Computers are now an integral part of school life across the majority of Australia, but are they being used as effectively as possible? Whilst the majority of schools house a “computer lab” or similar facility, is it the case that this is fulfilling the potential that information technology has to transform the education of thousands of children? Compared to the rest of the world, how does Australia perform when it comes to integrating online learning with the education system?
Australia is well-recognised as pioneering computer use in schools, to the extent that seven out of eighty schools selected for Microsoft’s prestigious Worldwide Innovative Schools Programme were located in this country. Schools are required to have adequate IT provision on site and many children use Information Technology regularly to enhance their learning.
Barriers still exist
Unfortunately, despite the widespread IT provision that exists, there are still a number of factors that can prevent children getting the maximum benefit from IT resources. Static computers may be awkwardly located for timely, appropriate use, or Australian teachers may not have the technical expertise to use them optimally. Particularly when it come to seamlessly integrating IT into the Australian curriculum, some staff struggle due to insufficient training. These barriers are common to many countries where IT usage is widespread.
Schools are responding pro-actively
Learning from global best practice in education, Australian schools have robust strategies to overcome these issues and ensure that our education system remains one of the most technologically advanced in the world. Tablets are now used widely and many schools are opting for online educational resource sites that are easy to use and frequently offer additional training for teachers in using them for maximal benefit.
Australian schools continue to feature regularly in the higher ranks of numerous statistical collations that compare educational performance between countries. A keen appreciation of the benefits that information technology can bring to students, coupled with a willingness to overcome any challenges that restrict IT usage, results in a school system that welcomes new technology and engages fully in ensuring students enhance their learning through this medium.