Teachers ready for broadband challenge
School teachers are generally well qualified to take advantage of ultrafast broadband to improve the delivery of education, according to a report prepared for the Commerce Commission.
But it said while teachers had been skilled up over the past 10 years and most were willing to ”leave their comfort zones”, the same could not be said for teacher training institutions which were ”behind the times”.
The report is one of a series of three looking into barriers to the take-up of ultrafast broadband, and focused solely on health and education. It was written for the commission by former Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Ernie Newman.
The internet had been ”game changing” for students, allowing them to learn when and where they wanted, he said.
”All this has changed the nature of students. They have become much more individual, and concerned with the values of individualism, than their predecessors.”
Yet schools were still delivering a ”production-line programme” that condemned slow learners to fail more comprehensively and made fast learners slow down ”to ensure they succeed less”.
Newman said it was foreseeable most students would have a digital device such as an iPad at school in the near future.
”One area that arose repeatedly as a serious concern … was the perception that our colleges of education are many years behind the times in teaching the teachers” and were not taking an ”intellectual lead in the sector”, he said.
”New Zealand is neither a world leader nor a laggard in the introduction of ICT to schools. However, our actions over the next five years will determine whether we use ultrafast broadband to improve our relative position in education, and thus our economic position, or allow other countries to overtake.”
Ultrafast broadband could result in more people having their health monitored in the home and in video consultations with doctors especially from 2014 when patients and clinicians should have access to electronic health records, according to the report.
But Newman said the health sector globally was ”one of the few sectors that has yet to maximise the transformation the internet can deliver”.
Telehealth pilots that had taken place to date were often ”ribbon-cutting” opportunities for politicians and ways hadn’t been found them to grow them to the scale required to demonstrate ”real economic benefits”.
– © Fairfax NZ News
From the Smiths:
Updated 10 December 2011: Life for Those Left Behind (Craig Smith’s Health) page 6 click here
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