Thursday, 24 May 2012

NT Education Department aquires C2C units from Qld Education Department

I've written previously in regards to the difficulties faced by Queensland teachers in implementing the Australian Curriculum, mainly due to the faults in the units of work written by Education Queensland, known as the C2C units.  Despite some earlier confusion and mixed messages, the Director-General of Education did finally confirm that the use of C2C units were not mandated, and that they were written as examples of how the Australian Curriculum could be taught.

It turns out that the Northern Territory government has recently aquired the rights to the C2C units, and has mandated all teachers in the territory to teach the C2C units, down to pre-written the lesson plans. 

Apart from the loss of professional choice and responsibility, some of the provided materials potentially breach existing copyright, and some of the science experiments may be dangerous to students and staff.  Forcing teachers to follow such a highly prescriptive curriculum is not just  insulting to teachers, but also highly regressive.

I can only encourage teachers in the Northern Territory to have serious discussions with their Principals and Regional Directors, and do their best to fight such a decision that will only result in lower standards of education and morale amongst students and staff.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


Read a couple of articles recently that showed technology use in education being pulled in two different directions.  I'm talking about the devices that we place in students hands here.  I really prefer not to get too worked up about which laptop/tablet/device is best for students, as it is really the use of the device, the pedagogy, that is key.  But these two articles came out on the same day, which tweaked my curiosity.

Faster Computers
More traditionally, this first article looks at the development of a new chipset for PCs and laptops, with much smaller transistor size.  Smaller transistors allow for a more complex CPU, as well as faster switching and information processing.  This one, the Ivy chipset is particularly exciting for a number of reasons.  I'm not sure why, but the article specifically refers to its use in education, but it will really improve processing speed in PCs in all sorts of industries.

Computing in the Cloud
The second article (here) to me is the really exciting one, and I think indicates the real future of computing for many schools - cloud computing.  Google is offering a much expanded Google Drive, as well as online productivity apps.  I use them a bit and find them more than adequate for most purposes.  Cloud computing, along with the NBN (either the Labor or Coalition model) offer some real benefits to schools in Australia.

Cloud computing means that a lot of the storage and processing of documents happens offsite, somewhere over the rainbow.  It almost makes the choice of technology redundant.  As along as you have quick enough accesss to the 'net, you can do your work.  You don't even need to use the same device each time (even your smart phone will do it).  For schools, it means no need to run and maintain their own servers, no backups, less technical support required.  Potentially large savings.

BYOD (Bring your own device)
And then the device - Hawker College in Canberra is doing what a lot of switched on businesses are doing - allowing students to provide their own device.  While Education Departments in Qld and NSW are tying down their networks tighter and tighter, the ACT is opening theirs up. Benefit for the school?  Lower costs for maintenance and technical support.  And for students, they can choose a device that matches their own needs and budgets.

For school administrations, Cloud computing and BYOD has to be the way to go.  The financial savings from reduced maintenance and technology can be put to much better use in the classroom, and the savings in time can allow them to focus on what really matters in the end - teaching and learning.