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Research Summary 3: Teacher PD in ICT

April 5, 2010 1 comment

bash shell

That teacher quality is a major influence on student learning is generally accepted (ACER, 2005; ACT DET, 2009). Beyond pre-service training and previous education, continuing professional development (PD) is one of the major tools available to influence teacher quality. PD is a successful instrument to implement educational reform and importantly, improve student outcomes (CCA, 2008; QLD DET, 2010; Robinson, 2008). The rapid pace of change which typifies the ICT landscape, combined with the huge potential afforded by truly engaging with the technologies makes ICT-related PD a critically important element of curriculum reform.

The broad aim of this review is “to find out why it is that, despite considerable resources being dedicated to developing the use of ICT in schools in recent years, there is a lack of impact on teachers’ everyday practice”(Becta, 2009. p.4). Of particular interest is the shift from away from PD for re-tooling towards a pedagogical focus, and challenges in implementing such change. Where appropriate, I have written with a focus on recent developments in Australia.

Is there a problem?

The issue of ICT teacher PD in Australia is very current due to new education reform policy relating to ICT, the so-called Digital Education Revolution (DER). The recent announcement of $40 million funding for a ‘Digital Strategy for Teachers and School Leaders’ is an indication that PD will be used as an instrument to effect change in teaching practices to support implementation of the DER policy (DEEWR, 2010; Gillard, 2010). The trends in teacher ICT use warrant this action, as according to 2008 survey results only 28% of Australian primary and secondary teachers are making effective use of ICT (Black, 2008; education.au, 2008a,b,c). This disappointing statistic is attributed to “a lack of investment in providing teachers with the techniques and strategies to use computers in their classrooms (Black, 2008)” and as such, Gillard’s announcement is, broadly speaking, an informed response to policy advice.

Challenges in ICT PD

There are numerous challenges in providing teachers with effective PD which are peculiar to ICT and it’s implementation in the classroom. Superficial issues such as lack of time and ease of access to technology are frequently cited, despite the emphasis on access to hardware that has been observed over the past decade (Becta, 2009; Strategic ICT Advisory Service [SICTAS], 2009). Further, due to the fast pace of change in ICT and students’ rapid adoption rates, there is a perception that teachers are being left behind (SICTAS, 2009).

The flurry of activity to address this perceived skills deficit has failed on a number of fronts. Firstly, the typical model for PD through infrequent, one-off courses, is inadequate for mastery of new skills (Becta, 2009; SICTAS, 2009). Secondly, and of fundamental concern, is that a re-tooling approach to ICT PD simply misses the point (Becta, 2009; Prestridge, 2010; SICTAS, 2009): “The separation of how to use the technology in education from why it should be used is a major issue” (SICTAS, 2009, p.21). In the rush to ensure teachers are keeping up with students, administrators have neglected pedagogical concerns despite the fact that is “very evident that a focus on skills is not sufficient to help teachers to develop their pedagogy” (Becta, 2009, p.6). These issues are compounded by negative teacher attitudes towards technology and change (Phelps & Graham, 2008; SICTAS, 2009).

Where do we go?

If our definition of effective use of ICT by teachers is that of transforming practice to engage students in new ways (education.au, 2008a), then surely our model for PD must reflect this. The features of successful or idealised models of ICT PD all centre around a “move from ‘re-tooling’ with infrequent curriculum integration to a model that will enable teachers to see the ‘transforming’ possibilities of ICT” (Prestridge, 2010, p.252), promoting a introspective profession focused on pedagogical concerns.

To achieve this, PD must be continuous, necessitating a rethink of our current short-course approach to PD provision (SICTAS, 2009). The claim that “teachers need to be at the centre of their own learning if they are to change their deep-seated beliefs and habits regarding the use of technology” (Becta, 2009, p.6) forms a common theme (MacDonald, 2008; Prestridge, 2010; SICTAS,2009). MacDonald (2008) notes that 90% of teachers cite colleagues as their primary source of professional learning, in developing his argument for a collaborative, collegial approach to PD; another common theme (Becta, 2009; Prestridge 2010; SICTAS,2009). A range of models have been suggested, including; the Community of Practice (MacDonald, 2008); pre-service/in-service teacher mentoring dyads (Robertshaw, Leary, Walker, Bloxham, & Recker, 2009); students acting as teacher PD mentors (Ingham, 2008); and collaborative groups using ICT (Prestridge, 2010; Robinson, 2008).

