Last week I participated in an online colloquium with Annabel Astbury. Annabel is Head of Digital Education at Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and is working with a team to deliver ABC Splash. It was a great opportunity to gain insight into a resource that is valued by many of the teachers I work with. I was very interested in the statistics that Annabel shared with us:
- Over 3000 resources mapped to AC
- 50-60,000 students per week
- STEM resources
- increased use of games
- competition participation has increased
- requests for tech help has diminished
- 60:40 primary:sec
Annabel posed the question, “Do you think the idea that a ‘one stop educational content spot’ is real?Whilst the idea of a one stop shop for classroom use appeals for reasons of manageability of online spaces to navigate, all agreed that it would not be a desirable. It is highly unlikely that one place could offer all that would be needed for all groups of students throughout the country (let alone the world).
ABC Splash is able to access quality resources from the ABC archives as well as the great game-type resources developed by the Learning Federation. All of these resources are mapped to the Australian Curriculum, which makes them very teacher-friendly. They do this job very nicely but online spaces in education need to embrace a more participatory environment. The discussion on the prospect of participatory learning had me thinking about ways that ABC Splash could move into this area. The live events and competitions do not really fit with the idea of participatory learning which would see students collaborating online, providing and receiving feedback on contributions and generally sharing their work with the world. As a trusted, non-commercial corporation, I believe that a provider such as ABC Splash would be an ideal platform for this to move forward. It would, however, require more personnel than may be possible for monitoring and facilitating student contributions. Another major consideration is the cyber safety/digital citizenship aspect of younger students in particular participating and sharing in an online community. Whilst I believe that this should not be a barrier, many parents are still very protective of their children’s online presence (as they should be) without exploring ways that this ideal can happen in a safe and secure way. How could these barriers be overcome?
Diana Laurillard (2008, p.1) observes that ‘education is on the brink of being transformed through learning technologies; however, it has been on that brink for some decades now.’ Given that much learning takes place outside of the school, it is important that there is a broader understanding of how technology fits (or not) within the wider social contexts that make up education and society (Selwyn, 2010).Without the removal of some major obstacles, we will not realise what is imminently possible.