher and School ICT related wish lists .. (part one)

Jeanie <gurgle1 at bigpond.com> 21 Feb 2009 23:24:37 [Oz-teachers]

Professional development on how to use the computer and create student's
work. Staff work together to make it happen then share and reflect
devising a new plan TOGETHER !!!  My thoughts, jeanie

Janette Wilmott <janette.wilmott at gmail.com> 22 Feb 2009 08:41:09 [Oz-t)

1, a technician to fix technology equipment when it doesn't work –
frustration will reduce technology use like nothing else;

2. a data projector (with sound amplifiers permanently mounted etc) on
the ceiling of  every classroom;

3. a laptop computer - Apple - for every teacher;
competent teacher-users of technology to individually assist other
teachers with ideas and technological support, so these teachers can
use technology to supplement their teaching strategies;

3. teachers given time off usual classroom teaching so this technology
learning - beginners, continuers, or advanced - can be undertaken;

4. teachers given continued technology support from
technology-proficient&forwarding-thinking-teachers whose specific role
it is to give this technology and ideas support. (These
technology-proficient&forwarding-thinking-teachers  will need to have
their teaching load reduced dramatically so they are available to
provide this professional development); and

5.then, if there was money over, would I provide the students with 
laptops. Thanks for the intended collation, Stephen  Janette

Chris Betcher 22 Feb 2009 09:34:52 +1100 [Oz-teachers]
Haven't most school systems been offering staff PD in "how to use the 
computer" for the past 25 years or so?  What makes you think that more of 
the same will be any different? What ELSE is missing ..... I think Jeanie
(above) is on the right track, Chris

Jeanie <gurgle1 at bigpond.com> 22 Feb 2009 07:59:31 +0900 [Oz-teachers]

Actually no one at my school has been offered (tech PD) and being in the 
rural areas opportunities are limited anyways. However having said that I 
haven’t asked because my needs are to make sure my literacy and numeracy 
teaching skills are supported in professional development. I have 
enrolled in an online support group through the dept of education in WA 
and have slowly been doing online units independently. This is through 
Det contact Denise Robins. I have also made a small effort thru the 
contacts Chris Betcher has given over time to read and try out for myself 
but really I am still in the infancy stage of this use of computers. My 
colleagues are the same and that is why technology use in schools isn’t 
as widely used. My thoughts, jeanie

Peter Ruwoldt <ruwoldtp at gmail.com> 22 Feb 2009 09:43:24 [Oz-teachers] 
There is evidence that the group staff training has limited value.  There 
is also evidence that the just in time learning is the way to go for 
teachers - provide the support as they need to use and apply it in their 
work..  This is still staff training.

Jason Clarke <JCL at gwsc.vic.edu.au> 22 Feb 2009 09:33:07 +1100 [Offtopic]
Hrm, getting the brain working on a Sunday morning is interesting.

Fibre to the desktop and making sure that there is about 20 points in
each and every room.
A network to support the above.
I wouldn't mind having a Petabyte of SAN here.
Xerox Docucenter copiers everywhere (or similar).
A 1Gbit/s internet connection.

An additional member of staff for IT support.
Replacement imaging software (Altiris) so that we can reduce the 'busy
work' we find ourselves doing.
Desktops with 4 year on-site warranties.
Management software for printers, servers etc so that we become more
proactive rather than reactive.
Toshiba Portege's for everyone.
IWB's with ShortThrow projectors in every classroom with DVD/VHS and TV

There's probably more but the coffee hasn't kicked in yet. Regards,
Jason Clarke Network Manager Glen Waverley S.C.

Barbara Braxton <barbara.288 at bigpond.com> 22 Feb 2009 10:46:22 [Oz-t]

Interesting but not surprising that the human elements of professional 
learning and technology support are coming before hardware provision.  
Teachers may know how to use a computer per se, but they are still 
wanting ways to embed the use of the various applications into their 
programs.  This was confirmed again in workshops I was involved in just 
this Thursday and Friday.

Access to professional learning in rural areas remains an issue.  At 
these workshops in Wangaratta, Victoria we had teachers from as far away 
as South Australia and Central NSW, and I suspect the geographical spread 
will be similar for the next ones next week in Tamworth.  At the 
workshops I heard of a couple of programs where specialist teachers are 
employed to teach the children in a number of small schools over the 
course of a week, possibly as part of the release timetable.  In this 
case it was a teacher librarian and an art teacher, but perhaps this 
concept could be extended to include an ICT coach.  

However, instead of being part of the release program, this coach would 
work alongside the teacher. The coach would collaborate with the teacher 
to understand the work they are doing in the class, then set up 
demonstration-type lessons of how ICT could be embedded into these and 
then leaving a integrated follow-up task to be completed before the next 
visit.  That way the understandings and skills are taught in a context, 
they are at the level-of-need of the particular teacher and enhance the 
curriculum rather than adding yet another thing to teach.