I see great value in the Communities of Practice (CoP) model discussed by MacDonald (2008), arguing for the development of “persistent, sustained social network[s] of individuals who share and develop an overlapping knowledge base, set of beliefs, [and] values” (MacDonald, 2008, p.430). This model ticks all the boxes; it is by definition collaborative; focused on teacher needs; and ongoing.  CoP encourages teacher reflection, a vital component of engaging with pedagogical (not just skill-based) concerns. MacDonald also highlights the benefits of a synergistic relationship between education researchers and teachers working together in a CoP. This model promotes the idea that PD facilitators (or education researchers) form a vital part of a CoP, with heightened importance at the inception, asking probing questions to give direction, yet not taking ownership of learning. This model is that of a quality teacher in a constructivist classroom, broadly steering a course, yet allowing enquiry to be the engine of group learning. It is quite remarkable that education administrations which promote this model for learning in schools, are yet to embrace it for professional learning.

Prestridge’s (2010) contribution to the literature is also valuable, not only through an evaluation of using ICT to facilitate a CoP, but further, elucidating the dual role of discussion in this model. She attributes the development of a community to collegial discussion, a vital yet uncomfortable co-requisite to critical discussion, the element of a CoP which can effect change in teachers’ pedagogical beliefs. Prestridge acknowledges the natural tension between collegiality and critique in a CoP, but highlights the necessity for both in transforming attitudes to technology and pedagoigcal beliefs.

Further challenges.

In Australia, there is a move to impose national teacher ICT proficiency standards (DEEWR, 2010; DEST, 2002; SICTAS, 2009) as an instrument to effect policy change:

The slow progress in the uptake of ICT in education requires additional strategies and more accountability. National teacher standards are needed to match the new national curriculum and ensure that we achieve a critical mass in the incorporation of ICT in education. (SICTAS, 2009).

Such a top-down, accountability approach is at odds with a learner-centred, bottom-up approach to teacher PD. This conflict between the constructivist approach to curriculum and teacher PD (Prestridge & Watson, 2002) based on accountability to low-level competencies is absurd. Similarly, the simultaneous desire for small-scale, collaborative, Communities of Practice engaging in professional learning based on teacher needs; and a set of national proficiency standards, is untenable. Perhaps, the ability to measure teacher ICT skills is too tempting for administrators, yet the effect on encouraging meaningful, pedagogical professional development, is quite destructive.

Conclusions

That it is necessary to shift away from ICT-skills centred PD, towards reflective, pedagogically focused learning, is clear. Unless we, as teachers, can justify using ICT and make pedagogical changes to enhance student outcomes, then efforts to ‘teach’ ICT will be superficial. Embracing a Communities of Practice model for ICT PD incorporates the ubiquitous recommendations; that ICT PD should be collaborative; ongoing; focused on teacher needs;and facilitate critical discussion amongst colleagues. Further, it embraces a learner-centred, constructivist approach consistent with our best-practice models for schooling.  Yet, such bottom-up approaches are jeopardised by the desire of administrators to use standards-based accountability systems to ensure a consistent implementation of education policy. This desire to wield this stick is disappointing and surprising given that the carrot (increased student engagement and outcomes) is so juicy.


Is there a problem?

The issue of ICT teacher PD in Australia is very current due to new policy relating to ICT in education, such as the Digital Education Revolution (DER). The recent announcement of $40 million funding for a ‘Digital Strategy for Teachers and School Leaders’ is an indication that PD will be used as an instrument to effect change in teaching practices to support implementation of the DER policy (DEEWR, 2010; Gillard, 2010). The trends in teacher ICT use warrant this action, as according to 2008 survey results only 28% of Australian primary and secondary teachers are making effective use of ICT (Black, 2008; education.au, 2008a,b,c). This disappointing statistic is attributed to “a lack of investment in providing teachers with the techniques and strategies to use computers in their classrooms (Black, 2008)” and as such, Gillard’s announcement is an informed response to policy advice.

Challenges in ICT PD

There are numerous challenges in providing teachers with effective PD which are peculiar to ICT and it’s implementation in the classroom. Superficial issues such as lack of time and ease of access to technology are frequently cited, despite the emphasis on access to hardware that has been observed over the past decade (Becta, 2009; Strategic ICT Advisory Service [SICTAS], 2009). Further,due to the fast pace of change in ICT, and rapid adoption rate by students, there is a perception that teachers are being left behind (SICTAS, 2009).

