Information technology and Australian teachers - Implications and issues: Real time: Computers, change and schooling - National sample study of the information technology skills of Australian school students

Year: 1999

Author: Finger, Glenn, Russell, Neil, Russell, Glenn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

There have been unprecedented demands for changes in the preparation of teachers in the use of information technology (IT) in the classroom. This paper reports relevant findings from Real Time: Computers, change and schooling - National Sample study of the Information Technology Skills of Australian School Students (DEETYA, 1999) in which a representative sample of 400 schools from all Australian states and territories were surveyed to establish baseline information about both students' and teachers' experience and skills in information technology. The survey provided information from 6213 students, 1258 teachers and 222 principals. Although teachers surveyed reported that technology was very important for their students, for their own professional development, and that it was important to integrate technology in the curriculum, there were significant issues identified associated with the pre-service preparation and ongoing professional development of teachers. Teachers identified barriers to using technology in the classroom, reported low levels of confidence about their ability to keep themselves informed of information technology developments, low levels of support for IT professional development, and the majority of teachers indicated that they require more and higher quality IT professional development. While some of these barriers, such as access to computers and the Internet, poor levels of technical support and availability of multi media software might have been predicted, the teacher comments on the inadequacy of pre-service and professional development provision of computer education courses was not expected and raise serious issues which need addressing. By reviewing and interpreting the findings of the survey, suggestions are made for future directions for the preservice teacher education programs and professional development in IT for teachers.