With the rapid rise and constantly changing face of technology and online mediums, it’s only natural that technology starts to find its way into the classroom. The days of copying notes from the whiteboard and researching assignments using library books are close to behind us. We explore how online education has expanded in recent years and what parents can expect in the future.
The National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test is set to head online from next year, following a pilot program conducted in 2013 and 2014. Students will now sit a tailored test, which adjusts the difficulty of questions based on their performance up to that point. Moving the test online will also help to achieve a faster turnaround of results, giving teachers more time to work with students on areas of need.
Last year, students at Nossal High School in Victoria participated in a unique trial, which allowed them to work from home through a virtual classroom. The school held two ‘digital delivery days’, where students were taught via online methods, instead of attending school in person. The students watched online videos of their teachers giving instructions and interacted with the rest of their class through discussion boards. The school will continue the trial in 2015, with another three digital delivery days scheduled throughout the year.
As a result of the Digital Education Revolution, first announced in 2007, Australian schools have greatly increased the number of computers available to students. The scheme saw the emergence of a number of programs and initiatives to integrate technology into the classroom. Some schools implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, where students bring their own laptop or tablet from home. Other schools boast a 1:1 ratio, where there is one computer to each student at the school. Some schools have even trialled programs where each student in a year level is given their own personal laptop or tablet to use during their time at school.
Students in Year 6 now have the opportunity to qualify for a Digital Licence as part of a new initiative targeting cyberbullying and online safety. Students will complete a series of online quizzes, videos and games that teach them how to be smart, safe and responsible online — covering topics such as devices, privacy, searching and researching, creating and sharing, social networking and gaming, friends and strangers, and communicating safely online.