ICT centre educates teachers in technology

By Paul Hemsley

Teachers in the Australian Capital Territory will be able to learn ICT skills through a specialised facility at the University of Canberra (UC).

Dubbed as INSPIRE, the centre will facilitate research and promote ICT use among pre-service and practicing teachers.

It has received $2 million from the ACT Government and $5 million from the federal government.

According to the ACT Government, this research will in turn inform the design of professional learning for pre-service teachers at UC, as well as teachers across ACT public schools.

Deputy Chief Minister, Andrew Barr said the INSPIRE Centre project was initiated through a commitment from the ACT Government to establish a partnership between bodies involved.

These included the University of Canberra (UC) and the ACT Education and Training Directorate (ETD) for the use of new learning technologies in education.

“It progressed from concept to working model through establishment of a joint UC/ACTETD committee; the Centre is staffed jointly by ETD and UC,” Mr Barr said.

Mr Barr said a range of “new and emerging” technologies will be utilised at the centre.

“These will feature technologies that promote collaboration and participant interaction (learner voice/feedback),” Mr Barr said.

A University of Canberra spokesperson said the project/construction manager for INSPIRE was Manteena, which was selected in December 2009 to deliver a range of projects for the university including the INSPIRE Centre.

"The selection of the project manager was through a select tender process; among other things, each project manager was required to demonstrate experience in the delivery of a range of projects and to nominate their project management team,” the spokesperson said.

According to the ACT Government, ICT is already being used in schools with technology including wireless networks in all 84 ACT public schools and colleges and a virtual learning environment called Connected Learning Communities (cLc).

The cLc provides technology previously unavailable to teachers and students and incorporates podcasting, video conferencing, a digital portfolio and video on demand functions.

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