In 21st century, nations are increasingly becoming diverse, globalised, and complex and media structured. This rapidly changing world filled with fantastic new tribulations needs to be addressed using exciting new emerging possibilities. To adopt new possibilities, modern education reforms are progressively driven by a growing understanding of what works in education and how to go about productively improving teaching and learning in schools.
This essay will focus on emerging possibilities and ongoing reform in primary education that are necessary for 21st century learning and hence need to be embraced both locally and globally.
This essay will include the elaboration on emerging technologies that are being utilized with the purpose of meeting the global and local requirements and ongoing reforms on education such as Gonski for better schools, Melbourne declaration that acknowledges major changes in the world that are placing new demands on Australian education and globalization. People around the world are taking their education out of school into homes, libraries, internet cafes and workplaces, where they can decide what they want to learn, when they want to learn and how they want to learn. (Colin, Allan et.al, 2009, p3).
This new learning model uses technologies to enable people of all ages to pursue learning on their own terms. Traditional class room based, single teachers as instructor model of education has now been replaced by emerging technologies that are being developed constantly in today’s fast moving digital world. It is an innovative technology that is reshaping the nature of education. Computer and network based technologies now hold great potential for increasing the access to information as well as a means of promote learning.
(schoolcomputing.wikia.com/wiki/Emerging_Technologies). It redefines the way educators teach and the role of sole source of information to being a guide, facilitator and coach in the learning process. The major emerging technologies for primary education can be interactive whiteboard, I pads and cloud computing. Interactive whiteboard is designed to help students learn variety of ways and for teachers to teach in a range of ways with the ability of using online resources and fun presentation.
It is an emerging technology in Australia but globally like UK it has been found to be successful and effective in teaching primary students (Torff & Toritta, 2010). Now what is the rationale for using interactive whiteboard in primary classroom? It increases motivation and performance of student as teachers can integrate flexibly a variety of pedagogical approaches and the power to efficiently deliver multimedia or multimodal presentation with a touch sensitive screen.
It can also increase the student and teacher interaction and can make the teachers teaching process smoother and effective. An interesting element of interactive whiteboard is it allows students from different classroom around country and globally to interact through programs such as Skype or YouTube. This allows for an expansive online classroom, broadening the students own community of practice. Another form of emerging technology is the use of Ipad in the classroom, which is a creative, hands-on device which allows students through educational applications, eBooks and iTunes to engage with content interactively and instantly obtain information moving away from the industrial era model where the classroom is the central learning place.
Why do teachers might use Ipad in primary classroom? There are number of reasons why Ipad can be very beneficial emerging technology but one of the most useful features is its sharing information, receiving updates and conducting research hence helpful in communicating and collaborating with the world outside the classroom. Ipad can be very useful tool to interact with others around the world so it connects and create extended learning. Final emerging new technology for 21st century learner is cloud computing.
It refers to as the future of education and storing and accessing of applications and computer data often through web browser rather than running installed software on personal computer. (www.cloudcomputingdefined.com). It is an interactive tool where student and teacher can instantaneously collaborate both in and out of the classroom and learn in real time with instant feedback. Cloud computing provides transparency for teachers and their student; collectively they are able to communicate with each other.
What is the rational for cloud computing being a useful emerging technology for 21st century learner? One of the reasons it can be useful is its versatility as it can be accessed from home or school therefore great for collaborative assessments or group based projects. This new technology will encourage students to develop and maintain ICT skills (http://cloud-computing3100.wikispaces.com/Rationale+for+cloud+computing). The driving force behind educational reform comes from new technologies that greatly enhance educational opportunities.
These new emerging technologies allow the improved pedagogy that will revolutionize learning. ( Molebash, 1999). In 21st century, ubiquitous availability of ICT had significant implications on education. A significant reform is needed in education, world-wide, to respond to shape global trends. Systematic education reform is needed that include curriculum like National education agreement, pedagogy, teacher training and school organization like GONSKI reform. (Mcgaw, 2009, p1).
Earlier this year, Skidmore and Carmicheal mentioned in The Telegraph UK that “reform is not only necessary, it is essential if we are to ensure that pupils are equipped with the knowledge and skills for the twenty first century.’(Skidmore and Carmicheal, 2013). Being able to do my practical placement at Garfield Barwick School managed by Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC), I realized that there is a huge requirement of special education teachers not only in Australia but globally.
