IT trends

Image: alstntec

soft skills

Soft skills are as equally important in 2017 as specific IT and business skills . In a nutshell it comes down to communication , analytics and security. The DevOps approach where it is so important to acknowledge the key stakeholders who are involved with you and how they use your device or site. I came across this article via Better Cloud about the 7 hot IT career trends which articulates the current situation well and gives links out to further information should you need or want it. As the article says:

 

“Technology becomes more meaningful when it’s put to work to address human needs, solve problems and help achieve goals,” Kimmel says. “Maintaining this human element in the enterprise will be much easier if the IT teams deploying big data, machine learning and IoT (internet of things) solutions have strong leadership and people skills, in addition to technical ones.”

Communication of ideas and good interpretation of data are key competencies in 2017. Blogging has become a natural part of that and an important skill to have:

“Use good blogging and communication skills to communicate on a one-to-many basis with your contacts,” Stanger says. “Don’t simply self-promote. Stream valuable, curated content and thoughts to people in your network. You’ll find that what interests you will generally interest them.”

Naplan Testing

acara naplanACARA has done some extensive work to get the Naplan testing up and running online. It has used the input from staff and students to improve access to and engagement with the Naplan testing and the results have been very positive:

“In NSW alone, 2,500 schools participated in the readiness tests in the past five weeks. Results from a survey of those taking part showed that schools felt students were more engaged with the online tests compared to pen-and-paper assessments. In NSW, with over 460,000 tests having been completed, feedback over the past five weeks has shown:

  • 76 per cent of students liked doing the test online
  • 87 per cent of schools indicated a level of confidence to transition to NAPLAN Online.”

It is important to match testing techniques with the people who are being assessed or you end up in that testing a goldfish to climb a tree meme we all know. Currently there would be many teachers who have not really participated in exam systems because they would have been assessed by continuous assessment techniques. The world has changed to technology and so there is now a disconnect between pen and paper and cognitive flow. Students have grown up with smart phones and tablets and so paper information is less relevant and accessible  to them.

We have yet to address the linguistic issues in benchmark testing in a nation where so many languages are spoken and English might be the second, third or fourth language of the student:

“In 2016, there were over 300 separately identified languages spoken in Australian homes. More than one-fifth (21 per cent) of Australians spoke a language other than English at home. After English, the next most common languages spoken at home were Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, and Vietnamese. Tasmania had the highest rate of people speaking only English at home with 88 per cent, while the Northern Territory had the lowest rate at 58 per cent.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics

The ACARA site explains clearly how it has gone about its preparations for moving testing online and it has very much adopted a consultative approach and  has provided plenty of online information and support for parents and other key stake holders in this process so that they can inform themselves and become a positive part of it.

Good standards of literacy and numeracy improve communities and the economy of the country. Unesco has completed plenty of research on that. There was also a field study research paper published in 1998 by the University of Nebraska : Benefits of literacy field experiences: Three views which concludes:

“We continue to alter our field experiences as we seek to improve
our teacher education program. Even though we each set up our field
experiences differently, we agree on some important tenets of field
experience. First, we think that being reflective about this process is
an important part of improving the product. Secondly, we think the
notion of practicing what we preach is particularly important for not
only preservice teachers to see, but also classroom teachers. And fi
nally, we think that preservice teachers are more apt to remember their
field experiences and learn from them when they are allowed to con
struct their own learning in a realistic classroom setting.”

This is what ACARA is doing. It is helping teachers , parents and students to construct a realist approach to benchmark testing in 2017 and beyond because the world has changed.

 

eSmart week

eSmart schools

 

eSmart Digital Licence

 

Is your school or library in on the eSmart programme? The Alannah and Madeleine Foundation have done plenty of high calibre research and work to create the eSmart site and the concepts which surround it. Many libraries and school have signed up and talk volubly and enthusiastically about the positive impact of the eSmart concept. It revolves around us all having  a common approach, common language, common understanding about what being online offers us and what we can offer the online word. It fosters a positive , responsible pathway for everyone.

Make a video with a phone

Sunny Lennarduzzi has some simple, straightforward advice and help for improving phone video quality. People are making videos for social networks, YouTube and for job and organisation purposes. So many people have good in front of camera skills these days. They are video people and are used to the medium. We need to make better use of the technology we have access to by improving our use of that technology. We need to make an effort to learn some of the tricks of the trade. Phone videos can be used to quickly explain things t people, to inform others, to create a learning environment as well as an entertainment one. With these tips you can see you do not have to go the expense of setting up a studio in order to make viable videos. You use what what we all have access to more effectively.

The impact of smartphones

We have been talking about it for a while now: The impact of smartphones on our society and the next generation. The rise in car accidents which could be totally avoided. The zombie walk. The mobile phone twits who bang on anywhere and everywhere and allow their phones to ring whenever they want. We have observed the impact and we have reacted but we don’t seem to have resolved much. We love a narrative. We’ll all create a story about the impact of phones and the media will push a narrative which will have a far reach. We actually need to think this out properly and for ourselves. What is the right age for a child to have a smart phone? What are the impacts of smartphones on children? Should a teacher have smartphones in class? A teacher could have 30 students, thirty phones and then 30 devices. The phones could be giving access to parents which means another layer of social management in a classroom. Not sure any other job expects anyone to manage that many devices and that level of interpersonal communication complexity. The teacher then has emails and communication coming in from other staff, administration, professional organisations and parents on their laptop. Smartphones mean we can communicate very quickly with others when we feel like it.

The professional standards by aitsl for teachers require that teachers

4.5 Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethically –
Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

What about others, though, who are also responsible for young people using smartphones? It’s not the phones which are the problem . There seem to be a lot of young people who don’t have a broad range of interests and who, for all of their connectivity , are disconnected socially. The Atlantic has published an article Has the smartphone destroyed a generation? which is a very interesting look at the impact of smartphones on the current generation. Jean M. Twenge has a book coming out : iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood—and What That Means for the Rest of Us. . The article is based on that book and well worth the long read because it is written by someone who has been investigating this.

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