The flurry of activity to address this perceived skills deficit has failed on a number of fronts. Firstly, the typical model for PD through infrequent, one-off courses has proven to be inadequate to master new skills (Becta, 2009; SICTAS, 2009). Secondly, and of greater concern, is that a re-tooling approach to ICT PD simply misses the point (Becta, 2009; Prestridge, 2010; SICTAS, 2009): “The separation of how to use the technology in education from why it should be used is a major issue”(SICTAS, 2009, p.21). In the rush to ensure teachers are keeping up with students, administrators have neglected pedagogical concerns despite the fact that is “very evident that a focus on skills is not sufficient to help teachers to develop their pedagogy” (Becta, 2009, p.6). These issues are compounded by negative attitudes towards technology and change (Phelps & Graham, 2008; SICTAS, 2009).

Where do we go?

If our definition of effective use of ICT by teachers is that of transforming practice to engage students in new ways (education.au, 2008a), then surely our model for PD must reflect this. The features of successful or idealised models of ICT PD all centre around a “move from ‘re-tooling’ with infrequent curriculum integration to a model that will enable teachers to see the ‘transforming’ possibilities of ICT” (Prestridge, 2010,p.252), promoting a introspective profession focused on peadgogical concerns.

To achieve this PD must be continuous, necessitating a rethink of our current short-course approach (SICTAS, 2009). The claim that “teachers need to be at the centre of their own learning if they are to change their deep-seated beliefs and habits regarding the use of technology” (Becta, 2009, p.6) forms a common theme (Becta, 2009; MacDonald, 2008; Prestridge, 2010; SICTAS,2009). MacDonald (2008) notes that 90% of teachers cite colleagues as their primary source of professional learning in developing his argument for a collaborative, collegial approach to PD; another common theme (Becta, 2009; Prestridge 2010; Robertshaw et al. 2009; SICTAS,2009).

I see great value in the Communities of Practice model discussed by MacDonald (2008).

Qauntitative data!

April 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Graph

Image source: http://crappygraphs.com/


Back in October, 2008, Education.au published some market research data on educators’ use of ICT. The executive summary provides a concise overview (as it should) however, the stats reported are combined from all four sectors studied (primary, secondary, vocational and higher education). I am more interested in ICT use in primary and secondary schools and and such, sifted through the data in the relevant sections of the extended report. References provided at the bottom of this post.

Sure, the data’s is getting a little old, but is still of interest as it is (a) Australian; (b) reports on primary & secondary teachers; and (c) is based on teacher self-assesment rather than an external skills measure. The combination of these factors make it noteworthy …. and as such, I will make some notes :p

I have collated data for primary and secondary teachers only. As such the figures I present here will differ from those found in the executive report or used in other education.au literature . The data is based on surveys of ~280 primary and secondary teachers (216 primary, 67 secondary) from Australia.

The Good News

Percentage of teachers using internet every day: 87%

…and the Bad News

Results of ICT capability self rating

  • Not applicable for my role
    • 3%
  • Foundation – developing my ICT skills
    • 5%
  • Emergent – using ICT to support teaching and learning
    • 25%
  • Proficient – confident in use of ICT to support learning outcome
    • 39%
  • Transforming practice – new ways of engaging students
    • 28%

education.au CEO, Greg Black describes only those teachers who are transforming practice, as being effective users of ICT. This is a fair assessment. If pedagogy is not changing in response to technology, either (a) the use of technology is ‘cosmetic’ and doesn’t address the different approaches to learning afforded or demanded by the technology; or (b) our existing pedagogical approach was so perfect that no change in response to technology is required. bah!

In a vodcast on education.au, Greg Black attributes the lack of effective ICT use by educators to

a lack of investment in providing teachers with the techniques and strategies to use computers in their classrooms. (Black, 2008)

The way I read it, this statement calls not only for an investment in teacher professional development, but further, PD which addresses pedagogical skills, not merely technological skills.


Tankette?

April 2, 2010 Leave a comment

toy tanks
Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mayu/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Tankette: “a mini think tank”.(education.au, 2009) Thanks for your valuable contribution to our indreasingly jargonistic language.

This comes from a report from education.au titled “Teacher professional learning: Planning for change”.  The report forms the basis of a series of policy recommendations targeted at DEEWR policy advisors. The report calls for evidenced based policy to reform teacher PD such that they can play an effective role in the Digital Education Revolution (DER). Based on examination of PD, review of  factors influencing teachers capabilities to apply ICT, an analysis of barriers to implementation of ICT.

