I take my HAT off for ICT teachers


HAT Super-teachers in NSWDET schools has sparked more debate over professional development and quality. I don’t work in a DET school, so leave the discussion to people like Kelli, who are discussing it in their blog. Having said that, I have actually thought of a statistic that I do want to know.

How many ICT teachers will be appointed as Super Teachers under the new scheme, proportionate to the KLA balance? 90%, 50%?

My suspicion is that the selection of Super Teachers and the need to develop rich programs around new ICT is conflicting. The desire to lead students into new ways of learning with ICT  will not be the domain of ICT teachers – but they will be expected to support it at the didactic level.

Few TAS trained teachers rise to positions of curriculum development and design anyway, perhaps by choice – but this leaves a culture where having an ICT trained teacher leading curriculum is abnormal. There is a diminished personal-value in being a computing science teacher, and worse that that they are expected to spoon feed yeah-buts – and listen to smart-arse remarks about geeks.

Little do ‘too-busy people’ they realise … computing teachers are not employed to do any part of other peoples work, so quit asking them how to scan a document – or support even more strategic-dreams of digital literacy.

Over time  ICT teachers stopped being scientists and became go-to, fix it, admin, trouble-shooters and ad-hock PD providers.  The stand-over statement being ‘who else is going to do it? … Iceland, declared the whole country bankrupt, but guess what … life went on once they stopped living in la-la-land – school will too.

ICT teachers are placed in positions where they have to operationalise the goals of the organisation (no matter how stupid some of the ideas are).

This is in part beacuse they are dedicated and can, because there is a false expectation they should – and the fact that bullys exist in management.

Public education has not being paying for IT support for so long that it has become normal – that doesn’t make it right, or smart. In contrast – there are many fatties in the staff-room, but the PDHPE department is not automatically assumed to be taking care of teacher health and fitness – in there ‘spare’ time.

Operationally, it makes more sense not to put ICT teachers into HAT positions, but as support – again increasing their work, but not their recognition.

Perhaps the assumption is (and driven my media-hype) that ICT is more technical that the study of computing science. We have lost the fact that EdTech is a discipline – it is the study of, not simply a technical process. So don’t put up with it. Just don’t do it – unless others un-fold thier arms, stop sniping smart arse comments, and start mucking in.

Who ever re-badged Computing Science as ICT needs shooting. I am not suggesting ICT teachers are better – but I am saying that there is an incorrect assumption (over years of creep) that ICT teachers are technicians (unpaid) and increasingly integrators (unpaid) and professional trainers (unpaid).

Most of the ICT trained 7-12 teachers I know are up against the glass ceiling (like other KLAs) unable to explore technology further as they are lockstepped into delivering a curricula that still talks about dial up modems and supporting systems for which they can do little to actually design or control. Professionally speaking, ICT Teachers find themselves in a rather awkward position.

I joined ISTE – because it was full of ICT teachers doing interesting things with ICT and feel really strongly that EdTech is the study of – and not the use of.