ITC Education for Teachers
With the changes in the Australian Curriculum since 2008, ITC education for teachers has become a very important topic. In this post, I am going to cover the reasons for the changes, and the impacts that this has caused for teachers who were already working at the time. Next, I'll be looking at how ICT education is addressed to teachers in training. Finally, I'll go over some of the options which are available for a teacher who wants to improve their ICT skills, with emphasis on how these skills will be used in the classroom.
The current level of importance for ICT as a subject in education was the result of the "Digital Education Revolution." Officially launched in 2008, this is a sweeping reform in the way in which computers and ICT are used in the classroom. Once compartmentalised as a separate subject "over there," ICT has now become a core part of every subject.
But this is really just a manifestation of the fact that ICT has become a key part of all our activities. ICT is no longer a specialist subject - it is a factor in every role that we play in the world, and given the ubiquity of information technology, it's important that we teach our students how to use it effectively and responsibly.
One obvious effect of this reform is that, almost overnight, it has created a skill gap. This is becoming more relevant now as more and more teachers who have "been through the mill" of ITC education for teachers are graduating. At the same time, ICT is an area of constant change, so that even a professional education in technology will have a very limited shelf life, and need to be kept up to date with constant training.
The program which has been implemented by all 39 of Australia's teacher training institution is called "Teaching Teachers for the Future." At it's heart, this training builds upon a framework called the "Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge conceptual framework" or TPACK for short. This framework provides an insight into how the skills of IT relate to the specialist knowledge of the teacher and the knowledge that the teacher will be teaching. As you would expect from the "conceptual framework" label, this is a fairly abstract treatment of the subject.
With this framework as a foundation, teachers in training next learn from "digital resource packets", which show how these concepts from TPACK will be applied to the subjects that they will be teaching. This brings these concepts somewhat down-to-Earth.
In addition to this, there is an ongoing project of ICT mapping, which is taking apart every aspect of the Australian Curriculum and ensuring that ICT is fully integrated into every level of the four phases. In each educational institution, there are ICT Pedagogy Officers who are responsible for ensuring that each of these mappings are immediately implemented into teacher training.
With all this conceptual education, newly graduated teachers do have a thorough grounding in the concepts of ICT and how they apply in the classroom, in every subject that they will be teaching. However, ICT is an ever changing field, and it is also highly practical - all this conceptual knowledge will need to be supplemented with practical know how.
Thus, for the newly trained teacher and the old hand alike, there is a very real need for a solid and up-to-date vocational ITC education for teachers. There are many professional development courses appearing now to satisfy this need, teaching new and exciting ways to apply ICT in the classroom.