[Offtopic] Teacher & School ICT wish-lists (3)

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Wed Feb 25 08:08:59 EST 2009

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


Monica Cleary <cleary.monica.m at edumail.vic.gov.au> 24 Feb 2009 [English]
What would I spend $$$ on in schools? 
I often wish for interactive whiteboard or similar facility in every 
classroom. I regularly, as do we all, have to suspend a collaborative 
activity in class where we might be compiling a sample to model a piece 
of writing on. This means that next class I have to rewrite the beginning 
of the piece again, otherwise it is too difficult to pick up where we 
left off, for me as well as the class.

Moving on to things that seem merely fantasy list items at present, a 
digital projector to hook up to laptop would open up possibilities I 
haven't even thought of at present. Where I work, my faculty resources 
are a long trek from where I teach, and I teach in nine different rooms. 

This makes having a range of stimulus material/resources at hand very 
difficult. We are, however, expected to have our laptops with us in every 
class, so having more flexibility in the ways we use them and more on 
board resources would mean that we could overcome the problems of not 
having hard copy items with us.

As hinted at in the latter suggestions, I don't even know what I would 
like, because of the lack of facilities at present. Perhaps another wish 
list item could be that the list can be added to after a period of 
experiencing new technology. I won't know till I have these basic 
functional problems sorted out!

Thanks for offering to compile this list, Cheers, Monica Cleary


ken price, kenjprice at gmail.com 24th Feb 09:35:25 EST 2009  [Yr7-10it] 

I think I'd try for a different approach.

Rather than extend the current model of schools providing computers to
students (an approach that began in the 70s and 80s when most families
did not have a computer, and where schools were the only practical owners
of ICT for education), I think I'd hope for a country where society
expects each student to have their own personal computng device as a
future member of a country with a 21st century economy.

They would NOT have this device given to them by the school, but would
own it themselves in the same way they own a uniform, books etc.  They
would own it and thus have the complete responsibility for ensuring it
works, charging its battery, updating its software, doing what else it
needs to keep functioning,  and carrying it with them. Just as they now
do with mobile phones, which seem to work remarkably well without the
assistance of armies of school IT support staff. And kids in general
don't vandalise or corrupt their phone, they reserve that activity for
things owned by others.

Kids in struggling financial situations would be covered in the same way
as they are now for books etc.

Before people scream in horror at the cost - I bought a name-brand
netbook at Christmas time from a large national chain store for under
$300 including their extended warranty. I think this would last maybe 2
to 3 years in an educational setting, so that's about $2 to $3 a week. 

After tax breaks this drops to a bit over a dollar a week or so.  It's
not out of the question for most families, and for those who find it
impossible it's within the realms of a federal fund to bring in some
equity. Well, far more realistic than giving schools the liability of
computers that they have to maintain.

As schools won't own these student-owned computers, they would have no
obligation to allocate resources to repair them. You break, you fix. Works
with mobile phones. In many ways, computers are the last thing schools
ought to own, as they present a management liability. There is a good
reason why fast-food restaurants and coffee shops increasingly provide
customers with broadband but not computers - who'd want to be responsible
for maintaining fleets of computers?

Schools/systems would be funded (and expected) to provide fast wireless
connectivity on site, storage and printing facilites, classroom facilites
(data projectors, etc) and maybe screens and keyboards for cases where
extended use might give rise to OHS issues. 

It is interesting that most students find school connectivity to be worse
than what they get at home on even the cheapest broadband plan. 

Possibly schools would have a small number of computers for specialised
tasks that are beyond the netbook type of device. And of course they'd
distribute educational sofware and provide online environments to support
learning within and outside the school. I think it goes without saying 
that they would provide a reason for students to use their computers as
part of their education (if not, there is no purpose to this discussion).

Theft you say? Ok, microwave ovens used to be THE thing for burglars to
steal. This was because they were expensive and not everyone had one. Now,
no crim would bother with a microwave (car GPS devices are apparently the
big-ticket itme for petty crims now). I literally could not give away a
microwave oven recently - they are now cheap, abundant and hence not worth
stealing. So the theft problem is very likely to decline significantly as
portable computers become more ubiquitous.

The current technical support model could be swung across to support and
enhance infrastructure for learning instead of dealing with break/fix

Teachers? Maybe they would be given a computing device as part of their

More important though is that employers would require teachers to be able 
to use it as part of their professional practice, as with most other
professions. No ifs, no buts. 

If we are serious about the importance of ICT in education (as expounded
in the Learning in an online World etc publications) then how can we
accept people opting out of this aspect of pedagogy? It's as if you get a
spinal injury and go to a hospital and see an MRI machine there, but the
doctors tell you they don't believe in them or don't know how to use it. 

Yes, this has PD imlpications, but at least the PD will be better used
than it has been in  the past 20-odd years, where much of the PD on ICT
use has not reached those who most need it.

Yes, this idea has flaws and would require a cultural shift. But cost-wise
it compares pretty well with other alternatives and might shift things
towards a sustainable learning culture which makes better use of ICT to
personalise and support learning, and which moves some of the obligations
off schools and frees them to do what they do best.

Might have some possibilites....  Ken (TASITE Tasmania)


Judith May ardle at westnet.net.au 24 Feb 2009 14:32 [Direct]

Hmm, a limitless ICT wish list, then we'd have 

Stereo touch screen whiteboards in all classrooms and a zippy connection

Any software we needed, with full time techies to install and maintain it.

That's it, after much effort our school's already got many things covered.


Stephen stephen at melbpc.org.au Sun, 22 Feb 2009 16:00:52 [Oz-teachers]  

risking being ancient.. ICT seems a restoration from when all we teachers
went from chalk-boards (some tactile works of art) to white-boards (messy
scrawly things with teacher permanent marker marks) and teaching lost out

and now it's an IWB etc back centre-stage, magic in comparison, programed
terms ahead, resourcing your world's best teaching and hi-quality student
led learning e-portfolios .. seems we've all won again, all Australia has

and certainly we agree, pd is essential; close & catered Twilight Forums
are always popular when ICTEV hold them, and, with .au online Elluminate
half-day sessions t'would seem an excellent way for Kevin to spend money


Cheers people
Stephen Loosley
Victoria Australia

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