According to the Chinese calendar 2010 is the year of the Tiger, although some would argue last year was his year. ( Sorry, couldn’t help myself) 2010 is also the International year of Biodiversity. Please note I resisted the chance to insert another Tiger joke.
However, I would actually like to name 2010 the year of the……REVOLUTION!!!!
For those who read this from outside of Australia, (believe it or not some do) this may not make much sense, but basically we are in the middle of 2 Federal Government revolutions. Luckily they don’t sound as bad as it reads and there are no political coups involved, rather our schools nationally have been lucky enough to be part of both the Digital Education Revolution (DER) and the Building the Education Revolution (BER).
The DER involves $2.2 billion dollars being spent over 6 years on ICT equipment for years 9-12 students, some teacher PD, high speed broadband for schools, online curriculum tools etc within secondary schools. The BER is a $16.2 billion investment to provides world-class educational facilities, through new infrastructure and refurbishments in schools.
So 2010 should be the year of the revolution, because we should start seeing the first redevelopments/additions to schools to make them into contemporary learning environments, as well as the first secondary school DER funded 1:1 laptops programs and the like beginning. All this will make all our schools cutting edge, 21st century learning environments to engage and enhance our students like never before and take our education system to the next level.
Or will it????
See, personally there is another type of revolution I would prefer to see happen irrespective of any DER’s/BER’s/BLaH’s/La Dee Dah’s*
Regardless of the billions of $$$’s being pumped into our schools via buildings/facilities/ICT equipment (which is great by the way) it wont make 1 bit of difference unless we have a TLR – a Teaching and Learning Revolution or for those who prefer a Learning and Teaching Revolution. (LTR)
Unless we change our practice of teaching, all the new buildings and equipment will simply be a nice way to house our 20th century teaching practices. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of having new things but to get the best out of them we need to learn more, change and challenge ourselves. The DER and BER often remind me of the 2 year old on Christmas day who unwraps the present and then plays with the box. The stick with what they know because the don’t know the potential of the toy the box held, until it is unwrapped for them and then given to them. They then get to explore it, touch it, smell it, (even taste it – like mine did with the new play dough) and play with it. They then learn there is something new to do and move onto it and leave the box behind.
All our new buildings, learning environments and equipment could offer the same potential as the box on Christmas Day. The new buildings/equipment will all look great, but the risk is schools may stick with what they know (the box) and already do inside them because they don’t take a chance, explore them and play within them to find a new way of doing things.
So join me in arms comrades!!! Let’s begin a TLR to go with all our new spoils from our other current revolutions. You never know it might catch on and make a difference for our students. Time will tell.
* BLah’s and La Dee Dah’s do not have any Government funding or projects attached to them, they simply rhyme.