Few primary school teachers have the high-level proficiency needed to implement Australia’s digital curriculum in their classrooms, but not for a lack of effort.
University of Southern Queensland researchers recently investigated the ability of Australian primary school teachers to help their students navigate the technology-focused future.
The study, led by Professor of Digital Pedagogies Petrea Redmond, was published in the journal Education Technology and Research Development and collected online survey responses from 83 Australian teachers.
It found teachers were having to teach additional digital skills because students were missing foundational knowledge assumed in the curriculum as they progressed through their schooling years.
It also found competing school priorities, a cramped curriculum, aging equipment and access to reliable internet has limited teachers’ ability to both teach the digital curriculum and develop their own technology knowledge.
A total of 70 per cent of teachers identified a lack of opportunities for professional development as a barrier to effectively implementing the digital technologies curriculum.
Professor Redmond said many of the issues identified by the study were problems that could not be addressed in individual classrooms.
“A lot of the issues raised by the teachers who completed the online survey are issues that teachers can’t actually change themselves,” she said.
“In some schools there are certain times of the day where it can be quite difficult to access the internet.
“There is very little funding to keep equipment up-to-date, which might include software subscriptions or hardware replacements.”
She urged principals and curriculum development advisors to work in consultation with teachers to improve implementation of the digital curriculum.
The study is the latest research showcasing University of Southern Queensland’s strength in the shaping the future of education and digital skills in the classroom.