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General Information

Computing Studies Teachers Network: Rural and Regional
This project is hosted by the Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE) with funding provided by the National Centre of Science, ICT and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR).

In brief
The project provides professional learning opportunities for teachers of Years 10-12 Computing Studies from rural and regional areas to participate in a professional network. The project, which has five components, enables cooperating associations to involve rural and regional teachers in professional learning events, develop a sense of community and contribute to a national portal of resources, while also contributing to research and development projects of ACCE (and SiMERR).

The understanding of terms like Computing Studies can be problematic. In all states and territories there are senior secondary subjects where the studies of computing and information sciences are defined in syllabus documents ratified by Boards of Studies, the results of which appear on exit certificates. There are also some computing subjects in middle schooling / Year 10 which may have been developed by the school or adapted from syllabuses (where they exist). ACCE is using the term Computing Studies generically to encompass all these subjects of study but to distinguish this discipline from the use of ICTs in curriculum and pedagogical contexts. Computing Studies students usually construct ICT environments and software, rather than only be users of software. Computing Studies subjects are also part of the subjects offered to TAFE students and VET students in schools. ACCE has always promoted the need to maintain access for students to Computing Studies subjects in secondary schools and TAFE colleges and advocated for the professional learning needs of teachers of these subjects. Because educational systems have not provided many, if any, professional learning opportunities for teachers of Computing Studies, the ACCE member associations (CEGs) and two computing studies teachers associations in NSW and Victoria have shouldered this responsibility. The need to improve access to professional learning events and communities of practice for teachers outside of capital cities has been a focus in many CEGs, setting the ground work for this current project.

These professional associations have been using a variety of strategies and structures to reach into rural and regional areas including chapters of members, special interest groups, road shows and online communities. Developing a project to support rural and regional Computing Studies teachers is an extension of previous practice and provides an opportunity for ACCE to support and coordinate the energies of its member associations in this area. Three areas of ACCE research are able to be progressed because of this project.

ACCE will initiate developmental work in the development and use of open source applications. This extends the Aussie SchoolHouse (ASH) concept, where until now, ACCE has provided teachers and schools with free web space for many years, enabling a strong developmental community to pursue explorations and share the results of their work. With an inclusion of a new server, ACCE will be able to offer developmental space in an open source environment to Computing Studies teachers, for their professional learning.

ACCE is also seeking to develop a research community around open learning approaches to Computing Studies for secondary students, developing dialogue about providing Computing Studies options to rural and regional areas, sharing classes across multiple schools and using open learning pedagogies and tools in face-to-face classrooms.

Through the evaluation of this project, ACCE will generate data about the needs for professional learning of Computing Studies teachers and investigate the value of the strategies adopted in this project. SiMERR will consult with ACCE on the research design for the project and provide support in the data analysis and report writing. SiMERR will use this data and, in conjunction with ACCE, embed it into their research agendas.
ACCE Partners
ACCE Partners
ACCE Partners
ACCE Partners