Teachers ahead of the technology game

Alice Leung is convinced technology can never replace good teaching.

One of the world's leading technology innovators, the Merrylands High School head teacher says quality teaching is needed to bring out the true value of technology in schools.

Ms Leung has just returned from the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum in Prague where she won a bronze medal in the Cutting edge learning through IT section of the Innovative Educator Awards.

"Technology will allow teachers and students to create content, to share and connect with others globally and to extend learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.Alice Leung
Merrylands High School 

While she does not dismiss the prominent place technology will have in education and life, Ms Leung insists technology is just a tool.

"Just like any other tool, it needs a teacher to design learning that incorporates it in a way that can maximise student learning," Ms Leung said.

"Technology will allow teachers and students to create content, to share and connect with others globally and to extend learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.

"It will enable teachers to personalise learning experiences for students much more easily."

An avid (computer) gamer, Ms Leung was inspired to exploit the aspects of gaming that engage players for extended periods.

"High-quality video games have features that parallel good teaching and learning," Ms Leung said.

While she agreed her students found the use of games fun, Ms Leung was driven by assessment data revealing that it caused students to "think more" than traditional learning methods and showed they were performing better.

Technology enabler

Although Campbelltown Performing Arts High School was declared one of 60 Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Pathfinder Schools at the same forum, principal Stacey Quince said technology was an enabler, not a replacement, for good teaching.

"It should only be used when it enhances the quality of the learning experience for students," Ms Quince said.

"Ultimately, education is about people and quality, and personalised education cannot happen without great teachers."

Technology and the arts

Campbelltown Performing Arts High gained its international recognition for the way it was using technology including students and teachers in music, dance and circus recording, annotating, tagging and sharing feedback about performance.

The Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum in the Czech Republic gave the local educators the opportunity to exchange ideas with nominees from more than 100 countries.

"[They] were very impressed with how the Digital Education Revolution has been a springboard for teachers in NSW public schools to revolutionise 21st century learning," Ms Leung said.

"It is not just about technology resources, we are also doing a really good job in terms of teaching for 21st century learning."

Photo: Campbelltown Performing Arts High students play live on screen. By Stacey Quince.

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