OUR annual EducationSurvey asked school staff across Australia for their views on the issues affecting the sector. Thousands of people took part. In part four of our wrap up, here are just some of the comments we received on the topics of technology in the classroom, and teacher librarians. TECHNOLOGY "Roll out of 1 to 1 devices has created a huge financial burden on schools in terms of maintenance and monitoring of inappropriate content. [It] has led to more policing in place of teaching. When funding runs out and device is out of date/incompatible what happens next?" "All the technology in the world cannot replace a teacher. Class sizes need to be kept small for improved learning outcomes." "BYOD discussions are causing concern amongst teachers in schools. Equity is a huge issue. Also technical support is a huge problem and every school should have a technical support officer as part of the staffing. Teachers are educators not computer fixers. This should be a professional supplier by the respective departments of educations or realistically by the federal government." "The current NSW policy of 'bring your own device' has made ICT access very difficult for many teachers and students. Briefly: Networks cannot cope; there are no specialist ICT people employed to help students; significant numbers of parents cannot afford to buy devices (particularly if they have a number of children at school); access to unsuitable sites is more difficult to control; and issues of theft and damage to devices need to be clarified. Teachers in specialist positions (e.g. Teacher Librarians and Careers Advisers) play a very important role in overall outcomes for students, but do not seem to be considered in most of the discussion about 'teacher effectiveness'." "If you want to prepare students to be global citizens in the 21st century ... teachers need access to up to date ICT devices ... Every primary school should have a budget to hire a full-time ICT specialist teacher/technical to support classroom teachers in PD as well as take classes to further student ICT knowledge and practices." "Re: technology equipment, I feel strongly that we cannot be expected to teach children how to behave on Facebook and what the perils are, if we can't access it to show them. Social media is part of everyday life now and schools have to engage with it and not shield kids from it." "While it is vital that students be adept in use of technology, I believe schools have a greater role in promoting print reading and writing. This should be the basis for education, especially in subject English - though enabling students to be better, more discerning uses/creators of other media is also essential BUT not at the expense of print reading/writing which has happened over the last five years." "When will the BOS allow students to use technology during HSC exams? It seems odd, that students are encouraged to use technology in class but then have to revert to pen and paper to complete their exams." "While I am, and was in some ways a pioneer in the use of technology in the classroom, I believe that the use of laptops in the classroom has been disadvantageous to educational outcomes. Security issues, maintenance, presumption of student skills, and selective learning are just some of the problems. Students see technology as the ONLY option rather than just another tool. Teachers are left relatively powerless to control usage in a way that enhances learning rather than complicating it. Equity has become an enormous issue. Those who can pay do well, those who can't are set back more than ever before. Successful educational systems across the world do not place such high emphasis on student technology use in the classroom." "I am concerned that technology in schools may actually be disadvantageous for some students. At my school for instance, the students' misuse of technology e.g. listening to their music during classes, playing games on their iPads during classes and texting other students again during lessons is widespread. It worries me that so much money is been dedicated to technology without commensurate educational returns." "There is a distinct lack of training that is accessible for teachers in the use of technology in the classroom as well as for reporting and other uses. I feel that technological changes are made in our college and teachers are expected to embrace them with little or no knowledge of thier use and capabilities. Teachers should be offered more time to allow us to fully learn how to use technology per se rather than be offered brief introductions to programs and then be expected to use them daily"   TEACHER LIBRARIANS "Of great concern to me is the reduction in the number of Australian primary schools with a qualified teacher-librarian on staff. At a time when so much Federal BER funding has been put into primary school libraries, it is indeed a contradiction that primary school principals are allowed to continue down this road. I believe that deteriorating literacy levels are related to this current trend." "Most teachers are unaware of the role of the teacher-librarian. I have to place myself in the view of teachers to let them know what services I offer (though it is sometimes hard to collaborate due to time constraints)." "It is sad to see so many Qld state schools totally dissolving the place of a trained teacher librarian. So much money spent on new libraries, yet many principals choosing to have teacher aides run the library and spend their funds on a HOC - who is more expensive than a teacher librarian to have on staff. If literacy is a major focus, why get rid of trained teacher librarians??" "I am alarmed that teacher-librarians are a dying profession. There were costly BER buildings erected and these need to be correctly staffed. At the rate information and cyber bullying is expanding TLs are needed more than ever."
  • Australian Teacher Magazine is proud to publicise the views of principals, teachers and school support staff. There are lots of ways you can share your opinions. Email yoursay@ozteacher.com.au, join the conversation on Twitter @Ozteachermag, or simply post a comment online using the box below.