A WESTERN Australian academic is aiming to maximise learning outcomes from primary to tertiary level by increasing the use and effectiveness of internet-based learning technologies in schools.
Dr Jenny Lane, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University, oversees the integration of new technologies in the course structure for teacher education.
Her focus is on training our teachers of tomorrow, today.
“New technological advances are occurring on a daily basis, yet much of the tertiary teacher education is continuing as it did over 100 years ago," she says.
With her 2012 Research Fellowship at ECU, she investigates how the iPad as a mobile tool creates promising possibilities for a new field of learning beyond classroom walls: m-learning.
Wherever students are, the iPad will allow them to complete the whole learning cycle.
New information can be received, processed and worked with to produce and share new knowledge in the end.
Dr Lane’s research survey shows that about 85 per cent of WA-teachers have never experienced the new technologies in their own education. "This area is entirely new to them."
Teachers need to be trained to bring together technological, pedagogical and content knowledge (the TPACK framework) for a tool like the iPad to be effective.
New technologies change the dynamics and as a consequence the management of learning in a classroom.
Australia’s new national curriculum will have information and communication technology built into all learning areas.
Teachers will rely more and more on online instructional resources for education. New apps with the right context and strategy towards learning are developed at an increasing rate.
For teachers, it “is a matter of finding which apps are appropriate and which apps have value in the classroom," says Dr Lane.
To help distinguish the apps, which stimulate higher order thinking from those with mere entertainment value, Dr Lane recently started using social networking “to create a professional learning network of teachers around the world sharing their practice."
Her research blog provides a platform for access to her learning materials and instructional guidelines, as well as participation in an ongoing evaluation of newly available apps for iPads with potential value for different learning outcomes.
The Federal Government has tried to start a ‘Digital Education Revolution’ by equipping Australian schools with new computers.
Dr Lane believes it will take more than a simplistic hardware solution to transform the education system.