Background

Due to rapid changes in technologies and that teachers are already ‘behind’ in regards to ICT skills, inevitably, too much time is spent on skills at the cost of focusing on pedagogy. The authors claim that despite this skills focus,

educators do not need skills and knowledge of a wide range of technologies in order to effectively apply ICT to teaching and learning. (p.21)

The report gets to the crux of the issue, amazingly without the use of the word ‘pedagogy’… but it’s implied 🙂

The separation of how to use the technology in education from why it should be used is a major issue. (p.21)

What are the barriers to ICT PD?

  • fast pace of change in ICT
  • lack of time for PD
  • negative attitudes to technology and change (teachers need to be convinced of the benefits of ICT)

Challenging the structure and format of current PD programs is important, especially given the amount of financial and political investment. The widely used structure for PD featuring a calendar of one-off short courses are convenient to administer yet do not deliver results. The short duration and finite nature of this kind of PD experience limits learning over time and mastery of skills.Not only do they fail to provide effective change in terms of ICT skills, they are incapable of providing the depth of continued engagement required for pedagogical reform. This issue is compounded by the fact that many ICT PD courses are delivered by IT experts, with little insight into appropriate pedagogy.

Documenting the failures of the current system is an important step in designing a new structure for PD which can deliver on teachers’ needs. A learning communities based approach is suggested, resonating with the communities of practice model discussed in some of my other posts on this topic. Yet at the same time, the authors call for further collaboration at a national level, and the imposition of national teacher ICT proficiencies and an accompanying assessment and reporting process. In my mind, this top-down accountability approach is at odds with a learner-centered bottom-up approach to teacher PD. The benefits of the communities of practice model flow from the shared construction of direction and knowledge. It is hard to imagine how this will not be undermined, let alone be supported, by accountability measures imposed on a national scale.

The slow progress in the uptake of ICT in education requires additional strategies and more accountability. National teacher standards are needed to match the new national curriculum and ensure that we achieve a critical mass in the incorporation of ICT in education in order to develop students well prepared to participate fully in the modern world of work. (p.10)

The rest of the report continues in this vein. Calls to

individualise learning, engage in deeper learning and empower the learner to take responsibility for their learning. (p.23)

strike discordantly with the concept of competency’s based accountability. Further, as stated in the report, most ICT accounatbility frameworks focus on low-level competencies, competnecies which we have unanimously described as less importance than pedagogical concerns.

One of the tankette participants, Cecilie Murray, called for

teacher accountability through capability audits (p.65).

(though I must stress that this was from a transcript of the think-tank, and didn’t form the basis of the report’s reccomendations)

There is increasing interest in encouraging teacher professional development by rewarding superior performance. There is a complementary interest in specifying more clearly what constitutes good practice in teaching, and a growing rejection of the notion that teachers can base their teaching practices on personal preferences rather than evidence-based practice. (p.68)

Yes, I agree that evidence based pratice is laudable, for scientists, for teachers, and for policy design. Yet there is plenty of evidence suggesting that accountability measures linked to learning benchmarks are counter productive. Why then should we base policy frameworks on political imperatives rather than pedagogical imperatives. We know this isn’t agood way for our students to learn, why then should we expect improvements in teachers’ ICT proficiency under these measures?


$40million for ICT PD in Australia.

April 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Julia Gillard

Image source :http://www.flickr.com/photos/publik16/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Back in February this year, Julia Gillard announced a $40 million ‘Digital Strategy for Teachers and School Leaders’ package to support teacher PD in ICT.

The Government will consult with education sectors to determine how ICT proficiency can best be achieved in schools and the first part of the strategy will develop a national ICT self-assessment tool to be trialled in selected schools from February 2011. (Gillard, 2010)

The media release is a little fact-lite, yet it sounds like the focus here may be on teachers’ ICT skills. Whilst skills are important, the research suggests that such a focus may be the reason that previous and existing ICT PD hasn’t brought about the intended change. Focusing on skills shifts the attention on keeping up with tech-savy students as opposed to engaging with pedagogical concerns and questioning how we can add value to student learning outcomes.


Gillard, J. (2010, February 18). Media Release: $40m for teachers’ professional development in ICT. Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).Canberra. Australia. Retrieved from the DEEWR website: http://www.deewr.gov.au/ministers/gillard/media/releases/pages/article_100218_130817.aspx

Research Summary 2: Social Network Services

March 28, 2010 Leave a comment

social network graph


The ubiquity of social network service (SNS) usage amongst adolescent students is changing the way in which teens communicate, socialise and construct their social identity. Further, the new forms that social spaces have taken have changed the set of skills that teens develop in the course of their daily lives. This has enormous implications for educators at many levels, as students and curricula demands are both changing.

