I've just sent emails to the State Minister for Education and our State Premier regarding the winding down/shutting down/re-directing online (???) of the Technology School Of the Future here in Adelaide. There has been some movement amongst educators caught in the busied frenzy of reports and the winding up of the school year and two South Oz edubloggers have had their say on the matter - Mike Seyfang and Jason Plunkett. Our local professional group CEGSA is mobilising an official response - let's hope the powers that be can listen and reverse this insane decision. (Thanks, Kerrie.)
For the record, here's my official letter to the Minister (and Premier.)
To the Minister,
As an educator dedicated to preparing my students for a future that depends on effective access and use of technology, I am extremely disappointed and bewildered at the publicised decision to move the Technology School Of the Future from its current physical base at Hindmarsh. I know that you have proposed that video conferencing, online courses and the eTeacher initiative will fill that role. I believe you are badly mistaken and that closing one of the State’s premier education facilities is a major step backwards away from the future education needs to embrace.
TSOF fulfils a very important role as a base for teacher training in new technologies, a venue for ICT profession development, a meeting place to access expertise and resources not readily available at the local school level. On a personal level, professional activities and opportunities held at TSOF have helped to shape my teaching career and my dedication to the embedded use of technology in our schools. Do you seriously believe that video-conferencing and online courses will adequately retool our teaching force for the exponential changes occurring world wide in information access? Will the money saved from the axing of TSOF as we know it go towards better quality internet access in schools? If it’s not, then having the bandwidth necessary to even hold these online events will be a hope-and-pray affair at best.
Right now, at this point in the world’s communication history, when our teachers need access to affordable training in a learning style that accommodates them, would we be trying to make do with less, not more? This whole decision needs to be re-thought as the message that is being sent to teachers and students of this state is that ICT is just an optional extra, that South Australia isn’t going to engage and move with the rest of the world and this government does not value technology in education.
This is not good enough. TSOF needs to stay.