IT software and services provider, Anittel, has partnered with WA-based Next Learning, introducing a new way in teaching in an e-learning environment.
A first of its kind in professional development for teachers in Australia, teachers are equipped to deliver the curriculum using best practice digital teaching tools, such as online apps and video conferencing.
Next Learning co-founder, Shane McGurk, said research shows around 45 per cent of teachers are in ‘survival mode’ when it comes to using technology.
“The Next Learning model reduces this general lack of confidence among teachers to apply e-learning methods,” he said.
According to Anittel WA state manager, Sam Meegahage, up-skilling teachers to use today’s technology in the classroom, means minimising their dependency on the schools’ IT support team.
“The benefits of the Next Learning program extends further than just the teaching body and students. It allows IT Managers to focus their resources on strategic IT initiatives for the schools such as consolidating existing technology and updating IT infrastructure. The upside for schools is it reduces IT support costs.”
McGurk, said the Australian national curriculum put pressure on teachers to get through a lot of content quickly.
“We come in and show teachers how they can enhance the enjoyment of learning through online apps and digital tools such as Skype, to call in an author or a heart surgeon for example, to get the content across to students creatively while inspiring their desire to learn," he said.
“Our ultimate goal is to empower the teacher to skill up for the 21st century, drive this change with their schools and share the knowledge with their colleagues.
“Schools are embarking on a complete ‘about face change’ in education and it’s key that everyone is on board.”
McGurk said robust infrastructure must be in place to ensure a school’s ability to deliver this style of next generation learning.
“If the systems aren’t simple, fast and reliable, learning is interrupted and teachers lose confidence, he said.
“For this reason we have partnered with Anittel – to ensure all hardware, software, networking, wireless and internet bandwidth are in optimum functioning order in the schools. This way the technical experience is not disruptive.”
Meegahage, adds that integrating technology into a classroom is more than just providing students with access to a computer.
“Digital learning starts with teachers, whose performance is enhanced by technology. Still, many educators who are less familiar and less comfortable with technology struggle to integrate these tools into the curriculum.
“We have chosen to partner with Next Learning because they have developed a revolutionary professional learning program, which helps bridge the gap between educators and technology. The feedback we have received to date has been remarkable.”
Next Learning was launched in 2013. More than 40 West Australian public and private schools, institutions and project clients have applied to be appraised with a number of regional schools joining forces in clusters to cross-share their professional development programs.
Schools and universities currently implementing Next Learning solutions include John XXIII College, Mercedes College, University of Western Australia, Kalgoorlie cluster, West Leederville Primary School and Iona Presentation College.
Plans are in place to introduce the initiative into the Eastern seaboard within the next year.