Digital education revolution in PDHPE

The digital education revolution strategy announced by the federal government aims to put laptops into the hands of all Australian students over the next 6 years.

This presents a wonderful opportunity for students and teachers and will take some pretty intensive and well delivered PD to teachers to make it work well. I think this presents a great opportunity for PDHPE teachers and some centralised planning and development could make it all work much more effectively.

My ideas would revolve around a few key areas.

Professional development of staff is the key – (I think the teacher becomes more critical for effective teaching and learning with technology invovled).
1. Face to face & online professional development courses to help teachers understand the range of technology and tools available and how it can be used in the classroom. This could be module based with online learning for specific tools such as blogging, wiki’s, podcasting/vodcasting etc and resources to assist with implementing these in the classroom. The online courses should be accredited and contribute to the institute of teachers and be allocated release time for the teachers involved.

2. A range of competitions organised and funded by the educational authorities to encourage teachers and students to participate in using these tools and help ensure they are used in powerful ways. Well thought through learning actvities could be developed by the educational authorities, with student work being shared amongst all participants. Students could also play a role in evaluating the entries and participating in peer assessment beyond their own school.

3. A common place to share and publish student work so students can see what is happening in other schools and learn from other students. An example may be a youtube style channel for students to publish health commercials or videos made in class, or flickr style space for images/posters etc to be shared. These should all be tied together at a central webspace/wiki (see next point).

4. All of these spaces should be tied together in one place where students can go to access other students work samples and where teachers can go to access teaching activities and resources to assist implementing these activities into the classroom.

The digital education revolution allows a lot of the learning for both teachers and students to take place online. I would think it essential that the early PD and initiatives allow for success and provides activities and learning that is motivating and engaging for teachers and students, has a low skill requirement and is easily accessible for all.

Underpinning the success of the whole program will be the bandwidth available in schools. With cheap computers with minimal processing power (update – looks like the DET schools will be working with quite a powerful machine that looks pretty handy allround – scratch the initial comment), cloud computing apps will be critical and without bandwidth these become almost useless also.

An internet connected laptop is by far the most powerful learning tool to students have ever had access to and I think will change the nature of teaching and learning in schools over the next 10-20 years. A move away from recalling content to students creating, collaborating and constructing their knowledge in more practical and powerful ways.

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