I have seen this ICT-coach model work very successfully in a large city 
school (where his ‘travel’ was around the classrooms rather than a rural 
district) but it wouldn’t take a lot of imagination to make it work in 
rural and remote areas.

Teachers also want a critical mass of hardware to use and be available 
when and where they need it.  There is nothing more detrimental than 
having to schedule a visit to a lab for a certain block of time and then 
move the kids and teach something virtually in isolation for 60 mins (or 
whatever) and then up sticks and head back to class.  If we want both 
teachers and students to use the hardware as the tool it should be, then 
we need to put enough hardware with appropriate software into every class 
from kindergarten up.  Kids start using computers from a very early age 
(before they even go to school if it is available in the home) and this 
must be acknowledged and supported.  

We also have to get rid of scope and sequence charts because the 
technology and needs are developing faster than such charts can be 
written let alone used.  We can’t be teaching them something in Yr 6 or 
Yr 8 that they have probably already mastered when they were much 
younger.  We need to focus on just-in-time learning rather than just-in-
case.  If you kindergarten class needs to know how to use a digital 
camera for a particular project, teach them.  Have a look at this wiki 
created by Kindergarten students 

For many reasons, what has been done in the past 25 years has not yet 
brought about the degree of change expected or desired, so we need to 
examine why not and how we can fix it.  And those of us used to city 
experience cannot, for one moment, think that our experiences are 
typrical of our regional, rural and remote colleagues. Barbara

Chris Betcher <chris at betcher.org> 22 Feb 2009 13:16:58 +1100 [Oz-teachers]
Jean, Again, with respect, (and this is not directed at you... I know 
that PD is a much more tricky proposition for those in country or remote 
areas, but seriously, your city brethren tell me exactly the same 
story!  "If only we had more PD opportunities").   But you have struck a 
nerve with something I feel quite passionate about.

I'm sorry, but computers have now been an integral part of the 
educational landscape in Australian schools since AT LEAST the mid 80s.  

Personal computers were starting to appear in school when I did my 
student teaching pracs back in 1983 and 84.  Personal computers 
themselves have been around since the mid 1970s.  I struggle to 
understand how anyone can still be at "the infancy stage" of using 

In that time, there is not a school I know of that has not put computers 
in.  Sometimes in large numbers and sometimes in small, sometimes in 
labs, sometimes in classrooms, sometimes by going 1-to-1 laptops.  Some 
embrace technology as a regular part of the way they do business, and 
others tend to dabble more with it.  However, I seriously doubt there is 
a school anywhere in Australia that has not adopted some level of 
technology implementation in the last 20+ years.

This hardware did not "just appear".  In most cases it was put in by 
school systems - state education systems, catholic dioceses, independent 
schools, etc -  with at least some consideration about and attempt at 
providing some level of training and professional development.  I have 
sat on a number of advisory committees over the years, ICT committees, 
and even some independent consulting, to try and ensure that teachers - 
all teachers - have some level of access to appropriate professional 
development and training in the use of ICT.    Over these last 20+ years 
there have been millions of dollars spent by various educational bodies 
to make sure that PD is available to teachers.  To the best of my 
knowledge, all state and catholic school systems have offered regular 
training and PD courses in technology use (as well as literacy, numeracy 
and many other areas)  There IS professional develpment available.  

As someone who has spent the last 15+ years trying to help teachers 
understand and use technology better in their classrooms, often 
experiencing workshops that are poorly attended or cancelled due to lack 
of numbers, I find it exasperating to hear people complain that 
they "need more PD", as though they have had little opportunity to get 
it.  I also worked for an educational ICT training company at one point 
that offered very good training at very reasonable pricing, and you'd be 
amazed at how many sessions we planned, and then cancelled, due to 
insufficient numbers.

I constantly hear people use this "if only I could get more PD" thing and 
it makes me annoyed because it's SUCH an excuse.  PD has been available 
in spades over the last 2 decades.  Most people have not taken advantage 
of it.  It's easier to say "i don't have time" and then wish they had 
more opportunities.

If, as you say, no one in your school has been offered PD, you need to 
start screaming at whoever is responsible for providing it.  The DET and 
CEO and AIS have an obligation to provide it, and as far as I'm aware, 
they generally do.

All of that aside, what's to stop people learning on their own?  With 
personal networking tools like email lists, blogs, podcasts, twitter, 
etc, etc, etc, I'm at a complete loss to understand how anyone could 
still be struggling for help to learn how to use this stuff.  There is 
more information available out there than anyone can deal with...  to say 
that people need more PD, in the sense that are waiting for someone to 
come along and spoon feed it to them, is a cop out, and a poor example of 
life long learning.  PS...

