Australia's Digital Economy set to boom - Need for ICT Professional Development for Teachers

ICT Teaching Strategies

By Michael Hilkemeijer

Australia’s digital economy is set to boom over the next few years according to a new report on Australia’s Digital Pulse. This is good news for the architects of Australia’s 10 year strategic plan for the ICT who stated that ICT literacy skills are much needed for the future of the economy.

The report conducted by Australian Computer Society (ACS) and Deloitte Access Economics highlighted a number of key findings that met with mixed responses from various academics. It indicated that the “demand for ICT workers with postgraduate qualifications will grow 4.2% a year until 2020”. The number of ICT skilled workers will increase from 169,508 to 216,922 in 2020.

Australia's Digital Economy

While the report said that “strong demand growth for postgraduate ICT qualifications reflects the broader ‘skills deepening’ trend in the labour market; that is, a growing propensity towards holding higher qualifications," academics like Professor Nick Wailes from UNSW was not surprised due to the current enrolment levels ICT postgraduate courses. He quoted “the more you invest in education, the better your job prospects are.”

Professor Paul Strooper from University of Queensland (UQ) believes that “if there’s one area where continuing professional development and postgraduate qualifications make sense it's certainly ICT.” He continued in saying that there will be “hurdles” along the way such as:

  • Cost of postgraduate courses;
  • The number of job ads asking for postgraduate qualifications;
  • The number of jobs just asking for people with ICT experience and;
  • The lack of support for postgraduate masters degrees from the Government.

To top this news of Anthony Wong (President of ACS) said that technology skills are the engine room of the economy and that digital skills have contributed to 6.6% increase over the past decade.

How effective PD in ICT can help build Australia's Digital Economy today

Accredited online professional development in ICT is recognised by many teachers to be the ideal form of professional learning today. This type of delivering is cost-effective being affordable and self-paced meaning teachers can learn anytime, anywhere and anyplace.

teaching strategies - Accredited online professional development for teachers in ICT

The road to student ICT capability is embedded in both the Australian Early Years Framework and for the majority of it, the Australian Curriculum where Primary education is responsible for more than half of student ICT capability development.

Effective online professional development for teachers in ICT helps them to begin to think like the experts in making instructional decisions, structuring ICT activities and employing sound ICT pedagogical strategies under authentic circumstances. As an example, our accredited online courses which focus on the development of student ICT capability in primary education, allows participants to share their expertise, learn from their peers, and collaborate on real-world projects. 

As a starting point, we encourage teachers to begin their professional learning in ICT by:

  1. Learning how to Assess student ICT capability - this is significant, as they must determine a starting point for a child's learning journey in ICT. Once established, their continual professional development moves onto...
  2. Progressing, facilitating, and teaching student ICT capability - there is more to ICT capability than just the knowledge of ICT skills, students need to develop higher order skills and conceptual understanding. The information that teachers learn here is practical and immediately actionable and lies at the heart of ICT integration.
  3. Finally, most ICT integrators in education are seen by many including senior management as leaders. In order to provide a strong leadership in ICT integration at their school and prepare students for a digital future in the economy, we deliver an effective online PD in Primary ICT Leadership. From here they can begin to deliver strong and focused in-service PDs in ICT at their school and share their expertise with their colleagues in a proficient manner.

Teachers in primary education also have the choice to focus their ICT integration teaching strategies in subject-specific online courses such as our Literacy-ICT integration accredited course.

Continuing professional development in ICT for teachers is not just a temporary need for teachers now, it is a necessity both now and in the future. If we as educators are to be solely responsible for the digital boom that will take place, then action needs to start now with teachers like yourself becoming a catalyst for change today.

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