Researching connected communities 21

M. Stevenson, C. Howe, J. G. Hedberg

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    Research on current technology-related issues in Australian education reflects some common themes: the fast-changing nature of available tools and current push to nationalise the curriculum alongside substantial increases to both technology access and use in Australian schools. At the same time, there exist problems such as ineffective use of ICTs for learning, with managing and leveraging change, and the implementation of “one-size-fits-all” interventions that may not address the unique needs of each school – problems that are not unique to the Australian context. The Connected Communities 21 (CC21) project represents a collective case study of seventeen Australian government schools promoting the development of self-managed models of change while exploring digital tools for learning and connecting best practice within and between schools. This project was developed as a research and professional learning partnership between Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre (MacICT) and the Department of Education and Communities (DEC) in December 2012, with both professional learning and research activity undertaken throughout 2013. The research component of the project explored how schools self-manage change when confronted with the pressures of a redeveloping materials for changing curriculum, adopting new technologies and re-thinking pedagogies. Each individual participant was identified by his or her school community as either a technology innovator or as someone who is disposed towards learning about innovating with technology in the school. As part of the study, schools were asked to submit expressions of interest and successful schools received AU$10,500 in funding. Each expression of interest articulated a school addressing the three areas of pedagogy, technology and the new Australian Curriculum. Because of the different needs and collective interests in each school, the proposed projects differed in scope, focus and scale. For example, while some schools focused on technologies that were currently in place, others used their project as an opportunity to acquire and explore new technologies. Likewise, while some schools attempted a school-wide project with every teacher involved, others included only a small number of teachers. Consequently, each school also employed their resources differently. The research team gathered extensive data through one-on-one and focus group interviews, classroom observations, blog posts, participant reflections and questionnaires.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationSydney
    PublisherMacquarie ICT Innovations Centre
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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