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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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Major initiative to support teacher professional development in ICT

As part of its Digital Education Revolution, the Australian Government is launching a new initiative, the Digital Strategy for Teachers and School Leaders, to give teachers and school leaders comprehensive training in information and communication technology (ICT). The Government will consult with education sectors to determine how ICT proficiency can best be achieved in schools. The first part of the strategy will see the development of a national ICT self-assessment tool, to be trialled in selected schools from February 2011; an in-school professional development program will also be developed based on the results of the self-assessment tool. The Government will also establish the $20 million ICT Innovation Fund to provide grants for ICT projects. Organisations including universities, State and Territory education departments, businesses and the non-government education sectors will be encouraged to apply for funding from 2010 until 2012. The fund will call for applications in April 2010. Adapted from 18 February 2010 statement issued by the Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard.

Concerns over school violence

There has been mourning across Australia this week following the fatal stabbing of Elliott Fletcher at St Patrick's College north of Brisbane. See article in The Brisbane Times 15 February 2010. For other reports on the rise of knife-related violence in schools, see article 17 February and related article 18 February 2010 in The Sydney Morning Herald, and report in The Herald Sun 18 February 2010.

Further comment on My School website and NAPLAN

Discussion has continued this week around the new My School website, and the significance of NAPLAN tests as a measure of school performance. See article in The Age 18 February 2010, and article in The Australian, report on ABC News, report in ntnews.com.au and article in The Sydney Morning Herald, all 17 February 2010.

New report highlights role of SES in cognitive development

A major review of health inequalities in England has found that babies who had low IQs at 22 months and were born wealthier with more highly educated parents caught up by the age of six with children who started with high IQs but whose parents were poorer and less educated. The review was commissioned by the British Government, and was headed by Michael Marmot of University College London. He has called for extended maternity or paternity leave, and the provision of extra services and information for parents. See article and chart in New Scientist 11 February 2010, and article 12 February 2010 in The Guardian. 

National Conference for Teachers of English and Literacy

The National Conference for Teachers of English and Literacy will be held in Perth on 4–7 July 2010. This year's conference theme is 'Away with words: exploring the ambiguities in literacy and English education'. The deadline for submission of papers is 26 February 2010.

A national snapshot of early childhood development

An interim Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) report provides a nationwide snapshot of the early childhood development outcomes for over 260,000 children, 97.5 per cent of the estimated national five-year-old population. This process involved 15,528 teachers from 7,423 Government, Catholic and independent schools around Australia. See also article in The Age 10 December 2009.

Online course on copyright for educators

In March the Peer to Peer University (P2PU) is offering an online course for educators and learners who wish to understand how copyright affects use of learning materials and how to use copyright to facilitate education. Over six weeks participants will contribute via a range of online channels such as email and Skype and the course blog.  

BloodBuddies: a new cross-curriculum eLearning resource

Developed by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, BloodBuddies can be used by teachers and students in learning areas such as Civics and Citizenship, Science, Maths, English, ICT, and Health and PE. The site offers links to resources on a range of topics, with accompanying teacher notes organised by year level, learning areas and strands.

Principal leader urges reforms to procedure for dealing with teacher misconduct

Brian Burgess, the President of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals (VASSP), has called on the Victorian Government to establish more efficient procedures with which principals may deal with accusations of misconduct or underperformance against teachers. See article in The Herald Sun 19 February 2010.

Research into sex ed commences

La Trobe University researchers will examine the experiences, understandings and classroom approaches of primary teachers and nurses who teach sexuality education. The research will be used to guide professional development to help teachers address students' questions and ensure teachers feel safe and comfortable when teaching the subject. For details on how to participate see La Trobe University news item 1 December 2009. 

Issues faced by public secondary schools aspiring to offer IB

An article in The Age 15 February 2010 describes issues surrounding the implementation of the International Baccalaureate by public secondary schools.

Teacher shortages reported in Queensland, NSW

Several articles in the media this week have discussed the issue of teacher shortages. See report in The Sydney Morning Herald 15 February, article in The Daily Telegraph 18 February, and article in The Courier Mail 14 February 2010.

Student awards to link technology and creativity in NSW

The 2010 Connected Learning Awards will engage 3,000 students across the State in a competition to create a new State stamp. The competition, launched by Premier Kristina Keneally and the Minister for Education Verity Firth, has six categories allowing children to compete in design, digital art, digital stories, short films, websites and greeting cards. See Premier's statement 12 February 2010.

The use of eReaders in education

eReaders, such as the iPad tablet and the Kindle DX, may soon be a common feature in the classroom. The viability of both products for potential classroom use is currently being assessed. See article at PCWorld.com 1 February 2010.

Improved safety, more transparency in Queensland childcare services

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Queensland Education Minister Geoff Wilson have announced a series of new laws with which childcare services must comply. See the Education Minister's statement 9 February 2010.