Revolution of the Mind

The ALP’s much publicised ‘education revolution’ is a welcome approach to supporting quality learning and teaching.  However, we undersell the promise of a ‘revolution’ if it is simply about more ‘hardware’ in schools. As important as hardware is in a knowledge age, it fails to address the fundamental challenges of learning and teaching in today’s world.

What is required is a revolution of the mind based on new ways of thinking that lead to new ways of schooling.  We know good teaching, not computers, is the major factor in improving the learning outcomes of all students, which is why it is critical to build teacher capacity and capabilities.

If we are to prepare students for careers in the knowledge-age, then we need to support teachers in their capacity to “develop high level knowledge and skill in their work.” (Elmore, 2007).

A true revolution in education will only succeed if schools become true learning communities and education systems and governments have a clear and unified focus, a sharp vision and the commitment to support innovation and ongoing teacher professional learning. 

We have already begun a revolution in our system of schools. We are bringing our resources to bare on supporting the teacher in every learning space in every school. This means a clear alignment between what the teacher does, how the school is led and how system resources are delivered in supporting schools. This is underpinned by a commitment to ongoing professional learning and conversation, critical reflection on what is good learning and teaching and collaboration across learning networks (both physical and virtual). 

If the Rudd Labor Government is to deliver on its promise to Australian students, then we must work together to develop new models based on sound theory and research (respectful of past experience) that captures the imagination of learners and teachers alike.

2 thoughts on “Revolution of the Mind

  1. We are finding that it is almost a ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario when it comes to the issue of more hardware in our schools and the ‘education revolution’. As we pursue our vision of engaging, challenging and ‘stretching’ the students in our school, they are expecting that the information they access, manipulate, create and communicate will most often be in a digital format. Our learning communities are beginning to expand, within our school and beyond. These communities are relying on virtual links, connections that allow us to collaborate on the ‘any where, any time’ premise.

    At this point in time, our booking systems for our hardware are ‘stretched to the limit’ with classes desperately trying to get to laptops or classroom computers. ‘More hardware’ is not the simple answer when looking at the issues in regards to revolutionising education, and yet it cannot be dismissed if we are to address quality learning initiatives at this time. That clear alignment you have mentioned between quality teaching, leadership and resources is tightly interwoven in this context, with growth or success dependent on the amount of support in each of these areas. Hardware is a ‘resource issue’ that needs to be kept in the discussion.

  2. I find it ever so disheartening to hear about Kevin Rudd’s Education Revolution. And even though this was annouced before his ministerial election as the country’s leader, it shows how ever so much Australia is obsessed with digital media and culture.

    The answer to reforming Education across Australia is not simply buying more computers for schools. It is a very welcome opportunity for schools that need to have this access to technology but only as a means to help them in their work by doing things faster, giving students the power to access world wide information and email. However, it should not be a means to an end.

    As a design undergraduate I have highly valued the traditional approaches to doing things. One commentary I remember which related to my work. This video on Youtube from the London College of Printing (now Communication), although unrelated, highlights something important:

    In some areas using digital technology is highly beneficial but in other areas, a pen and paper creates such creative freedom. Just look at kids who may seem to always daze in the sky when they doodle, draw and write miscellaneous things.

    I cannot speak as much about secondary education than higher education but I can certainly say problems that arise in higher education programmes and degrees are affected because of the lower educational systems. The answer to Australia’s education is not about quantity but of quality. Quality, structure, planning and direction of education programmes and people who administer them.

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