Transforming education through technology: Vision vs Reality

Year: 2017

Author: McLeod, Amber, Latheef, Ibrahim

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

When digital technologies were introduced to Australian schools in the 1980s, they were supposed to transform education. Successive school boards, administrators and governments have had such faith in this idea that all primary and secondary students are now expected to have access to their own devices, and digital technologies have become a learning area as well as a general capability in the Australian curriculum. But with declining digital literacy in Australia and the country's falling numeracy and literacy world rankings, has the transformation been actualised? In this presentation, we analyse the literature in order to compare the vision and the realities of digital technology in education in 2017. Four questions guided this study: What does "transforming education through technology" mean? Who have been the advocates for this transformation? To what extent has education been transformed through technology? What predicted transformation has not happened and why? The suppositions of the predicted transformation of education through digital technologies are discussed along with associated policy and funding initiatives for hardware, software and training. This is followed by a critical discussion of how teachers are actually using technology in their classes. This includes looking at: classroom practices that could be considered transformative; barriers to the integration of digital technologies; and the reasons teachers reject or use technology. The investigation concludes by reminding us that it is the people using digital tools, not the technology itself, which will drive and shape how education is transformed, often in ways that may not previously have been considered.