Learning Futures Symposium. Australian National University Canberra September 10 - 11, 2007
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program // keynotes

The Digital Classroom

Dale Spender

The media is full of accounts of educational failure: there is a long list of all the things that today's kids can't do, and there's a widespread belief that this is all the fault of the teachers. And although it is accurate to claim that the students now don't read and write as they used to, the only time this becomes a 'deficiency' is

  • when there are politicians on the scene or
  • when they are required to do national literacy tests set by the generation that didn't have the internet when they were in school
  • The internet has ushered in the digital revolution - and it isn't optional. There is no way the genie of classrooms past can be put back in the bottle. The challenge now for responsible educators - and parents - is to manage this revolution that is currently being driven by today's digital natives - the students.

    Going digital in education has implications for teaching and learning: it means the transformation of literacy, the triumph of creativity over conformity (making information rather than goods) and the emergence of new forms of assessment and learning. And while Australia has had more of a financial policy than an educational policy in the last decade - the finances have not been prioritised for research on the digital classroom - with the result that in trying to formulate policy and practice for the 21st century, most educationalists are dealing with the unknown.