The laptop team was seemingly ignorant of the complexities of the eCAL program. Laptop accommodation was lacking at most schools and this was just one of a series of elements that was left unattended in the planning stages of the eCAL program. Students were forced to walk around with laptops at all times. It was apparent that no detailed readiness assessment was done at the schools in the planning stages of the eCAL program and was even more apparent in the preparation stage. As the government, in its urgency, sought to fulfill their campaign pledge, one very important part of the educational equation was virtually overlooked – the teachers. No definite vision for teacher professional development was articulated, which is quite ironic, as teachers are at the center of effective use of the laptops in the classrooms and are usually the final arbiters of what happens to technology in the school environment.
In an ideal situation, teachers should have access to the computing devices before the students (SBE) in order that they become sufficiently comfortable with the technology to adjust to the requirements of 21st-century learning. Special training is needed to support teachers with the new laptops. The curriculum should be made ready for e-learning, and a community of mentors should be present in every school. The government has provided access to free computer literacy programs for all teachers. However, being computer literate is not enough if teachers are to effectively make use of the laptops to extend and support student learning. Teachers need comprehensive professional development programs which will allow them to boost their efficacy in the use of laptops as well as afford them opportunities to explore new forms of assessment, teaching, and learning.
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