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‘Teach technology like it’s English or maths’: ANU professor

Teachers need more help to teach technology and ensure Australia is producing enough tech graduates says a new report

Technology may be part of our everyday lives, but teachers are struggling to deliver the Digital Technologies Curriculum first introduced to schools in 2014, according to a new report from the Australian Computer Society and ANU’s Tech Policy Design Centre.

The Tech Skills for the Next Generation report also flags that the number of Year 11 and 12 students studying technology subjects has fallen in recent years, further risking Australia’s ability to to meet its growing need for digital and technology skills, and prepare all Australians for the digital world.

At the university level, there are too few graduates of ICT degrees per year to meet Australia’s projected workforce requirements for technology professionals, according to the report.

A survey of more than 200 teachers from around Australia found that while many teachers were passionate about the subject, they often felt they didn’t have the support needed to effectively prepare and deliver Digital Technologies.

Teachers say approaches they would routinely use for other established subjects such as English and Mathematics are often not applicable or available, or hard to find and use for Digital Technologies. And they feel under-supported in their efforts to address this and other challenges that they face, with competing demands on their time making it difficult to attend relevant professional development or training. 

“We need to stop teaching tech like it is a bolt-on and start treating it as a fundamental skill set, like learning English and Maths,” says Professor Johanna Weaver, Founding Director of the ANU Tech Policy Design Centre.

“Most existing tech skills initiatives focus on the current and immediate term skills gap. But if we don’t simultaneously take the long-term view recommended in this report, we risk generationally embedding tech skills shortages in Australia,” Professor Weaver adds.

The Tech Skills for the Next Generation report makes 12 recommendations covering areas including ensuring there are accessible ready-to-use teaching resources, embedding digital readiness into initial teacher education, supporting ongoing professional development and training, along with elevating awareness of the Digital Technologies Curriculum in the community.

At the moment digital technologies is not included as an essential component of training Australia’s new primary and secondary teachers, across all subjects – something the ACS continues to push for.

Teachers – we’re here to help

Careers with STEM was created in 2014 to help support teachers in showcasing all the options available to students considering STEM subjects like Digital Technologies and the exciting careers they can lead to. Our extensive profiles, articles linking to digital technologies and Job Kits are all available to teachers looking for helpful content to inspire students.

Did you know we have a whole hub dedicated to providing resources that’ll help get your students ready for the careers of the future? Here you can:

  • Download Job Kits that introduce students to in-demand STEM careers and provide insights into study paths, roles, salaries and different industries
  • Read our latest issues in digital form (and share them with your class)
  • Order or download STEM posters for your classroom
  • Register for webinars and events your students will learn a lot from
  • Stay up to date on the latest news relevant to STEM teachers
  • Sign up to our Teachers e-newsletter, which hits inboxes once a month
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