I should also point out that in most other professions outside teaching,
it is the individual's responsibility to stay current with professional
growth and training.  Doctors, engineers, lawyers, computer programmers,
business professionals, and so on, do not generally get PD and training
provided to them by their employer.  Most of these other professionals
take personal responsibility for staying up to date with new developments
in their field... they do it mostly on their own time, and at their own

They attend conferences, go to workshops, read widely, and network with
others as a way of staying up to date.  To not do so makes there services
less valuable, and they slowly become unemployable.

Teachers, in most cases, are able to attend PD provided by their employer
or school system, with the cost usually covered, and often in school
time.  In fact, whenever I run PD workshops, it's generally accepted that
most teachers do not want to stay beyond about 3:30pm, since that's when
school is over.

Part of the problem is that there is no absolute requirement for teachers
to stay up to date... whether they do it or not, they still have a job to
go to on Monday, regardless of how far behind they might be with some of
these basic technology skills.

With regard to training and PD, I think it's time some of us stopped
living in lala land and realised how damn lucky we are to get what we get.

Trish Wade dtwade at tpg.com.au 22 12:47:20 EST 2009 [Oz-teachers]

Dear Chris and everyone, I have to agree with Chris.
I recently offered to organise and run a couple of after-school,
one-hour workshops.  Quite a few staff indicated they were keen to
participate, but when it came to the afternoons of the workshops, almost
a third did not show up.  To add insult to the rudeness, a few even
asked if I could run sessions again at a later date!
Over the past few years, this type of thing has happened over and over.
I often wonder how these people would feel if their time, effort and
professionalism were treated in a similar way.  
Why do we continue?  Because the teachers and staff that do turn up are
very grateful and usually run with it.Trish


Judith Hewton judith.h at aanet.com.au Feb 22 13:17:07 EST [Oz-teachers]

I agree with Chris. 
As a volunteer offering PD in the gifted education area I am amazed when 
people say they need more training, but they won't attend unless it's in 
school time. I know there's more to life, there's always a few who'll 
attend, but on the whole my experience is that teachers (and admin) 
won't. Gifted education has also been in force (though not widely 
implemented in spite of the 10% gifted notion that puts 400 000 gifted 
students in Australian schools) with a strong empirical research base 
since the 1980s.

Likewise I am amazed every time a school rings me saying they have a 
gifted student and asking what they might do about it...  Judith


Peter Macinnis petermacinnis at ozemail.com.au 22 14:37:10 [Oz-teachers] 

Time, perhaps, for a snippet of anecdotage.

I was involved in running inservice on the use of AV in the days before
the Whitlam government got in. Back in those dismal days, we lived in
cardboard boxes, had to fight off dinosaurs in the playground and got no
funding for inservice. Teachers paid fees to attend courses which ran in
the weekends. That meant we only got the enthusiastic, keen, creative
ones, and we all had a ball, presenters and participants alike.

Post-Whitlam, with scads of funding, all of the non-participant teachers
saw people getting days of relief for inservice. They demanded their
share, but the atmosphere was different.  The whole ethos  of joy in
learning was lost, but a wise man called Peter Robinson offered us a
guiding principle: "if teachers go away knowing how to make a new
teaching aid with two drinking straws and a rubber band," he said,
"then they will go away happy".

 From there, we set out always to have our simple gadget, our gimmick,
the device that captivated, but we used it with cunning, hanging the
deeper ideas and skills off it. In the process of playing with the
gimmick, the participants generally picked up some unexpected fleas.

I think that has sufficiently mixed the metaphor: do with it what you
will.  I suggest that some staff development plans are too ambitious.
Aim low and sneak the bar up while nobody's looking.

Anne Mcgrath <amcgrath at chairo.vic.edu.au>23 Feb 2009 11:30:[Oz-teachers] 

Janette, Your ideas are completely in line witn my thinking. Reading
through the responses of others, the idea of buddies occurred to me. We
have a small group of teachers, one from each level who meet regularly. 

The idea is that they spread the word and work with others at their level
but a formal buddy system might have merit. Ann


Greta Caruso <Caruso.G at kingswoodcollege.vic.edu.au> 23 Feb 2009 [English]

I would spend $400 per child on the One Lap Top Per Child 


program which would mean that for every child in my school that received
a laptop, one child in a third world country would receive a lap top. 

Then I would try to have all the donated laptops go to one school or
location, the set up a camera, satellite feed, internet phone connection.
Then I would have the kids and the teachers in the third world country
teach me and my students a thing or two  Bye, Greta

Bryn Jones <bryn.jones99 at gmail.com> 23 Feb 2009 13:52:56 [Oz-teachers] 

Hi all, Interesting discussion.

We had a similar discussion around a blog post a while ago

Things that make a difference


I used the list as the basis for my Master's research. You might like to 
look at it and the comments and make some suggestions there. Regards Bryn


Cheers people
Stephen Loosley
Victoria australia



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