Supporting educators and harnessing technology equals success, OECD says
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Supporting educators and harnessing technology equals success, OECD says

by Jason Roberts

March 18, 2019

Promoting educator excellence and harnessing technology to secure better learning outcomes are both key ingredients to a high-performing education system, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria has said.


Mr Gurria’s remarks were made during his opening speech at the 9th International Summit on the Teaching Profession held last week in Helsinki, Finland, and will resonate with the early childhood education and care (ECEC) community in Australia in light of efforts to raise the standing of early childhood teachers (ECTs) in our communities and improve educational and organisational outcomes through innovation application.


Mr Gurria noted that top tier education systems “provide an environment in which teachers work together to frame good practice and pedagogies and they encourage teachers to grow in their careers”.


Importantly, he also notes that these systems “structure teachers’ pay to reflect professional standards” and provide support for teachers who are struggling, including mentoring and coaching. The Australian ECEC community has long viewed parity of pay between those teaching in primary schools and early childhood settings as an issue, with additional concerns about the variance in pay for those teachers employed under VECTA comparative to those employed under the Education Services Teachers Award.


Speaking about technology and innovation, Mr Gurria highlighted that, relative to other sectors, the uptake of innovation and technology in education has been less evident, and that the teaching methods used in today’s educational settings tended to be standardised.


“Intelligent digital learning systems can now simultaneously teach us, observe how we are studying, identify the kind of tasks that interest us and the kind of problems that we find boring or difficult,” Mr Gurria said, adding that “these systems can then adapt learning to suit our personal learning style with greater granularity and precision than any traditional classroom setting possibly can.”


Although, the National Quality Framework encourages a more personal learning journey for early learners than those found in Australian primary and secondary school systems, the notion that educational outcomes and experiences can be enhanced by careful application of innovation and technology will be of value to a sector that consistently seeks to improve itself.


The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) notes the need for educators to support children to become confident and involved learners, and compels educators to use technologies in children’s learning experiences.


Outcome four of the EYLF encourages children to “experiment with different technologies” and “use information and communication technologies (ICT) to investigate and problem solve”.


The EYLF also recognises the importance of children connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials; being effective communicators; and, using information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas, and represent their thinking.


Mr Gurria finished his speech with a rallying call to consider more closely the possibilities that technology can bring to educational settings and a call to “elevate the role of the teacher from imparting received wisdom”.


More information about the Summit can be found here.

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