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Computing Studies Teachers Network: Rural and Regional


This project was hosted by the ACCE with funding provided by the National Centre of Science, ICT and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia(SiMERR). The project provided professional learning opportunities for teachers of Years 10-12 Computing Studies from rural and regional areas to participate in a professional network.

In brief

The project, which had five components, enabled 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).

Project elements

This project enabled the member organisations of ACCE to deliberately direct services to Computing Studies teachers in rural and regional areas through five strategies.

1. Rural and Regional Projects
ACCE member associations hosted eight rural and regional professional learning projects. These projects aimed to promote and support effective pedagogical approaches in Computing Studies subjects, including open learning / open ended methodologies, and mentored rural and regional members to contribute case studies, units of work, ideas and other resources to a national portal of resources. Some member associations of ACCE collaborated to host projects. An internal process of project management ensured projects had strong design, included an evaluation process, and that they contributed to the national effort.
2. National summit
The ACCE Board hosted a national summit: Open Learning Approaches to Computing Studies. This drew together, the practitioners in schools of distance education, the teachers who offered Computing Studies to students at other schools, and teachers using technological tools to flexibly deliver Computing Studies subjects. The summit shared practice, built an expert network and advocate providing rural and regional students with increasing opportunities to access Computing Studies. Schools wanting to extend their Computing Studies options sent representatives to seek access to Computing Studies initiatives already available in the country.
3. National portal
ACCE built a national portal of resources for computing studies teachers. This portal was populated by collating information about the sites and resources of existing networks and through rural and regional projects hosted by the member associations of ACCE.
4. Exploration of new technologies
ACCE developed a new server, hosting open source applications and services, and online tools and environments to use for personal professional learning or to explore new ideas with classes, particularly when their system or school was not yet offering such services.
5. National Computing Studies survey
ACCE administered an online survey to profile the state of the teaching of Computing Studies in secondary schools in rural and regional areas and considered the needs of Computing Studies teachers in these areas. All secondary Computing Studies teachers were invited, through their various CEGs to complete the survey. The teachers did not have to be members of the CEG to complete the survey. SiMERR provided the necessary facilities to publish the survey online and collect the data.
This project provided opportunities for research, thus forwarding the Computing Studies agendas of ACCE and SiMERR enabling research and advocacy about the extent and quality of Computing Studies programs in rural and regional areas in Australia.