In this essay I will provide a brief overview of research into teen use of social network services.  I have also identified two areas of particular interest,  namely; the role of SNS in teen social identity formation; and informal learning opportunities through SNS.

Overview of teen SNS use in Australia

An outline of recent Australian research into teen usage of SNS is appropriate as it sets the scene for the following analysis. Further, the understanding of teen SNS use patterns portrayed in the media, web and some research is often based on perceptions and sweeping generalisations rather than solid data. The Australian Communication and Media Authority’s report (ACMA, 2009) provides a snapshot of SNS use based on survey data from 819 Australian students aged between eight and seventeen years old, and their parents. Survey data were collected during November 2008 adding timeliness to the other strengths of the research; wide scope; rigor and relevance.

The generalisation, that all teens are using SNS is defensible, as nine out of ten teens (12-17 y.o.) reporting usage. By late teens, the phenomenon is near ubiquitous with 97% of 16-17 year olds using at least one service. In this same age bracket, total site usage (a measure which incorporates both participation levels and the number of profiles per student) is 266%, indicative that teen usage is pervasive and extensive (ACMA, 2009), a statistic which demands attention from educators (and clearly, social researchers).

The motivations for teen (12-17 y.o.) SNS usage found by ACMA (2009), are revealing. Teens cite their principal reason for using social network services to be to socialising with friends they already know (85% cite reasons explicitly mentioning known friends). A small fraction of teens (4%) report that ‘making new friends’ is their primary motivation (with a further 13% citing this as a secondary or tertiary motive)(ACMA, 2009). This finding is clear yet runs against the common perception of SNS, particular the emotive ‘stranger danger’ fear-mongering employed by certain media outlets. This is a misconception of SNS. As Danah Boyd put it, SNS is about

“marking and relating to the people you already knew. They weren’t about social network-ing, (and that’s actually where I think the media’s confused a lot of things). They are social network sites. They are a place where you actually build and model your social network, not where you engage in  network-ing. The goal isn’t meeting people: The goal is socialising.” (punctuation and italics added to reflect emphasis in oral delivery) (Boyd, 2007a)

A further result of note is the rate of uptake of privacy settings amongst teens (12-17y.o.).  A majority (69%) of teens make use of private settings on social network services, leaving 24% who do not and 7% who are unsure (ACMA, 2009). Whether this warrants the 77% of parents (ACMA, 2009) who claim to worry about their children’s information being in the public domain is a question for parents, yet the disparity between these statistics is interesting and perhaps indicative of a lack of clear communication and guidance on these issues (though this is merely speculation, the report offers no explanation).

Social Identity Construction

So why is hanging out with friends (that you already see at school all day) so important? Danah Boyd is a key researcher in the field and I (along with many other researchers) will follow her lead on this issue. Boyd’s argument centres on the development of social skills, clearly a hugely important domain of learning, yet one that is not always prominent in curricula.

“Helping children develop social skills is viewed as a reasonable educational endeavor in elementary school, but by high school, educators switch to more “serious” subjects. Yet, youth aren’t done learning about the social world.” (Boyd, 2009).

Further, argues Boyd, the level of structure imposed on modern teen life precludes any unstructured socialising and this has seen the death of public spaces where teens can simply ‘hang-out’. Teens are using social network services to provide an important public social space where much informal learning is done. As such, SNS are hugely important, providing an environment where teens can experiement, make social mistakes and learn from those of others; ultimately playing an importnat role in teen social identity formation.

Social researchers (such as Boyd) and those in advertising (eg. Gangadharbatla, 2008) have realised the importance of SNS in teen identity formation. Advertisers use this knowledge when marketing to teens, as they will readily uptake products if they can help teens work out who they are and proclaim their identity (MacPhearson, 2007). Educators could learn valuable lessons when attempting a foray into SNS for formal learning. Tasks should be designed to align with existing teen SNS usage such that they encourage self expression, social collaboration and strengthening self identity, motivating students to engage with the task.

A brief aside. It was a comment in a recent Australian report on ICT access for marginalised youth (Blanchard, Metcalf, & Burns, 2007) that first got me interested in this topic (whilst researching for my previous summary – see relevant post). Whilst SNS is important in social identity formation for the majority of teens, those without access at home (an thus subject to filtered internet access at school) are further marginalised and do not have this opportunity: Yet another manifestation of the digital divide. Perhaps schools should reconsider their motives for filtering internet content.

