AUSSIE EDUCATOR

You can spend a lot of money on education, but if you don’t spend it wisely, on improving the quality of instruction, you won’t get higher student outcomes.

— Andreas Schleicher

2020 was a devastating year in many ways for everyone, including everyone linked to education. Many changes that occurred may disappear after a short time, but others will become wholly [or at least partially] permanent inclusions in the future. Only time will tell which do and which don’t.

After all the disruptions the festive season was hopefully a time to relax and realise achievements as opposed to problems encountered. You may be pleasantly surprised at your success. We hope all gained the opportunity to enjoy the festive season, recharge the batteries, then come back in the new year ready to continue their vitally important work.

We also take this opportunity to thank you for your continuing support throughout 2020 and hope you will be equally generous with your support again in 2021.

Looking ahead, there will be several changes to the site over the period up to the end of January 2021. We have included information on each of the relevant pages about this. First and foremost concerns the monthly update pages.

These are a group of pages that are updated on the 1st of each month [e.g. 1 November, 1 December, ... ]. These include the Calendar, Conferences and Competitions pages. This will not be the case in January. The update in January will be today, 17 January 2021. All known data for January was included prior to Christmas with other data being added over the extra period. Monthly updates will return to normal as of 1 February 2021. This will allow extra time to carry out some update requirements.

Please note any information on the top of the pages that are in those groups.

We would also normally do a complete but brief check of all page links during January. Brief checks of the remaining pages will be done but only with pages not given a full update in recent months. Archived pages will remain as such at this time with a full review of each being carried out early in the new year. Some appear to be worth bringing “back to life” if current usage figures continue.

We have recently been doing complete updates of individual pages on an ongoing basis. This has provided the opportunity to carry out a much better process with pages. As a result we will continue this in 2021. Analytical data will form the basis for the pages and the order in which they are selected.

Finally, we are also looking at a range of structural changes to the site, not all of which will be visible though they are still felt to be essential for improving the site’s operation.

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The pages noted above have now been uploaded. We have made every endeavour to have all the required dates, actions, etc., as up-to-date as possible, but care should be taken to double check some of these as we have found changes are often made on an ongoing basis.

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A collection of news items have been included. These are listed in date order. Normal service will be resumed as of tomorrow, the first listing to be presented on 21 January 2021. The next major page update is currently being finalised and will be updated in the next week hopefully.

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We still retain the Online Learning resource links compiled earlier this year. Use this link to access Australian and International links. These will shortly be moved to become part of the Resources pages. You will be notified when this is going to occur.

Thank you once again for your support. We hope you continue to find the site of value throughout the remainder of this year and also find the planned changes make the site easier to use. More details will be included on this aspect in the very near future.

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There is a continuous supply of documents produced about all aspects of education both here and overseas. It is difficult at times to select only a few each month [‘Life wasn’t meant to be easy’]. Several items listed below are felt to warrant at least a mention. Many are from this year so are genuinely current. See what you think about each and whether you agree or not. Most are Australian in origin. Follow links that pique your particular interest.

Australian university workforce responses to COVID-19 pandemic : ...

Reacting to a short-term crisis or planning for longer term challenges ? 2020; Teresa Tjia, Ian Marshman, Janet Beard, Elizabeth BarĂ©. ‘In this paper, the authors seek to document one core component of the responses individual universities have taken to deal with cost containment as part of their broader response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the impact on the permanent workforce’. Lots of information combined with an understanding that this may be only one problem occurring at this time and which had to be addressed.

Educational opportunity in Australia 2020 : Who succeeds and who misses out

2020; Stephen Lamb et al. ‘The landmark study, prepared by the Centre for International Research on Education Systems for the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University, is the first major study to assess Australia’s performance against the comprehensive educational goals in the Alice Springs [Mparntwe] Declaration’. It makes for fascinating reading but, sadly, does not always come as a surprise.

Rapid Research Information Forum : Differential learning outcomes for online versus in-class education

2020; Dr Alan Finkel. ‘A response to your request for advice on the differential learning outcomes for online versus in-class education; factors that moderate the relative effectiveness; and distinct implications for students in metropolitan, remote, rural and Indigenous communities. The report synthesises the evidence base on this matter and has been informed by relevant experts and has been peer reviewed. Details of the authors and peer reviewers can be found in the Appendix’. Another task of value done by the Chief Scientist.

Researching education : Five further readings on disability and inclusive education

2020; Teacher Magazine - Dominique Russell, Jenny Trevitt. ‘As a teacher, what adjustments can you make to your own practice to better meet the learning and wellbeing needs of students living with a disability ? As a school leader, how are you ensuring students with a disability are able to fully participate in school life ? In this edition, we are looking at five resources which have been released recently on the topic of disability and inclusive education’.

Teaching - A valued profession

2020; AITSL. ‘In Australia, it is clear the public values teachers and agree they occupy positions of trust and respect, yet this sentiment is not reflected in how teachers perceive their own value. To sustain an effective education system, the general public, as well the media and those who have the power to influence public perception, have a crucial role to play in elevating the profile and promoting the value of teaching in Australian public life’. This Spotlight covers some very interesting ground in reaching its conclusions.

An Investment in Productivity and Inclusion : ...

The Economic and Social Benefits of the TAFE System. 2020; Alison Pennington. ‘In this report we present robust and up-to-date evidence on the broad economic benefits of the TAFE system to Australia’s future economy. This report makes a new contribution to the study of the economic impacts of both VET broadly, and the TAFE system specifically, in Australia. Despite years of significant funding pressure and policy confusion,the TAFE system continues to make a strong and disproportionate economic and social contribution to the Australian economy’. The oft forgotten sector actually does a wide range of very positive things.

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News Headlines

Ideology strangles university courses, audit finds [16/1]

Homeschooling numbers continue to rise [16/1]

Early childhood educators are leaving in droves. Here are 3 ways to keep them, and attract more [15/1]

Victoria plans for international students' return with special quarantine housing [15/1]

Federal government under pressure to relent on international students [15/1]

More students to benefit from School Breakfast Clubs [Vic.] [13/1]

Child care grants to support improved early learning [13/1]

Students snubbed as Australia limits international arrivals [12/1]

The game helping NSW students improve marks and get into uni [12/1]

Public Schools are as Good as Private Schools [12/1]

Regional schools scrambling for staff during summer holidays [NSW] [11/1]

‘Hard to see a safe corridor’ : NSW shelves plan for return of international students [10/1]

University degrees are not as valuable as they once were with the million dollar cheating industry [9/1]

Concern over the quality of childcare due to staff shortage [9/1]

New global ranking system shows Australian universities are ahead of the pack [7/1]

Australian universities mull dropping face-to-face lectures post-pandemic [7/1]

Interstate university students choose NSW over Victoria as pandemic hurts applications [6/1]

Four-year grind for university rebound [5/1]

Education : The epidemic Australia is failing to control [5/1]

Universities to lose world ranking : Greg Craven [4/1]

‘Nice and hard’ : Experts review the new selective schools test [NSW] [27/12]

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