The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has released its second year reports on the National Agreements in education, and skills and workforce development. Following the council's baseline reports released last year, these second year reports – National Education Agreement: Performance report for 2009 and National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development: Performance report for 2009 – are intended to focus on progress and measure change over time. The COAG Reform Council has found significant improvement between 2008 and 2009 in primary school literacy and numeracy achievement, both nationally and at a State and Territory level. See COAG statement 22 October 2010. See also article in The Sydney Morning Herald and article in The Australian, both 22 October 2010, and undated report on the PS News website.
On 22 October 2010 the Australian Curriculum Coalition (ACC) forwarded a paper, Australian Curriculum Coalition – Common View on the Australian Curriculum, to all Australian Education Ministers. The paper was drawn from the common elements of submissions made by member organisations of ACC to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on the first draft of the Australian Curriculum. The ACC (formerly CSCNEPA) represents a forum of presidents, executive officers and executive directors of national education organisations. The organisations represent members who are teachers, principals, school leaders, academics and education researchers. These organisations have cooperated to contribute positively and dynamically to the development phases of the Australian Government's national curriculum.
The climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth will be used in the English curriculum as part of studies around the theme of sustainability. See article in The Sydney Morning Herald 27 October 2010.
The Queensland Government is considering the recommendations of a review of teacher education and induction. The recommendations include a proposal to raise the academic score that secondary students must obtain to be accepted for a Bachelor of Education course. See article 16 October and related article 18 October 2010 in the Courier Mail.
A total of 600 schools have been invited to take part this year's Educational Lending Right (ELR) survey. These schools are encouraged to complete the surveys as soon as possible. Through their participation schools support Australian authors, illustrators, translators, compilers, editors and publishers: the ELR program uses survey information to fund these creators for income lost as a result of the availability of their work in educational lending libraries. Participation involves running a report or a backup of the library management system. For help in completing the survey please telephone 1800 337 405, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Participating schools will receive a $20 gift voucher from Curriculum Press.
Children's Week is an annual national festival, recognising the talents, skills, achievements and rights of young Australians. This week many thousands of children and their families will participate in a diverse range of events and activities across the country. The Australian Government, in conjunction with state and territory governments, is proud to support Children's Week activities across the country. Further information on Government initiatives in the development and care of children is available at www.mychild.gov.au. Children's Week details are available at www.childrensweek.org.au. See also joint statement 26 October 2010 by Peter Garrett, Minister for School Education and Minister for Early Childhood and Youth, with other Australian Ministers.
The NSW Department of Education and Training has launched a new website focused on cyber-safety and social networking. The new resource includes lessons and instructions on internet safety, understanding privacy and the dangers and pitfalls of over-sharing personal information. The site has been provided for secondary students to complete during Term 4 and will eventually be expanded to target all K–10 students. A series of eight lessons cover different challenges and issues. Students learn about the safe and effective use of social networking using scenarios and computer games. The website will be linked to the NSW curriculum. The cyber-safety help button links to advice on what to do if experiencing hostile online behaviour. To visit the website go to: www.digitalcitizenship.nsw.edu.au. Further information for parents can be found at www.schools.nsw.edu.au/click. See statement 26 October 2010 by Verity Firth, NSW Minister for Education and Training.
A blog post by Andrew Marcinek on Edutopia 19 October 2010 offers hints for using social media in the classroom. Tips include clear, grammatical writing; editing posts; modelling good writing on educators' own blogs and posts; and selecting only high-quality, useful information.
New research suggests that the benefits of learning a second language may be wider than previously thought. See article in Education Week 22 October 2010 (registration required).
A forthcoming seminar at the University of Sydney will look critically at current assumptions about the new generation and their relationships to technology. The speaker will be Associate Professor Laura Czerniewicz, Director of the Centre for Educational Technology (CET) at the University of Cape Town.
The Northern Territory Minister for Education and Training, Chris Burns, has announced that the Territory Government will establish a new centre for school leadership in partnership with Charles Darwin University (CDU). It will be called the Centre for School Leadership, Learning and Development (CSLLD). See CDU statement 21 October 2010.
A two-day expo in Adelaide was held this week, to improve the quality of maths and science teaching in South Australian schools. More than 650 teachers attended the New Angles on Maths Expo at the Adelaide Convention Centre. A range of practical, real-world lessons that teachers can use to keep their students interested in maths and science were on show. See statement by South Australian Education Minister Jay Weatherill, 25 October 2010.