Informal learning and pedagogical implications of SNS

Teens develop valuable skills through their online experiences (just as with those offline), an example of informal learning. That these skills are valuable and highly relevant to contemporary society is indubitable. Skills that digital natives bring to school include collaborative problem solving, collaborative research and authoring, advanced communication skills and teamwork skills. These skills are brought to school, yet they may not be used within the confines of a traditional classroom or curriculum.

In her recent monograph, Kathryn Moyle (2010) states that;

“the ubiquity of several technologies, and the robustness of young people’s abilities to communicate and collaborate, presents challenges for educators and stakeholders about how they conceive of schools. Indeed, it is time to reconsider what is a school and in what ways it can best fulfil its roles.” (p.39)

Moyle argues that the challenge for educators is to design formal learning tasks such that students can further develop and apply web-learnt skills in new settings. This is no small feat, yet the problem is not entirely new. The presence of general, interdisciplinary skills in modern curricula such as the ACT’s Every Chance to Learn curriculum framework (ACT Government, 2007), require teachers to design tasks and content to facilitate the transfer of general capabilities across discipline boundaries (Moyle, 2010). How, for example, can we expect students to apply their informal learning of collaborative, project-based problem solving skills learned from playing MMOG in the classroom? Boyd (2007b) suggest that a bi-directional approach to learning is required in this context and that teachers should not be afraid to learn from students such that we can better support them.

In my opinion, this problem demands a democratic approach to curriculum implementation such that students have input into how and what they learn. This must be coupled with an increased focus on meta-cognition, affording a reflective insight into the skills teens are using in their infromal, online learning. The rich task model (Education Queensland, 2001) could be used in this context to engage students to extend their interdisciplinary skills, whilst meeting disciplinary requirements.

Conclusions

Australian teens are heavy users of social network services. Through their online interactions, teens are not only learning in ways they currently do not at school but further, shaping their identities. To dismiss SNS as trivial or a passing fad would be both ignorant and a missed opportunity of enormous proportions. As educators, we must at the very least, give this media the respect and thought it deserves: At best, this is an opportunity to learn from our students, to rethink curriculum, and launch into a new pedagogy which re-engages our youth.


References

(ACMA, 2009)

Social Networking: Quantitative data from Australia

March 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Abstract bar graph

ACMA released its report Young Australian’s use of online social media mid 2009. Being somewhat numerically inclined, I was drawn to the quantitative report (though a qaulitative report was also published). This allows a quick and recent snapshot of internet use and opinion in Australia. I have focused on the results for social networking sites and trends in usage.

Who is using social networking services?

  • 8-9 Years     : 37%
  • 10-11 Years : 64%
  • 12-13 Years : 80%
  • 14-15 Years : 94%
  • 16-17 Years : 97%

What does this tell us? Social networking use increases as students progress through high school. It is a ubiquitous feature of contemporary Australian adolescent life.

Why are students using social media?

Teen motivations for use of social media

Image source

Privacy Issues

Over the range of ages, 20-30% of students are not making use of private access settings for social media pages. a further 5-10% are unsure. Rates of uptake of privacy settings increase with age (up to 76% with 17 year old students).

Yet parents are afraid. In the figure below documenting parental concerns, the first question is most interesting as it breaks from the symmetric patterns of concern seen with the other questions.

Parental concerns over childrens' use of social media

Image source

Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA). (2009b). Click & connect: Young Australian’s use of online social media. 02: Quantitative research report. Sydney: Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved from http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/aba/about/recruitment/click_and_connect-02_quantitative_report.pdf .

Australia as laboratory?

March 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Syndey Harbour night panorama

Rudd’s laptop policy may make Australia an ideal place to test out opensource textbooks. If every grade 9-12 has their own laptop then the ‘old’ digital divide (access to hardware) won’t be such an issue. With the national curriculum coming in, this might be our chance to try something radical.

Just when I thought I’d had an original idea, see the link below for another link between the relevance of 1:1 computing and the open source movement

“There’s desperation with the budget in California right now,” Bridges says. “The digital textbook initiative would merge well with a one-to-one model, but there aren’t any funds to make that happen.”

Platoni, K. (2009, Dec/Jan). California Embraces Open Source Digital Textbooks, Edutopia, Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/california-open-source-digital-textbooks