In England, an education reform is passed where parents are given control over their children’s special education needs (SEN) budgets, allowing them to choose expert support rather than local authorities being the sole provider. (Quinn and Malik, 2012). This is described as being the biggest reform of SEN for 30 years. However, while this reform offer hope, it create anxiety among parents too, as it divides children into two groups School Action and School Action plus. Lorraine Peterson, chief executive officer of the Nation Association of SEN, fears teachers could be left with endless lists of pupils and too little expertise as to how to deal with them (Shepherd, 2012).
Furthermore ,there is also a concern in relate to this reform that what impact it will have of forward planning and co-ordination of putting budgets in the hands of many individuals and families, keeping in mind that not all parents are best advocates of their children’s needs hence will not be able to provide the best expert assistance for their children. (Shepherd, 2012). This is one of the drawbacks of SEN reform in England. In comparison to that, Australian government has deferred this reform since 2009 in order to allow more time for further consultation.
(“Special education reform put on hold – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)”, 2009). An article by Philip Garner and Fiona Forbes in 2012 mentioned that Australia is appeared to slow down in some areas of special education and appearing to adopt wait and see approach. (Garner and Forbes, 2012, P 62).
Currently Australia is investing $550 million in Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership, in this reform agenda, priority and highest status should be given to inclusive environment to ensure that schools are given best possible teachers to be inclusive for the special need education. (Garner and Forbes, 2012, P 65). Special education need reform is not particularly focused locally but globally like UK it is getting implemented. The core principal behind this reform is proper funding to school and teacher training to allow every child to receive world class education and Australia is endeavoring to establish a reform around SEN.
Gonski reform can correlate to SEN reform as it focuses on the funding of schools to support their student and help teachers to receive additional training and support, from pre-service teachers to principals. Under Better School Plans commencement in 2014, it is a plan to improve results of all schools and students by introducing education reforms that evidently improves results. This plan is based on five core areas; 1.Quality teaching
3.Empowered school leadership
4.Meeting student need
5.Greater transparency and accountability
This plan aims to take Australian schools into top five by 2025 (What is the Better Schools Plan?, n.d. ). Therefore why do we need this plan? This plan is mandatory to meet the international standard as it has been revealed that even though Australian schools are good, our performance is declining and a greater gap has developed between highest and lowest performing students.
The recent review of funding of schooling stumbled on current school funding do not fulfill the requirements necessary to meet the educational needs of all students (What is the Better Schools Plan?, n.d. ). In my point of view, Melbourne Declaration on education goals for Young Australians can articulate better school plans core reforms by overarching two goals for schooling in Australia where one goal promote equity and excellence in schools and secondly making creative individuals and active and informed citizen. Under this declaration, local education goals can collaborate with global education goals.
The Melbourne Declaration supports National Education Agreement which articulates the commitment of Australian government to ensure that all Australian school students acquire the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in society and employment in a globalised economy. (Educational goals | ACARA”, 2009). This National Education Agreement (NEA) has been made between the Commonwealth of Australia and all State and territories.
The key objective of this agreement is to enable Australian students to compete with world and participate effectively. Under this agreement, the state wise curriculum is abandoned and standardized curriculum is introduced which is called national curriculum. It is ongoing reform and changes to curriculum is commencing from next year starting from English then moving into Mathematics and Science. Consequently, all of these reforms are in cooperating emerging possibilities to meet the local and global requirement.
(National Education Agreement, 2012). To meet the pace and acceleration of 21st century, these emerging technologies need to be embraced and in doing so reforms need to be constructed, this way we will achieve success both locally and globally. In conclusion, education is transformed by emerging possibilities and in this technology rich environment, one must remember that educational focus is on learning and instructional goal instead of technology itself, because technologies are merely tools or vehicles to deliver instruction and are just driving force for education reform.
These emerging technologies shift the local education scale to global and hence promote to develop reform around these new emerging possibilities so we can meet the global standard. Thus, for successful 21st century learner, emerging possibilities and ongoing reforms are necessary and need to be embraced both locally and globally.
Cloud Computing Defined. (n.d.). Retrieved October 1, 2013, from http://www.cloudcomputingdefined.com Educational goals | ACARA. (2009). Retrieved from ACARA website: http://www.acara.edu.au/reporting/national_report_on_schooling_2009/national_policy_context/educational_goals.html Educational goals | ACARA. (n.d.). Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://www.acara.edu.au/reporting/national_report_on_schooling_2009/national_policy_context/educational_goals.html Garner, P., & Forbes, F. (2012). Disposable assets. Are special education teachers still needed in 21st